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How many Dutch lived in Indonesia during the colonial era vs native population?

How many Dutch lived in Indonesia during the colonial era vs native population?

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In Indonesian education, it is often emphasized that the Dutch took advantage of "divide and conquer" tactics (and superior technology) to keep ruling Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) despite being very outnumbered. At its peak, how many Dutch people lived in Indonesia during the colonial period? And how outnumbered was this compared to the native population?

This Wikipedia article shows the results of the 1930 Dutch East Indies census (in the Social History section), listing 240,417 Europeans out of a total population of over 60.7MM.

Calculating this as 0.4% European (with an additional 2.2%, or 1.35MM, Chinese and other foreign orientals), the European population was outnumbered 250-1 and the non-indigenous population was out-numbered 39-1.

While the absolute numbers would have increased between 1930 and 1941, it seems unlikely that any substantial change in ratio occurred in that 11 years, as there was no event to precipitate such a change until the Japanese invasion.

Great Awakening

The Great Awakening was a religious revival that impacted the English colonies in America during the 1730s and 1740s. The movement came at a time when the idea of secular rationalism was being emphasized, and passion for religion had grown stale. Christian leaders often traveled from town to town, preaching about the gospel, emphasizing salvation from sins and promoting enthusiasm for Christianity. The result was a renewed dedication toward religion. Many historians believe the Great Awakening had a lasting impact on various Christian denominations and American culture at large.

How Did the Dutch Colonists Treat the Native Americans?

The Dutch colonists initially treated Native Americans with respect, however eventually relations between the two became strained. The first Dutch colony that was established in 1609 was mainly a trade outpost, therefore, it was advantageous for the colonists to cultivate amicable relationships with their Native American neighbors. In later years, as the colonists looked to expanding their lands, conflicts arose, eventually leading to armed fighting.

During the early 1600s, the Native Americans were able to supply the Dutch with fur, corn and shells. The Dutch used these shells as a form of currency with the indigenous peoples. Directors of the West Indian Trading Company, the investment group that financed the first Dutch colonization efforts, instructed their settlers to avoid antagonizing the native people. One of the directors, Johannes de Laet, even described the Native Americans as friendly people who would be sympathetic toward the Dutch if treated fairly.

However, as the years progressed and more settlers came to the Dutch colonies, the Dutch economy shifted from relying on trade, to relying on agriculture. Land became a sought after commodity and Dutch farms began to expand into Native American territory. This strained the relations between the Dutch and the Native Americans until the first large scale war between the two sides was declared in 1642. The war is commonly known as "Kieft's War" and is named after the Dutch Director-General, Willam Kieft, who is believed to have ordered two attacks on neighboring Native American tribes.

Important Aspects of Indonesian Economic History

“Missed Opportunities”

Anne Booth has characterized the economic history of Indonesia with the somewhat melancholy phrase “a history of missed opportunities” (Booth 1998). One may compare this with J. Pluvier’s history of Southeast Asia in the twentieth century, which is entitled A Century of Unfulfilled Expectations (Breda 1999). The missed opportunities refer to the fact that despite its rich natural resources and great variety of cultural traditions, the Indonesian economy has been underperforming for large periods of its history. A more cyclical view would lead one to speak of several ‘reversals of fortune.’ Several times the Indonesian economy seemed to promise a continuation of favorable economic development and ongoing modernization (for example, Java in the late nineteenth century, Indonesia in the late 1930s or in the early 1990s). But for various reasons Indonesia time and again suffered from severe incidents that prohibited further expansion. These incidents often originated in the internal institutional or political spheres (either after independence or in colonial times), although external influences such as the 1930s Depression also had their ill-fated impact on the vulnerable export-economy.

“Unity in Diversity”

In addition, one often reads about “unity in diversity.” This is not only a political slogan repeated at various times by the Indonesian government itself, but it also can be applied to the heterogeneity in the national features of this very large and diverse country. Logically, the political problems that arise from such a heterogeneous nation state have had their (negative) effects on the development of the national economy. The most striking difference is between densely populated Java, which has a long tradition of politically and economically dominating the sparsely populated Outer Islands. But also within Java and within the various Outer Islands, one encounters a rich cultural diversity. Economic differences between the islands persist. Nevertheless, for centuries, the flourishing and enterprising interregional trade has benefited regional integration within the archipelago.

Economic Development and State Formation

State formation can be viewed as a condition for an emerging national economy. This process essentially started in Indonesia in the nineteenth century, when the Dutch colonized an area largely similar to present-day Indonesia. Colonial Indonesia was called ‘the Netherlands Indies.’ The term ‘(Dutch) East Indies’ was mainly used in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and included trading posts outside the Indonesian archipelago.

Although Indonesian national historiography sometimes refers to a presumed 350 years of colonial domination, it is exaggerated to interpret the arrival of the Dutch in Bantam in 1596 as the starting point of Dutch colonization. It is more reasonable to say that colonization started in 1830, when the Java War (1825-1830) was ended and the Dutch initiated a bureaucratic, centralizing polity in Java without further restraint. From the mid-nineteenth century onward, Dutch colonization did shape the borders of the Indonesian nation state, even though it also incorporated weaknesses in the state: ethnic segmentation of economic roles, unequal spatial distribution of power, and a political system that was largely based on oppression and violence. This, among other things, repeatedly led to political trouble, before and after independence. Indonesia ceased being a colony on 17 August 1945 when Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed independence, although full independence was acknowledged by the Netherlands only after four years of violent conflict, on 27 December 1949.

The Evolution of Methodological Approaches to Indonesian Economic History

The economic history of Indonesia analyzes a range of topics, varying from the characteristics of the dynamic exports of raw materials, the dualist economy in which both Western and Indonesian entrepreneurs participated, and the strong measure of regional variation in the economy. While in the past Dutch historians traditionally focused on the colonial era (inspired by the rich colonial archives), from the 1960s and 1970s onward an increasing number of scholars (among which also many Indonesians, but also Australian and American scholars) started to study post-war Indonesian events in connection with the colonial past. In the course of the 1990s attention gradually shifted from the identification and exploration of new research themes towards synthesis and attempts to link economic development with broader historical issues. In 1998 the excellent first book-length survey of Indonesia’s modern economic history was published (Booth 1998). The stress on synthesis and lessons is also present in a new textbook on the modern economic history of Indonesia (Dick et al 2002). This highly recommended textbook aims at a juxtaposition of three themes: globalization, economic integration and state formation. Globalization affected the Indonesian archipelago even before the arrival of the Dutch. The period of the centralized, military-bureaucratic state of Soeharto’s New Order (1966-1998) was only the most recent wave of globalization. A national economy emerged gradually from the 1930s as the Outer Islands (a collective name which refers to all islands outside Java and Madura) reoriented towards industrializing Java.

Two research traditions have become especially important in the study of Indonesian economic history during the past decade. One is a highly quantitative approach, culminating in reconstructions of Indonesia’s national income and national accounts over a long period of time, from the late nineteenth century up to today (Van der Eng 1992, 2001). The other research tradition highlights the institutional framework of economic development in Indonesia, both as a colonial legacy and as it has evolved since independence. There is a growing appreciation among scholars that these two approaches complement each other.

A Chronological Survey of Indonesian Economic History

There were several influential kingdoms in the Indonesian archipelago during the pre-colonial era (e.g. Srivijaya, Mataram, Majapahit) (see further Reid 1988,1993 Ricklefs 1993). Much debate centers on whether this heyday of indigenous Asian trade was effectively disrupted by the arrival of western traders in the late fifteenth century

Sixteenth and seventeenth century

Present-day research by scholars in pre-colonial economic history focuses on the dynamics of early-modern trade and pays specific attention to the role of different ethnic groups such as the Arabs, the Chinese and the various indigenous groups of traders and entrepreneurs. During the sixteenth to the nineteenth century the western colonizers only had little grip on a limited number of spots in the Indonesian archipelago. As a consequence much of the economic history of these islands escapes the attention of the economic historian. Most data on economic matters is handed down by western observers with their limited view. A large part of the area remained engaged in its own economic activities, including subsistence agriculture (of which the results were not necessarily very meager) and local and regional trade.

An older research literature has extensively covered the role of the Dutch in the Indonesian archipelago, which began in 1596 when the first expedition of Dutch sailing ships arrived in Bantam. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Dutch overseas trade in the Far East, which focused on high-value goods, was in the hands of the powerful Dutch East India Company (in full: the United East Indies Trading Company, or Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie [VOC], 1602-1795). However, the region was still fragmented and Dutch presence was only concentrated in a limited number of trading posts.

During the eighteenth century, coffee and sugar became the most important products and Java became the most important area. The VOC gradually took over power from the Javanese rulers and held a firm grip on the productive parts of Java. The VOC was also actively engaged in the intra-Asian trade. For example, cotton from Bengal was sold in the pepper growing areas. The VOC was a successful enterprise and made large dividend payments to its shareholders. Corruption, lack of investment capital, and increasing competition from England led to its demise and in 1799 the VOC came to an end (Gaastra 2002, Jacobs 2000).

In the nineteenth century a process of more intensive colonization started, predominantly in Java, where the Cultivation System (1830-1870) was based (Elson 1994 Fasseur 1975).

During the Napoleonic era the VOC trading posts in the archipelago had been under British rule, but in 1814 they came under Dutch authority again. During the Java War (1825-1830), Dutch rule on Java was challenged by an uprising led by Javanese prince Diponegoro. To repress this revolt and establish firm rule in Java, colonial expenses increased, which in turn led to a stronger emphasis on economic exploitation of the colony. The Cultivation System, initiated by Johannes van den Bosch, was a state-governed system for the production of agricultural products such as sugar and coffee. In return for a fixed compensation (planting wage), the Javanese were forced to cultivate export crops. Supervisors, such as civil servants and Javanese district heads, were paid generous ‘cultivation percentages’ in order to stimulate production. The exports of the products were consigned to a Dutch state-owned trading firm (the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, NHM, established in 1824) and sold profitably abroad.

Although the profits (‘batig slot’) for the Dutch state of the period 1830-1870 were considerable, various reasons can be mentioned for the change to a liberal system: (a) the emergence of new liberal political ideology (b) the gradual demise of the Cultivation System during the 1840s and 1850s because internal reforms were necessary and (c) growth of private (European) entrepreneurship with know-how and interest in the exploitation of natural resources, which took away the need for government management (Van Zanden and Van Riel 2000: 226).

Financial Results of Government Cultivation, 1840-1849 (‘Cultivation System’) (in thousands of guilders in current values)

1840-1844 1845-1849
Coffee 40 278 24 549
Sugar 8 218 4 136
Indigo, 7 836 7 726
Pepper, Tea 647 1 725
Total net profits 39 341 35 057

Estimates of Total Profits (‘batig slot’) during the Cultivation System,

1831/40 – 1861/70 (in millions of guilders)

1831/40 1841/50 1851/60 1861/70
Gross revenues of sale of colonial products 227.0 473.9 652.7 641.8
Costs of transport etc (NHM) 88.0 165.4 138.7 114.7
Sum of expenses 59.2 175.1 275.3 276.6
Total net profits* 150.6 215.6 289.4 276.7

Source: Van Zanden and Van Riel 2000: 223.

* Recalculated by Van Zanden and Van Riel to include subsidies for the NHM and other costs that in fact benefited the Dutch economy.

The heyday of the colonial export economy (1900-1942)

After 1870, private enterprise was promoted but the exports of raw materials gained decisive momentum after 1900. Sugar, coffee, pepper and tobacco, the old export products, were increasingly supplemented with highly profitable exports of petroleum, rubber, copra, palm oil and fibers. The Outer Islands supplied an increasing share in these foreign exports, which were accompanied by an intensifying internal trade within the archipelago and generated an increasing flow of foreign imports. Agricultural exports were cultivated both in large-scale European agricultural plantations (usually called agricultural estates) and by indigenous smallholders. When the exploitation of oil became profitable in the late nineteenth century, petroleum earned a respectable position in the total export package. In the early twentieth century, the production of oil was increasingly concentrated in the hands of the Koninklijke/Shell Group.

Foreign Exports from the Netherlands-Indies, 1870-1940

(in millions of guilders, current values)

The momentum of profitable exports led to a broad expansion of economic activity in the Indonesian archipelago. Integration with the world market also led to internal economic integration when the road system, railroad system (in Java and Sumatra) and port system were improved. In shipping lines, an important contribution was made by the KPM (Koninklijke Paketvaart-Maatschappij, Royal Packet boat Company) that served economic integration as well as imperialist expansion. Subsidized shipping lines into remote corners of the vast archipelago carried off export goods (forest products), supplied import goods and transported civil servants and military.

The Depression of the 1930s hit the export economy severely. The sugar industry in Java collapsed and could not really recover from the crisis. In some products, such as rubber and copra, production was stepped up to compensate for lower prices. In the rubber exports indigenous producers for this reason evaded the international restriction agreements. The Depression precipitated the introduction of protectionist measures, which ended the liberal period that had started in 1870. Various import restrictions were launched, making the economy more self-sufficient, as for example in the production of rice, and stimulating domestic integration. Due to the strong Dutch guilder (the Netherlands adhered to the gold standard until 1936), it took relatively long before economic recovery took place. The outbreak of World War II disrupted international trade, and the Japanese occupation (1942-1945) seriously disturbed and dislocated the economic order.

Annual Average Growth in Economic Key Aggregates 1830-1990

Note: These average annual growth percentages were calculated by Booth by fitting an exponential curve to the data for the years indicated. Up to 1873 data refer only to Java.

After independence, the Indonesian economy had to recover from the hardships of the Japanese occupation and the war for independence (1945-1949), on top of the slow recovery from the 1930s Depression. During the period 1949-1965, there was little economic growth, predominantly in the years from 1950 to 1957. In 1958-1965, growth rates dwindled, largely due to political instability and inappropriate economic policy measures. The hesitant start of democracy was characterized by a power struggle between the president, the army, the communist party and other political groups. Exchange rate problems and absence of foreign capital were detrimental to economic development, after the government had eliminated all foreign economic control in the private sector in 1957/58. Sukarno aimed at self-sufficiency and import substitution and estranged the suppliers of western capital even more when he developed communist sympathies.

After 1966, the second president, general Soeharto, restored the inflow of western capital, brought back political stability with a strong role for the army, and led Indonesia into a period of economic expansion under his authoritarian New Order (Orde Baru) regime which lasted until 1997 (see below for the three phases in New Order). In this period industrial output quickly increased, including steel, aluminum, and cement but also products such as food, textiles and cigarettes. From the 1970s onward the increased oil price on the world market provided Indonesia with a massive income from oil and gas exports. Wood exports shifted from logs to plywood, pulp, and paper, at the price of large stretches of environmentally valuable rainforest.

Soeharto managed to apply part of these revenues to the development of technologically advanced manufacturing industry. Referring to this period of stable economic growth, the World Bank Report of 1993 speaks of an ‘East Asian Miracle’ emphasizing the macroeconomic stability and the investments in human capital (World Bank 1993: vi).

The financial crisis in 1997 revealed a number of hidden weaknesses in the economy such as a feeble financial system (with a lack of transparency), unprofitable investments in real estate, and shortcomings in the legal system. The burgeoning corruption at all levels of the government bureaucracy became widely known as KKN (korupsi, kolusi, nepotisme). These practices characterize the coming-of-age of the 32-year old, strongly centralized, autocratic Soeharto regime.

Today, the Indonesian economy still suffers from severe economic development problems following the financial crisis of 1997 and the subsequent political reforms after Soeharto stepped down in 1998. Secessionist movements and the low level of security in the provincial regions, as well as relatively unstable political policies, form some of its present-day problems. Additional problems include the lack of reliable legal recourse in contract disputes, corruption, weaknesses in the banking system, and strained relations with the International Monetary Fund. The confidence of investors remains low, and in order to achieve future growth, internal reform will be essential to build up confidence of international donors and investors.

An important issue on the reform agenda is regional autonomy, bringing a larger share of export profits to the areas of production instead of to metropolitan Java. However, decentralization policies do not necessarily improve national coherence or increase efficiency in governance.

A strong comeback in the global economy may be at hand, but has not as yet fully taken place by the summer of 2003 when this was written.

War leader

On early morning of 17 August 1945, Sukarno returned to his house at Jl Pegangsaan Timur No. 56, where he was joined by Mohammad Hatta. Throughout the morning, impromptu leaflets printed by PETA and youth elements informed the population of the impending proclamation. Finally, on 10 am, Sukarno and Hatta stepped to the front porch, where Sukarno declared the independence of the Republic of Indonesia in front of a crowd of 500 people.

On the following day, 18 August, PPKI declared the basic governmental structure of the new Republic of Indonesia:

  1. Appointing Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta as President and Vice-President and their cabinet.
  2. Putting into effect the 1945 Indonesian constitution, which by this time excluded any reference to Islamic law.
  3. Setting a Central Indonesian National Committee (Komite Nasional Indonesia Poesat/KNIP) to assist the president prior to election of a parliament.

Sukarno’s vision for the 1945 Indonesian constitution comprised the Pancasila (five principles). Sukarno’s political philosophy was mainly a fuse of elements of Marxism, nationalism and Islam. This is reflected in a proposition of his version of Pancasila he proposed to the BPUPKI (Inspectorate of Indonesian Independence Preparation Efforts), in which he originally espoused them in a speech on 1 June 1945: [16]

Sukarno argued that all of the principles of the nation could be summarized in the phrase gotong royong. [17] The Indonesian parliament, founded on the basis of this original (and subsequently revised) constitution, proved all but ungovernable. This was due to irreconcilable differences between various social, political, religious and ethnic factions. [18]

In the days following the Proclamation, the news of Indonesian independence was spread by radio, newspaper, leaflets, and word of mouth despite attempts by the Japanese soldiers to suppress the news. On 19 September, Sukarno addressed a crowd of one million people at the Ikada Field of Jakarta (now part of Merdeka Square) to commemorate one month of independence, indicating the strong level of popular support for the new republic, at least on Java and Sumatera. In these two islands, the Sukarno government quickly established governmental control while the remaining Japanese mostly retreated to their barracks awaiting arrival of Allied forces. This period was marked by constant attacks by armed groups on Europeans, Chinese, Christians, native aristocracy and anyone who were perceived to oppose Indonesian independence. The most serious cases were the Social Revolutions in Aceh and North Sumatera, where large numbers of Acehnese and Malay aristocrats were killed by Islamic groups (in Aceh) and communist-led mobs (in North Sumatera), and the “Three Regions Affair” in northwestern coast of Central Java where large numbers of Europeans, Chinese, and native aristocrats were butchered by mobs. These bloody incidences continued until late 1945 to early 1946, and begin to peter-out as Republican authority begin to exert and consolidate its control.

Sukarno’s government initially postponed the formation of a national army, for fear of antagonizing the Allied occupation forces and their doubt over whether they would have been able to form an adequate military apparatus to maintain control of seized territory. The members of variousmilitia groups formed during Japanese occupation such as the disbanded PETA and Heiho, at that time were encouraged to join the BKR—Badan Keamanan Rakjat (The People’s Security Organization)—itself a subordinate of the “War Victims Assistance Organization”. It was only in October 1945 that the BKR was reformed into the TKR—Tentara Keamanan Rakjat (The People’s Security Army) in response to the increasing Allied and Dutch presence in Indonesia. The TKR armed themselves mostly by attacking Japanese troops and confiscating their weapons.

Due to sudden transfer of Java and Sumatera from General Douglas MacArthur‘s American-dominated Southwest Pacific Area to Lord Louis Mountbatten‘s British-dominated Southeast Asian Command, the first Allied soldiers (1st Battalion of Seaforth Highlanders) only arrived in Jakarta on late September 1945. British forces began to occupy major Indonesian cities on October 1945. The commander of British 23rd Division, Lieutenant General Sir Philip Christison, set-up command in the former governor-general’s palace in Jakarta. Christison stated its intentions as the liberation of all Allied prisoners-of-war, and to allow the return of Indonesia to its pre-war status, as colony of Netherlands. The Republican government were willing to cooperate with regards to the release and repatriation of Allied civilian and military POWs, setting-up the Committee for the Repatriation of Japanese and Allied Prisoners of Wars and Internees (Panitia Oeroesan Pengangkoetan Djepang dan APWI/POPDA) for this purpose. POPDA, in cooperation with the British, repatriated more than 70,000 Japanese and Allied POWs and internees by the end of 1946. To resist Dutch attempts to regain control of the country, Sukarno’s strategy was to seek international recognition and support for the new Indonesian Republic, in view of the relative military weakness of the Republic compared with British and Dutch military power.

Sukarno was aware that his past history as Japanese collaborator might complicate relationship with the Western countries. Hence, to help acquire international recognition as well as to accommodate domestic demands for establishment of political parties, Sukarno allowed the formation of parliamentary system of government, whereby a prime minister controlled day-to-day affairs of the government, while Sukarno as president remained as figurehead. The prime minister and his cabinet will be responsible to the Central Indonesian National Committeeinstead of the president. On 14 November 1945, Sukarno appointed Sutan Sjahrir as first prime minister, he was a European-educated politician who was never involved with the Japanese occupation authorities.

Ominously, Dutch soldiers and administrators under the name of Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) began to return under the protection of the British. They were led by Hubertus Johannes van Mook, a pre-war Dutch colonial administrator who led the Dutch East Indies government-in-exile in Brisbane, Australia. They armed released Dutch POWs, which began to engage in shooting rampages against Indonesian civilians and Republican police. As consequence, armed conflict soon erupted between the newly-constituted Republican forces aided by a myriad of pro-independence mob groups, against the British and Dutch forces. On 10 November, a full-scale battle broke-out inSurabaya between British Indian 49th Infantry Brigade and Indonesian population, involving air and naval bombardments of the city by the British. 300 British soldiers were killed (including its commander Brigadier AWS Mallaby), while thousands of Indonesians died. Shootouts broke-out with alarming regularity in Jakarta, including an attempted assassination of Prime Minister Sjahrir by Dutch gunmen. To avoid this menace, Sukarno and majority of his government left for the safety of Yogyakarta on 4 January 1946. There, the Republican government received protection and full support from Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX. Yogyakarta will remain as the Republic’s capital until end of the war in 1949. Sjahrir remained in Jakarta to conduct negotiations with the British. [19]

The initial series of battles in late 1945 and early 1946 left the British in control of major port cities on Java and Sumatera. During the Japanese occupation, the Outer Islands (excluding Java and Sumatera) was occupied by Japanese Navy (Kaigun), which did not allow for political mobilisation in their areas on account of the small population base available for mobilisation, and the proximity of these areas to active theatres of war. Consequently, there were little Republican activity in these islands post-proclamation. Australian and Dutch forces quickly occupied these islands without much fighting by end of 1945 (excluding the resistance of I Gusti Ngurah Rai in Bali, the insurgency inSouth Sulawesi, and fighting in Hulu Sungai area of South Kalimantan). Meanwhile, the hinterland areas of Java and Sumatera remained under Republican administration.

Eager to pull-out its soldiers from Indonesia, the British allowed for large-scale infusion of Dutch forces into the country throughout 1946. By November 1946, all British soldiers have been withdrawn from Indonesia, replaced by more than 150,000 Dutch soldiers. On the other hand, the British sent Lord Archibald Clark Kerr, 1st Baron Inverchapel and Miles Lampson, 1st Baron Killearn to bring the Dutch and Indonesians to the negotiating table. The result of these negotiations was the Linggadjati Agreement signed on November 1946, where the Dutch acknowledged de facto Republican sovereignty over Java, Sumatera, and Madura. In exchange, the Republicans were willing to discuss future Commonwealth-like United Kingdom of Netherlands and Indonesia.

Sukarno addressing the KNIP (parliament) in Malang, March 1947

Sukarno’s decision to negotiate with the Dutch was met with strong opposition by various Indonesian factions. Tan Malaka, a communist politician, organised these groups into a united front called the Persatoean Perdjoangan (PP). PP offered a “Minimum Program” which called for complete independence, nationalisation of all foreign properties, and rejection of all negotiations until all foreign troops are withdrawn. These programmes received widespread popular support, including from armed forces commander General Sudirman. On 4 July 1946, military units linked with PP kidnapped Prime Minister Sjahrir who was visiting Yogyakarta. Sjahrir was leading the negotiation with the Dutch. Sukarno, after successfully influencing Sudirman, managed to secure the release of Sjahrir and the arrest of Tan Malaka and other PP leaders. Disapproval of Linggadjati terms within the KNIP led Sukarno to issue a decree doubling KNIP membership by including many pro-agreement appointed members. As consequence, KNIP ratified the Linggadjati Agreement on March 1947. [20]

On 21 July 1947, the Linggadjati Agreement was broken by the Dutch, who launched Operatie Product, a massive military invasion into Republican-held territories. Although the newly-reconsitituted TNI was unable to offer significant military resistance, the blatant violation by the Dutch on internationally-brokered agreement outraged world opinion. International pressure forced the Dutch to halt their invasion force on August 1947. Sjahrir, who has been replaced as prime minister by Amir Sjarifuddin, flew to New York City to appeal Indonesian case in front of United Nations. UN Security Council issued a resolution calling for immediate ceasefire, and appointed a Good Offices Committee (GOC) to oversee the ceasefire. The GOC, based in Jakarta, consisted of delegations from Australia (led by Richard Kirby, chosen by Indonesia), Belgium (led by Paul van Zeeland, chosen by Netherlands), and United States (led by Frank Porter Graham, neutral).

The Republic was now under strong Dutch military stranglehold, with the Dutch military occupying West Java, and the northern coast ofCentral Java and East Java, along with the key productive areas of Sumatera. Additionally, the Dutch navy blockaded Republican areas from supplies of vital food, medicine, and weapons. As consequence, Prime Minister Amir Sjarifuddin has little choice but to sign the Renville Agreement on 17 January 1948, which acknowledged Dutch control over areas taken during Operatie Product, while the Republicans pledged to withdraw all forces that remained on the other side of the ceasefire line (“Van Mook Line“). Meanwhile, the Dutch begin to organize puppet states in the areas under their occupation, to counter Republican influence utilising ethnic diversity of Indonesia.

The signing of highly disadvantageous Renville Agreement caused even greater instability within the Republican political structure. In Dutch-occupied West Java, Darul Islam guerrillas under Sekarmadji Maridjan Kartosuwirjo maintained their anti-Dutch resistance and repealed any loyalty to the Republic, they will cause a bloody insurgency in West Java and other areas in the first decades of independence. Prime Minister Sjarifuddin, who signed the agreement, was forced to resign on January 1948, and was replaced by Mohammad Hatta. Hatta cabinet’s policy of rationalising the armed forces by demobilising large numbers of armed groups that proliferated the Republican areas, also caused severe disaffection. Leftist political elements, led by resurgent Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) under Musso took advantage of public disaffections by launching rebellion in Madiun, East Java, on 18 September 1948. Bloody fighting continued during late-September until end of October 1948, when the last communist bands were defeated and Musso shot dead. The communists have overestimated their potential to oppose the strong appeal of Sukarno amongst the population.

Sukarno and Foreign Minister Agus Salimin Dutch custody, 1949.

On 19 December 1948, to take advantage of the Republic’s weak position following the communist rebellion, the Dutch launched Operatie Kraai, a second military invasion designed to crush the Republic once and for all. The invasion was initiated with an airborne assault on Republican capitalYogyakarta. Sukarno ordered the armed forces under Sudirman to launch guerilla campaign in the countryside, while he and other key leaders such as Hatta and Sjahrir allowed themselves to be taken prisoner by the Dutch. To ensure continuity of government, Sukarno sent a telegram toSjafruddin Prawiranegara, providing him the mandate to lead an Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PDRI), based on the unoccupied hinterlands of West Sumatera, a position he kept until Sukarno was released on June 1949. The Dutch sent Sukarno and other captured Republican leaders to captivity in Prapat, in Dutch-occupied part of North Sumatera and later to the island of Bangka.

The second Dutch invasion caused even more international outrage. United States, impressed by Indonesia’s ability to defeat the 1948 communist challenge without outside help, threatened to cut-off Marshall Aid funds to Netherlands if military operations in Indonesia continued. TNI did not disintegrate and continued to wage guerilla resistance against the Dutch, most notably the assault on Dutch-held Yogyakarta led by Lieutenant-Colonel Suharto on 1 March 1949. Consequently, the Dutch were forced to sign the Roem-van Roijen Agreement on 7 May 1949. According to this treaty, the Dutch released the Republican leadership and returned the area surroundingYogyakarta to Republican control on June 1949. This is followed by the Dutch-Indonesian Round Table Conference held in The Hague which led to the complete transfer of sovereignty by the Queen Juliana of the Netherlands to Indonesia, on 27 December 1949. On that day, Sukarno flew from Yogyakarta to Jakarta, making a triumphant speech at the steps of the governor-general’s palace, immediately renamed the Merdeka Palace (“Independence Palace”).

How many Dutch lived in Indonesia during the colonial era vs native population? - History

They're all pretty but they're not the same.

Retno Wulandari 15 May 2017 12:30

Kebaya is a traditional women's blouse usually made of cotton, silk, or brocade that has openings on the front and long sleeves. Kebaya is usually worn during formal occasions, combined with batik sarong, songket, or other traditional textiles. But recently, kebaya with simple design appears in many casual events, as well as in Jakarta’s government offices every Thursday.

In its early days, traditional kebaya were only seen in the court of the Javanese Kingdom of Majapahit, to be mixed with kemben —a torso wrap worn by noblewomen— for extra cover, following the newly-adopted Islamic teachings. At first, kebaya was only allowed for royal family and female aristocrats. But later on, it started to be adopted by commoners.

As a popular fashion item in Javanese kingdoms era, the Javanese style kebaya had made its debut in some other kingdoms around the archipelago. Royals in Aceh, Riau and Johor Kingdoms, as well as some kingdoms in Northern Sumatra, adopted the blouse for social status.

After hundreds of years journey, kebaya has been adopted to local traditions and cultures, with nearly every region in Indonesia having its own form of the garment. Here are some types of kebaya we can see worn in Indonesia today.

Kebaya Kartini

Actresses wore kebaya in Kartini movie (Photo via Trivia.id)

This is a popular type of kebaya among aristocrats in 19th century Java, especially during the lifetime of Indonesian national heroine Raden Ajeng Kartini. The term of “Javanese kebaya” is often associated with kebaya Kartini, although there are a few differences between the two.

Garuda Indonesia adopted kebaya Kartini for its flight attendants (Photo via YouTube)

Kebaya Kartini usually made of fine, opaque fabrics, and, as seen in several Kartini’s photos, white is a popular color. This type of kebaya’s covers the hips. It also has minor adornment, such as stitching or applied laces. It also has a v-shaped collar, which is similar to Peranakan Encim kebaya. What makes kebaya Kartini different is the signature fold on the front, creating a tall and slender impression of the wearer.

Sometimes wearers of kebaya Kartini put a kerongsang, a metal brooch, on their chest as jewelry.

Kebaya Jawa (Javanese Kebaya)

Black velvet Javanese kebaya by Anne Avantie (Photo via Pinterest)

Kebaya Jawa as a wedding costume by Didiet Maulana (Photo credit: IKAT Indonesia)

The elegant Javanese kebaya comes with a simple design and a V-neck cut. Usually, it’s made from opaque or semi-transparent fine fabrics, plain or patterned, with stitching or embroidery adornment. They also come in other materials, such as cotton, brocade, silk and velvet. The transparent kebaya is worn over a matching undergarment, such as a bodice, kemben, or camisole.

Kutubatu in patterned fabrics, mixed with Javanese batik (Photo via TrendBajuKebaya)

Kutubaru with batik, adorned with kerongsang brooch (Photo via Instagram/@Inspirasi_Kebaya)

Kutubaru is another type of kebaya believed to be originated from Central Java. Its form is quite similar to Javanese kebaya. The difference is kutubaru has additional fabric called bef, connecting the opening of kebaya around the chest and abdomen, creating a rectangle-shaped collar, to recreate the look of the unbuttoned kebaya worn over matching kemben in the past.

Kebaya Bali (Balinese Kebaya)

(Photo via Shutterstock/Lano Lan)

Like its Javanese counterpart, Balinese kebaya also has the signature V-neckline with folded collar. The tight-fitting kebaya is made of semi-transparent fabrics, such as cotton or brocade, adorned with embroidery or lace. Sometimes the fabrics are already patterned with stitchings. Kerongsang brooch is seldom used and in exchange, Balinese wear a sash or shawl wrapped around the waist.

Balinese women wearing white kebaya and sarong during ceremony (Photo via Shutterstock/Tropical Studio)

Balinese women wear white kebaya as pakaian adat (customary dress) with sarong during rituals and ceremony. For other occasions or daily activities, they prefer more colorful kebaya with shorter sleeves.

Kebaya Sunda (Sundanese Kebaya)

Kebaya Sunda as a wedding costume (Photo via Verakebaya)

The Sundanese kebaya usually made of brocade in various colors, and often transformed to modern and wedding kebaya. The tight-fitting, embroidery-adorned kebaya has a U-collar neckline and sometimes features broad curves to show more skin. The contemporary Sundanese kebaya has an extra long lower parts on the back, covering hips and thighs. Wedding kebaya even has a sweeping long train, believed to be adapted from European wedding dress.

Kebaya Encim or Peranakan

Kebaya Encim or Kebaya Nyonya combined with batik pesisiran (Photo via Wikimedia)

Encim or Peranakan kebaya was usually worn by Chinese-Indonesian ladies who lived in Chinese settlements in various regions in Java coasts, such as Lasem, Tuban, Surabaya, Pekalongan, Semarang and Cirebon. Kebaya Encim is different from the Javanese kebaya for its finer embroidery and lighter, colorful and finer imported fabrics, such as silk or linen. Kebaya Encim goes well with batik pesisiran sarong, which typically comes in brighter colors and more dynamics patterns.

Kebaya Encim also popular among Chinese ancestry in other Malayan countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore, with the name of “kebaya Nyonya.”

Kebaya Indo

Kebaya Indo or Eurasian kebaya were popular amongst European ladies during the Dutch colonnial era in Indonesia. Dutch women and Indos (European-Asian ancestry) of high social status adopted kebaya as a formal social dress, adding their signature lacy fabrics to the traditional blouse. During their stay in the Dutch East Indies, the tropical heat made them abandon their tight corset and instead wear comfortable undergarment under their kebaya. They probably adopted kebaya from the clothing worn by Nyai, Indonesian native in colonial households who lived in the house as housekeepers or concubines.

Eurasian and Dutch kebaya (Photo credit (right): David Grandison Fairchild)

Kebaya Indo has slight differences with Javanese kebaya in its shorter sleeves and lace adornment. Sometimes Dutch women imported fine laces from Bruges or the Netherlands for their kebaya embellishments. Kebaya worn by colonials usually were white in color and made of light fabrics. Black silk kebaya were often used as evening wear.

Political Life

Government. During 2000, Indonesia was in deep governmental crisis and various institutions were being redesigned. The 1945 constitution of the republic, however, mandates six organs of the state: the People's Consultative Assembly ( Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat , or MPR), the presidency, the People's Representative Council ( Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat , or DPR), the Supreme Advisory Council ( Dewan Pertimbangan Agung ), the State Audit Board ( Badan Pemeriksa Keuangan ), and the Supreme Court ( Mahkamah Agung ).

The president is elected by the MPR, which consists of one thousand members from various walks of life—farmers to businesspeople, students to soldiers—who meet once every five years to elect the president and endorse his or her coming five-year plan. The vice president is selected by the president.

The DPR meets at least once a year and has five hundred members: four hundred are elected from the provinces, one hundred are selected by the military. The DPR legislates, but its statutes must be approved by the president. The Supreme Court can hear cases from some three hundred subordinate courts in the provinces but cannot impeach or rule on the constitutionality of acts by other branches of government.

In 1997, the nation had twenty-seven provinces plus three special territories (Aceh, Yogyakarta, and Jakarta) with different forms of autonomy and their own governors. East Timor ceased to be a province in 1998, and several others are seeking provincial status. Governors of provinces are appointed by the Interior Ministry and responsible to it. Below the twenty-seven provinces are 243 districts ( kabupaten ) subdivided into 3,841 subdistricts ( kecamatan ), whose leaders are appointed by the government. There are also fifty-five municipalities, sixteen administrative municipalities, and thirty-five administrative cities with administrations separate from the provinces of which they are a part. At the base of government are some sixty-five thousand urban and rural villages called either kelurahan or desa . (Leaders of the former are appointed by the subdistrict head the latter are elected by the people.) Many officials appointed at all levels during the New Order were military (or former military) men. Provincial, district, and subdistrict governments oversee a variety of services the functional offices of the government bureaucracy (such as agriculture, forestry, or public works), however, extend to the district level as well and answer directly to their ministries in Jakarta, which complicates local policy making.

Leadership and Political Officials. During the New Order, the Golkar political party exerted full control over ministerial appointments and was powerfully influential in the civil service whose members were its loyalists. Funds were channeled locally to aid Golkar candidates, and they dominated the national and regional representative bodies in most parts of the country. The Muslim United Development Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party lacked such funds and influence and their leaders were weak and often divided. Ordinary people owed little to, and received little from, these parties. After the fall of President Suharto and the opening of the political system to many parties, many people became involved in politics politics, however, mainly involves the leaders of the major

The civil and military services, dominant institutions since the republic's founding, are built upon colonial institutions and practices. The New Order regime increased central government authority by appointing heads of subdistricts and even villages. Government service brings a salary, security, and a pension (however modest it may be) and is highly prized. The employees at a certain level in major institutions as diverse as government ministries, public corporations, schools and universities, museums, hospitals, and cooperatives are civil servants, and such positions in the civil service are prized. Membership carried great prestige in the past, but that prestige diminished somewhat during the New Order. Economic expansion made private sector positions—especially for trained professionals— more available, more interesting, and much more lucrative. Neither the number of civil service positions nor salaries have grown comparably.

The interaction of ordinary people with government officials involves deference (and often payments) upward and paternalism downward. Officials, most of whom are poorly paid, control access to things as lucrative as a large construction contract or as modest as a permit to reside in a neighborhood, all of which can cost the suppliant special fees. International surveys have rated Indonesia among the most corrupt nations in the world. Much of it involves sharing the wealth between private persons and officials, and Indonesians note that bribes have become institutionalized. Both the police and the judiciary are weak and subject to the same pressures. The unbridled manipulation of contracts and monopolies by Suharto family members was a major precipitant of unrest among students and others that brought about the president's fall.

Social Problems and Control. At the end of the colonial period, the secular legal system was divided between native (mainly for areas governed indirectly through princes) and government (for areas governed directly through administrators). The several constitutions of the republic between 1945 and 1950 validated colonial law that did not conflict with the constitution, and established three levels of courts: state courts, high courts (for appeal), and the supreme court. Customary law is still recognized, but native princes who were once responsible for its management no longer exist and its position in state courts is uncertain.

Indonesians inherited from the Dutch the notion of "a state based upon law" ( rechtsstaat in Dutch, negara hukum in Indonesian), but implementation has been problematic and ideology triumphed over law in the first decade of independence. Pressure for economic development and personal gain during the New Order led to a court system blatantly subverted by money and influence. Many people became disenchanted with the legal system, though some lawyers led the fight against corruption and for human rights, including the rights of those affected by various development projects. A national human rights commission was formed to investigate violations in East Timor and elsewhere, but has so far had relatively little impact.

One sees the same disaffection from the police, which were a branch of the military until the end of the New Order. Great emphasis was placed upon public order during the New Order, and military and police organs were used to maintain a climate of caution and fear among not just lawbreakers but also among ordinary citizens, journalists, dissidents, labor advocates, and others who were viewed as subversive. Extrajudicial killings of alleged criminals and others were sponsored by the military in some urban and rural areas, and killings of rights activists, particularly in Atjeh, continue. The media, now free after severe New Order controls, is able to report daily on such events. In 1999– 2000, vigilante attacks against even suspected lawbreakers were becoming common in cities and some rural areas, as was an increase in violent crime. Compounding the climate of national disorder were violence among refugees in West Timor, sectarian killing between Muslims and Christians in Sulawesi and Maluku, and separatist violence in Atjeh and Papua in all of which, elements of the police and military are seen to be participating, even fomenting, rather than controlling.

In villages many problems are never reported to the police but are still settled by local custom and mutual agreement mediated by recognized leaders. Customary settlement is frequently the only means used, but it also may be used as a first resort before appeal to courts or as a last resort by dissatisfied litigants from state courts. In multiethnic areas, disputes between members of different ethnic groups may be settled by leaders of either or both groups, by a court, or by feud. In many regions with settled populations, a customary settlement is honored over a court one, and many rural areas are peaceful havens. Local custom is often based upon restorative justice, and jailing miscreants may be considered unjust since it removes them from oversight and control of their kinsmen and neighbors and from working to compensate aggrieved or victimized persons. Where there is great population mobility, especially in cities, this form of social control is far less viable and, since the legal system is ineffective, vigilantism becomes more common.

Military Activity. The Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia ( Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia , or ABRI) consist of the army (about 214,000 personnel), navy (about 40,000), air force (nearly 20,000), and, until recently, state police (almost 171,000). In addition, almost three million civilians were trained in civil defense groups, student units, and other security units. The premier force, the army, was founded and commanded by members of the Royal Netherlands Indies Army and/or the Japanese-sponsored Motherland Defenders. Many soldiers at first came from the latter, but many volunteers were added after the Japanese left. Some local militias were led by people with little military experience, but their success in the war of independence made them at least local heroes. The army underwent vicissitudes after independence as former colonial officers led in transforming guerilla-bands and provincial forces into a centralized modern army, with national command structure, education, and training.

From its beginning the armed forces recognized a dual function as a defense and security force and as a social and political one, with a territorial structure (distinct from combat commands) that paralleled the civilian government from province level to district, subdistrict, and even village. General Suharto came to power as the leader of an anticommunist and nationalist army, and he made the military the major force behind the New Order. Its security and social and political functions have included monitoring social and political developments at national and local levels providing personnel for important government departments and state enterprises censoring the media and monitoring dissidents placing personnel in villages to learn about local concerns and to help in development and filling assigned blocs in representative bodies. The military owns or controls hundreds of businesses and state enterprises that provide about three-quarters of its budget, hence the difficulty for a civilian president who wishes to exert control over it. Also, powerful military and civilian officials provide protection and patronage for Chinese business-people in exchange for shares in profits and political funding.

Dutch New York: The Dutch settlements in North America

The 17th century Dutch colony of Nieuw-Nederland was situated between the South River (Delaware River) and the Fresh River (Connecticut River) with his center on the North or Great River (Hudson River) practically in the present US States of New York, Delaware, Connecticut and New Jersey.

The Dutch connection with North America began in September 1609, when Henry Hudson, an English Captain in the service of the VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) discovered with his ship “De Halve Maan” (The Half Moon) the river, which today bears his name. He was in search of the Northwest Passage to Asia. Shortly after the return of the Hudson expedition Dutch merchants sent out new expeditions, the aim of all these expeditions was the fur trade with the Indians.

In 1614 the Staten Generaal of the United Provinces of the Netherlands granted a charter for three years to the New Netherlands Company of Amsterdam. The first Dutch settlement in North America was built in late 1614 on Castle island (an island in the Hudson river just south of Albany, NY). This trading post was called Fort Nassau, but this fort frequently lay under water and was consequently abandoned in 1617. In 1621 the newly founded West-Indische Compagnie (WIC) was granted a charter, which included the coast and countries of Africa from the tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope and also all the coast of America.

New Amsterdam (Dutch New York). Author Jacques Cortelyou (1660)

In 1624 the first WIC expedition started. A ship with about thirty families of colonists (most of them were Walloons) reached the Hudson or Great River. They anchored near the abandoned Fort Nassau. Later in 1624 a new fort called Fort Oranje was built here on the west side of the river, where Albany now stands. In the same year the Dutch began to build two forts, one on the South River (Delaware) named Fort Nassau and the other on the Fresh River (Connecticut), which was called Fort De Goede Hoop.

In 1626 a fort was built on Manhattan Island at the mouth of the Hudson River. This fort was called Fort Amsterdam and around it the town of Nieuw Amsterdam developed. It was destined to become the capital of the Dutch colony. In 1628 the population of Nieuw Amsterdam amonted to 270 souls. In 1630 three patroonships were founded: on the South River Swanendael on the North River at its mouth, Pavonia and at Fort Oranje, Rensselaerswyck. The last, Rensselaerswyck, was the only successful patroonship in New Netherlands. In 1633 a wooden church was erected in Nieuw Amsterdam and in 1642 it was replaced by a stone church inside the Fort.

The Dutch settlements in North America. Author Marco Ramerini

In March 1638 a Swedish expedition arrived on the South River (Delaware), where they founded the colony of Nya Sverige (New Sweden). The Dutch at Fort Nassau strongly protested. The Dutch reply arrived in 1655, when a Dutch army with more than 300 soldiers made the whole Nya Sverige give in after some resistance on 15 September 1655.

In 1647 the population of New Netherlands was about 1,500-2,000 souls. In 1652 the population of the city of Nieuw Amsterdam had 800 souls. A Municipal Government was given to it in 1652-53 and a Burgomaster was appointed. In 1664 the population of Nieuw Amsterdam amounted to 1,600 souls and the number of inhabitants of the whole New Netherlands was about 10,000 souls.

On 8 September 1664 (during the Second Anglo-Dutch War) the English took possession of Nieuw Amsterdam and they renamed the city New York. By the treaty of Breda (1667) New Netherlands was exchanged with the English for the colony of Suriname, which at that time was a more developed and rich colony.

New Amsterdam (Dutch New York). Author Johannes Vingboon (1639)

The Dutch in August 1673 (during the third Anglo-Dutch War) retook possession of New York, the fort was renamed Fort Willem Hendrick, while New York became Nieuw Oranje. But by the treaty of Westminster, which was signed in February 1674, the colony went back to the English. In November 1674 the Dutch flag waved in Nieuw Oranje (New York) for the last time.

Description (1643) of Nieuw Nederland (New York and Albany) from a narrative of Father Isaac Jogues

Nieuw Nederland is situated between Virginia and New England. The mouth of the river, which some people call Nassau or Great North River, to distinguish it from another one, which they call the South River and which I think is called Maurice River on some maps, which I have recently seen, is at 40 degrees, 30 minutes. The channel is deep and navigable for the largest ships, which ascend to Manhattan Island, which is seven leagues in circumference and on which there is a fort to serve as the commencement of a town to be built there and to be called New Amsterdam.

Nieuw Amsterdam, Long Island and environs 1664. Author Marco Ramerini

This fort, which is at the point of the island about five or six leagues from the river’s mouth is called Fort Amsterdam. It has four regular bastions, mounted with several pieces of artillery. All these bastions and the curtains existed in 1643, but most mounds had crumbled away. Thus one entered the fort on all sides. There were no ditches. The garrison of the said fort and of another one, which they had built still further up against the incursions of the savages, their enemies, consisted of sixty soldiers. They were beginning to face the gates and bastions with stone. Within the fort there were a pretty large stone church, the house of the Governor (called Director General by them) – quite neatly built of brick – and the storehouses and barracks.

On the island of Manhattan and its environs there may well be four or five hundred people of different sects and nations: the Director General told me that there were persons of eighteen different languages they are scattered here and there on the river, upstream and downstream, as the beauty and convenience of the spot has stimulated everybody to settle: some mechanics, however, who ply their trade, are ranged under the fort all the others are exposed to the incursions of the natives, who in 1643 actually killed quite some Hollanders and burnt many houses and barns full of wheat. The river, which is very straight and runs in due north-south direction, is at least a league broad before the fort. Ships lie at anchor in a bay, which forms the other side of the island and can be defended by the fort. [….]

No religion is publicly exercised but the Calvinist one, but in reality it is different besides the Calvinists there are Catholics, English Puritans, Lutherans, Anabaptists (Mennonites) and more in the colony. When anyone comes to settle in the country, they lend him horses, cows etc. they give him provisions, which he all returns as soon as he is at ease regarding the land, he pays to the West India Company the tenth of the produce he harvests after ten years. [….]

Map of New Netherland and New England (1635). Author Willem Blaeu in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Ascending the river to the 43d degree, you meet the second Dutch settlement, which the tides reach, but do not pass beyond. Ships of a hundred and twenty tons can come up to it. There are two things in this settlements (which is called Renselaerswijck, i.e. settlement of Renselaers, who is a rich Amsterdam merchant): first a miserable little fort called Fort Oranje, built of logs with four or five pieces of Breteuil cannon and as many pedereros. This has been reserved and is maintained by the West India Company. This fort was formerly on an island in the river it is now on the mainland towards the Iroquois, a little above the said island. Secondly, a colony sent here by Renselaers, who is the patron. This colony is composed of about one hundred persons, who reside in some twenty-five or thirty houses built along the river, each of them to be found most convenient. In the principal house lives the patron’s agent the minister has his apartment, in which religious service is performed. There is also a kind of bailiff, whom they call the schout (seneschal), who administers justice. All their houses are merely of boards and thatched with no mason work except the chimneys. The forest furnishing many large pines, they make boards by means of their saw mills, which they have established for this purpose. They found already some pieces of ground, which the savages had formerly cleared, in which they sow wheat and oats for beer and for their horses, of which they have a great number. There is little land fit for tillage, being hemmed by hills, which have poor soil. This obliges them to separate and they already occupy two or three leagues of country. Trade is free to all this gives the Indians the chance to buy all things at a cheap price. Each Hollander tries to outbid his neighbor, which gives him satisfaction, provided he can gain some profit. [….]

There are many [Indian] nations between the two Dutch settlements, which are about thirty leagues apart. [about 200-250 Km.] [….]

Father Isaac Jogues. From Trois Rivières in Nouvelle France, 3 August 1646.


In August 1674 a Dutch ship under Captain Jurriaen Aernoutsz attacked the French fort and military headquarters of Pentagouet in Penobscot Bay (Acadia), which surrendered to it after a siege of two hours then the Dutch ship sailed to the Saint John River, were it conquered another French fort (Jemseg). This conquest was short-lived. Aernoutsz claimed all Acadia as a Dutch colony, but when he left the forts in search of reinforcements, the Dutch garrison was routed by an expedition of New Englanders. In a “foolish attack” the Dutch Government named Cornelis Steenwyck Governor of the Coasts and Countries of Nova Scotia and Acadia in 1676, but at that time he had only the title and not the land.

Nieuw Amsterdam (Dutch New York) by Johannes Vingboons (1664) Map of New Netherland and New England (1635). Author Willem Blaeu in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum New Amsterdam (Dutch New York). Author Jacques Cortelyou (1660) New Amsterdam (Dutch New York). Author Johannes Vingboon (1639)


– Various Authors, “The Colonial History of New York under the Dutch”, CD-Rom in 5 volumes. Includes: “Narratives of New Netherland” (Jameson), “History of New Netherland” (O’Callaghan), “History of New York” (Brodhead) and also includes Cadwallader Colden and four Munsell tracts, edited by O’Callaghan

– Condon, Thomas J., “New York Beginnings: The Commercial Origins of New Netherland”, New York University Press, 1968, New York, USA.

– Griffis, W. E. “The story of New Netherland. The Dutch in America”, 292 pp., Houghton, 1909, Boston/New York, USA. – Heywoood, Linda M. & Thornton, John K., (2007) “Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the making of the Foundation of the Americas, 1585-1660”, Cambridge and New York : Cambridge University Press

– Jameson, J. Franklin “Narratives of New Netherlands 1609-1664” 480 pp. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1909, N.Y. USA

– O’Callaghan, E. B., “The History of New Netherland”, 2 vols., D. Appleton, 1848, New York, USA

– Ward, C. “The Dutch and Swedes on the Delaware 1609 – 1664” 393 pp. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1930 Philadelphia, Penn. USA

– Weslager, C.A., “Dutch explorers, traders and settlers in the Delaware valley 1609-1664”, 329 pp., illustrations, University of Pennsylvania Press 1961, Philadelphia, U.S.A.

– Zwierlein, L. D. “Religion in New Netherlands: A History of the Development of the Religious Conditions in the Province of New Netherlands 1623-1664” 327 pp. John Smith Printing Co, 1910, Rochester, N.Y. USA.

– Champernowne Francis “The Dutch Conquest of Acadie and Other Historical Papers” edited by Charles W. Tuttle and Albert H. Hoyt

– Mahaffie “A land of discord always: Acadia from its beginnings to the expulsion of its people 1604 – 1755”

Dutch Slavery: Our Dark Past

Slave cells at Elmina Castle, Ghana. The location where the Dutch picked up a lot of slaves before they were transported to the New World. The skull above the door doesn’t seem to be a sign for a bright future. (Source: FlickR)

Last week, the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) made an announcement that they will try to demand financial compensations for the damage that was done by their former colonizers in the era of slavery. One of the members of CARICOM is Suriname, a former colony of the Netherlands and former nucleus of Dutch Slavery . Their president and our ‘friend’, Desi Bouterse, has taken a seat in a commission that will coordinate the political trajectory that should realize these compensations. This announcement has led to a new heated debate, whether we should or can redeem the guilt of our dark past by way of financial compensations. This comes merely a week after the official commemoration of the abolition of slavery, 150 years ago. You could easily say that our dark past is a hot issue once again, so let’s take a look at it and clarify some of the difficult issues in the present debate.

Literally engraved in the Dutch history. A depiction of slavery on the Royal Golden Coach. (Source: Afro-Europe)

The ‘boring’ facts that you need to know

There were approximately twelve million African slaves transported to the New World by European countries. The Dutch brought 400.000 of them to Suriname, 16.000 to Essequibo, 15.000 to Berbice, 11.000 to Demerary, 25.000 to Recife and 100.000 to the Spanish colonies via Curacao. Our share in total, of the slave trade to the New World, was never more than 5%. No European country made more financial losses due to the slave trade than the Dutch. Furthermore, the Dutch seemed to care less for their slaves than the English or the French. Approximately 2 out of 1000 slaves died every day on Dutch slave ships per month, compared to 1 on English slave ships and 1.5 on French ships. The reason for that was the bad medical care on Dutch ships compared to the English and the French, who made more profit out of their slave trade. That was mainly because their area of distribution for slaves in the New World was larger and because they took better care of them. They were less indifferent to the physical conditions of their slaves and they had more medical knowledge to keep them healthy. We didn’t know that less humidity, more water, more food and more fresh air could keep more of them alive. How could we have known?

Why did we trade black people as slaves instead of poor white people? That was purely a racist matter. We could barely see them as equal human beings and slavery was legitimated by the Bible. The Bible has always been a good tool to legitimize every morally objectionable activity, even though it presents itself as a moral guide. You could legitimize throwing gay people from flat buildings or not vaccinating your children and if you read it backwards it could even legitimize child abuse. Thank you Lord, for giving us the Bible! But let’s continue with more serious matters, because there will be plenty of more opportunities to ridicule the Bible.

Slave cells at Elmina Castle, Ghana. The location where the Dutch picked up a lot of slaves before they were transported to the New World. The skull above the door doesn’t seem to be a sign for a bright future. (Source: FlickR)

The abolition of Dutch slavery

Even though it was barely profitable for the Dutch to trade slaves, we were one of the last European countries to abolish slavery. Why? First of all, because we were even more morally indifferent than our fellow European brothers were. We felt no moral affinity with the enlightened ideas of the French Revolution (liberté, egalité, fraternité) and so there were very few people in Holland that were dedicated to fight for the abolition of slavery. Secondly, we already lost so much of our grandeur and trading opportunities we had possessed in the Golden Age, that we stubbornly clung to one of the few opportunities that were left for us in the New World, despite the fact that it was barely profitable. To give this up, would be another blow to our pride and our image. Thirdly, there was no alternative for the men who made their living out of it, so they just kept on going until someone else forbade them to do it. Without their meager income from the slave trade, they wouldn’t have had any income at all, and we didn’t want that to happen.

Last but not least, it took us a while before we found the money with which to compensate the slave owners, YES THE SLAVE OWNERS NOT THE SLAVES. We actually used the money that we had earned with our ‘cultuurstelsel’ in the East Indies when this system became very lucrative for the Dutch government in the 19 th century, even though we had to squeeze every penny out of the locals to make it profitable. However, as I mentioned earlier, we had no moral scruples regarding black people and locals in our colonies. That’s why we used this blood money to compensate the people that maintained our other morally objectionable activity, slavery. The English actually paid twenty million pounds sterling in taxes to compensate their slave owners and abolish slavery. That’s another example of our moral indifference compared to that of our European neighbors. Therefore you could say that we have many moral deficiencies with regard to our slave driving past and maybe even more than many other countries. But that rests the question, should we have to compensate the descendants of those slaves for that financially?

Monument to 1795 slave revolt, Landhuis Kenepa, Curacao. This was the most famous revolt, in the Dutch slavery past, by the slave Tula and hundreds of other slaves, against a cruel Dutch plantation owner. The slaves lost the battle in the end. Most of the leaders, including Tula, were executed. Their heads were cut off and showed on sticks to the rest of the slaves, to discourage further upheaval. (Source: Flickr)

To compensate or not?

Two weeks ago, our vice-PM Asscher said that we are deeply regretful and have much remorse for this dark page in Dutch history, at the commemoration of the abolition of slavery 150 years ago. There was no official apology as some of the descendants would have liked to have seen, but there is actually no real difference between an official apology and expression of deep remorse from a semantic point of view. There are however different legal consequences connected with these different ways of apologizing. Should a state officially apologize, that will legally enlarge the chances, for the descendants and the CARICOM, to obtain financial compensation. Even if we would like to pay these compensations, it’s almost impossible to figure out who should pay them, because the shipping companies which transported the slaves don’t exist anymore. The Dutch state then? Maybe. How much should they pay, and to whom precisely? It’s almost impossible to do historical justice to our dark past, in a financial way, and because of that it will probably never happen.

We actually already paid billions to our former colonies, before and after they became independent, although it was disguised as development aid. How long can you hold our generation morally responsible for the things that happened many generations ago? The only way that we can do this past justice and come to an agreeable solution with the descendants of the slaves, is to commemorate this dark page regularly together. We shouldn’t suppress it in our collective memory anymore, as if Piet Hein, J.P. Coen, the silverfleet, the world-famous Dutch painters and our overwhelming wealth were the only aspects of our Dutch Golden Age and our colonial past. Commemoration seems to be the right thing to do and the only thing we are morally obliged to, even if we do this annually at the national monument in Amsterdam, which is not the right place from a historical perspective. Most of the slave ships actually left from Middelburg and Vlissingen. Besides that, slavery wasn’t present in the Netherlands but only in Africa and the New World, so we have to commemorate slavery separately there and the slave trade here. But that’s just all historical blabla.

For now on I would like to say as I mentioned before: let us commemorate this dark past together, so we can come to terms with it and do justice to the descendants of victims and perpetrators. And let’s do it quick, because the next heated issue about another dark page in Dutch history is creeping in already ………. Srebrenica. We won’t be able to brush them off by saying that we won’t pay THEM, because THAT happened many centuries ago.

Emmer, Piet, De Nederlandse slavenhandel 1500-1850 (Amsterdam 2007)

Reinders Folmer-van Prooijen, C., Van goederenhandel naar slavenhandel: De Middelburgse

Colonial Period 1607–1776

Colonial settlers came to America for many reasons. Some came for religious freedom. Some came to make money. They settled into 13 colonies, areas that are now the states known as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Georgia, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware. There were other scattered colonies like St. Augustine in what is now known as Florida.

In the early days of the colonial period, the settlers did not know how to live in the wilderness, and they faced many hardships. In Massachusetts, for example, the Plymouth settlers, spent most of their first winter (1620&ndash21) on board the Mayflower. The following winter, the Pilgrims lived on land but in wigwams and sailcloth tents. Many were sick and all were hungry. Nearly one-quarter of them died before a ship from England brought fresh supplies. You can learn more about life at Plymouth by visiting The First Thanksgiving.

In time, the colonists learned how to live in the wilderness &mdash through trial and error and the help of some of the more friendly Native American tribes. By the 1700s, small cities and towns were well established. The colonists slowly developed their own customs and lifestyles. Eventually they began to feel that this new land was now their true home.

Life in colonial America centered around the family. Most people worked, played, learned, and worshiped at home. A large family was necessary in colonial days to get all the work done. The father was considered the head of the household. He made all of the decisions concerning their families and earned money through farming and jobs outside the home. Women worked in the home, raising the children, preparing the meals, sewing clothes, preserving food for the winter, scrubbing laundry, fetching water, and stoking fires.

Most children in early colonial times never saw the inside of a schoolhouse. Instead, colonial children usually learned about the adult world by doing things the way their parents did. But, just because they didn't go to school, their lives were not easy. Children were expected to help with a share of the family's work. Boys helped their fathers and girls did chores at home. By a time a girl was four she could knit stockings! Even with all the work they did, colonial children still found time to have fun. They cared for their pets, played with dolls, shot marbles, pitched pennies, and went fishing. They also played tag, stickball, and blindman's buff. By the time they had reached age 14, most children were already considered adults. Boys would soon take up their father's trade or leave home to become an apprentice. Girls learned to manage a house and were expected to marry young, probably by the time they were 16 and surely before they were 20.

A child's life in colonial America would differ greatly, depending on the time and place in which the child lived. Learn about the range of experiences in colonial America from the diaries of Patience Whipple (Plymouth, 1620) and Catherine Carey Logan (Pennsylvania, 1963).

Colonial Period Timeline
1565: St. Augustine is founded by the Spanish.
1607: Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in North America, is established in Virginia.
1620: Pilgrims reach Plymouth, Massachusetts, aboard the Mayflower "Mayflower Compact" adopted.
1626: Manhattan Island sold by Indians to New Amsterdam colony.
1638: Swedish settlers establish colony of New Sweden in Delaware.
1681: William Penn receives charter for colony that becomes Pennsylvania.
1692: Salem, Massachusetts, trials sentence 20 "witches" to death.
1718: New Orleans founded by French.
1733: Georgia, last of original 13 colonies, founded by James Oglethorpe.