As the Netherlands grew into one of the largest colonial powers in the 16th century, trade increased with Asia. These excursions brought Chinese and Japanese pottery back to the Netherlands. One of the other things brought back from Asia was black tea, but the Dutch didn’t have anything to put their tea in. So Dutch potters began making teapots and teacups in the style of the prized Asian pottery. By the 17th century, the Dutch had overtaken the market and flooded it with the blue and white earthenware.