After the Portuguese initially made inroads into the Indian Ocean, the Dutch and English followed suit and established themselves over the Portuguese as the major maritime trading powers in the region. The Portuguese forces were small in number and, as a result, could not hold out against concerted efforts to seize their positions around the Indian Ocean and the East Indies. The Spanish gained control of the Philippines towards the end of the 16th century and from there they contested Portuguese control of the prized spice islands of the East Indies. The Dutch subsequently became the premier power in the region through the strength of their United East India Company and ousted the Portuguese from their stronghold in Sri Lanka after the local king sought Dutch assistance in an uprising. The Dutch, Portuguese and British all went on to establish trading posts around the coast of India in the 17th century.
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