Dutch East Indies

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Dutch East Indies (1602–1945)
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Act of Free Choice (1969)
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The Dutch East Indies, or Netherlands East Indies, (Dutch: Nederlands-Indië; Indonesian: Hindia Belanda) was the name of the colonies set up by the Dutch East India Company, which came under administration of the Netherlands during the 19th century (see Indonesia).

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[edit] Early history

Adventurous reconnoitering in the late 16th century (J. H. van Linschoten, 1582, and the daring adventures of Cornelis Houtman, 1592) paved the way for Houtman's voyage to Banten, the chief port of Java, and back (159597), which raised a very modest profit. Dutch penetration into the East Indies, which was Portugal's sphere, was slow and discreet.

Image:NetherlandsEmpire.png
Dutch colonial possessions, with the Dutch East India Company possessions marked in a paler green, surrounding the Indian Ocean plus Saint Helena in the mid-Atlantic.

[edit] The Dutch East India Company

The Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC), chartered in 1602, concentrated Dutch trade efforts under one directorate with a unified policy. In 1605 armed Dutch merchantmen captured the Portuguese fort at Amboyna in the Moluccas, which was developed into the first secure base of the VOC. The Twelve Year's Truce signed in Antwerp in 1609 called a halt to formal hostilities between Spain (which controlled Portugal and its territories at the time) and the United Provinces. In the Indies, the foundation of Batavia formed the permanent center from which Dutch enterprises, more mercantile than colonial, could be coordinated. From it "the Dutch wove the immense web of traffic and exchange which would eventually make up their empire, a fragile and flexible one built, like the Portuguese empire, 'on the Phoenician model'." (Braudel 1984, p. 215)

One after another the Dutch took the great trading ports of the East Indies: Malacca in 1641; Achem (Aceh) the native kingdom in Sumatra, 1667; Macassar, 1669; finally Bantam itself, 1682. At the same time connections in the ports of India provided the printed cottons that the Dutch traded for pepper, the staple of the spice trade.

The greatest source of wealth in the East Indies, Fernand Braudel has noted, was the trade within the archipelago, what the Dutch called inlandse handel, where one commodity was exchanged for another, with profit at each turn, with silver from the Americas, more desirable in the East than in Europe.

By concentrating on monopolies in the fine spices, Dutch policy encouraged monoculture: Amboyna for cloves, Timor for sandalwood, the Bandas for mace and nutmeg, Ceylon for cinnamon. Monoculture linked island economies to the mercantile system to provide the missing necessities of life.

[edit] Takeover by the Dutch government

By 1700 a colonial pattern was well established; the VOC had grown to become a state-within-a-state and the dominant power in the archipelago. Its method of indirect rule, treated in the article Regentschap, was to survive it. After the company was liquidated in 1799 (decades before the British HEIC was taken over in the form of crown colonies), and after a British interregnum — strategic custody — during the Napoleonic Wars, the Dutch government effectively took over the administration. Malacca and the Malay Peninsula were ceded to the British after the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.

The Dutch government retained control of the remaining parts — except for the period of Japanese occupation from 1942-1945 during World War II — until they accepted the independence of Indonesia in 1949 following the Indonesian National Revolution. The capital of the Dutch East Indies was Batavia, now known as Jakarta, still capital of the republic.

[edit] Post-Indonesian independence

Following the capitulation of Japan at the end of the second World War, a group of nationalists, among others Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta declared the independence of Indonesia, sparking armed conflict when the Dutch attempted to regain control of the region. The Dutch were able to first regain control of Jakarta, forcing the removal of the Indonesian capital to Yogyakarta. A second offensive resulting in the takeover of Yogyakarta meant that capital was again moved, this time to West Sumatra. However, pressure from Australia and newly independent India forced a negotiation brokered by the United States of America resulting in the Round Table Conference of 1949 in which the Dutch acknowledged the sovereignty of Indonesia excepting the region of western New Guinea.

The Indonesian government under Sukarno eventually took control of western New Guinea by force, and military skirmishes took place between 1961 to 1962, including a brief naval engagement in 1962. The United States pressured the Netherlands to surrender West New Guinea to Indonesia in August under terms negotiated in New York City in a document called the New York Agreement. At the same time, the Australian government reversed its policy and also began supporting Indonesian control of the area. Today it remains under Indonesian control, although resistance continues in various parts of the region. To learn more about the region, see the main articles Papua (Indonesian province) and Western New Guinea.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Braudel, Fernand, The perspective of the World, vol III in Civilization and Capitalism, 1984

[edit] External links

Dutch overseas empire
Former colonies
Africa: Arguin Island | Cape Colony | Lydsaamheid fort & factory in Delagoa Bay | Dutch Gold Coast | Gorée | Mauritius

The Americas: Berbice | New Holland (in Brazil) (part) | Dutch Guiana & | Demerara | Essequibo annex Pomeroon | New Netherland (New Amsterdam, New Sweden) | Tobago | Virgin Islands (part)

Dutch colonization of the Americas

Asia: Ceylon | Dutch India (Dutch Bengal - Coromandel Coast - Malabar Coast) | Deshima island in Japan | Dutch East Indies | Malacca | Taiwan

Arctic & Oceania: Netherlands New Guinea (Indonesian Irian Jaya) | Smeerenburg on Amsterdam island

See also: Dutch East India Company | Dutch West India Company
Present colonies (only Caribbean)
Kingdom of the Netherlands: Netherlands Antilles | Aruba
de:Niederländisch-Ostindien

es:Indias Orientales Neerlandeses fr:Indes orientales néerlandaises id:Hindia-Belanda nl:Nederlands-Indië ja:オランダ領東インド pl:Holenderskie Indie Wschodnie pt:Índias Orientais Holandesas sv:Nederländska Indien

Dutch East Indies

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