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The Beginning of Dutch Colonialism

War against the Dutch

Meanwhile, the Dutch had started their quest for Indonesia spices to sell on the European market at big profit. For the purpose of more efficient and better-organized merchant trade they established the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1602. To protect the merchant's fleet from frequent pirate attacks on the high seas, Dutch warships were ordered to accompany it. After the nationalization of the VOC in 1799, the Dutch Government had a firm grip on the vital territories of the country. People in those territories were forced to surrender their agricultural produce to the Dutch merchants. It was the beginning of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia. Sunda Kelapa was renamed Batavia.

Meanwhile, the Hindu Kingdom of Mataram converted to Islam and was ruled by the Muslim, Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo. He developed the political power of the state and was a keen patron of the arts and culture. In 1633 he introduced the Islamic Javanese calendar. Sultan Agung was a fierce enemy of the Dutch. In 1629 he sent his troops to attack Batavia, but they were repulsed by the troops of Governor General Jan Pieterszoon Coen.

After the seizure of Ambon in the Moluccas in 1605 and Banda Island in 1623, the Dutch secured the trade monopoly of the Spice Islands. A policy of ruthless exploitation by "divide and rule" tactics was carried out. In this way indigenous inter-island trade, like that between Makassar, Aceh, Mataram and Banten, as well as overseas trade, was gradually paralyzed. Indonesia was reduced to an agricultural country to supply European markets. At the some time, the Dutch adopted a so-called open- door policy toward the Chinese in order that they could serve as middlemen in their trade with Indonesia.

War against the Dutch

Sultan Hasanuddin of Goa waged a war against the Dutch in 1666. But was defeated and Goa became a vassal state of the VOC under the treaty of Bunggaya of 1667. Prince Trunojoyo of Madura also fought the Dutch. He was defeated and killed in 1680. To reinforce their spice monopoly in the Moluccas, the Dutch undertook their notorious Hongi expeditions, whereby they burned down the clove gardens of the people in an effort to eliminate overproduction, which brought down the prices of cloves on the European markets. In these outrageous expeditions countless atrocities were committed against people who defended their crops.

In 1740 the Dutch suppressed a rebellion in Jakarta that was sparked by dissatisfied Chinese, who were later joined by Indonesians. Ten thousand Chinese were massacred. The Kingdom of Mataram began to see its downfall after it was divided by the VOC into the Principalities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. However, mismanagement and corruption forced the VOC into bankruptcy and on December 31, 1799, all its territories in Indonesia were taken over by the Dutch Administration in Batavia.

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