15 Jul 2011

Dutch exploitation in the 19th century

Dutch exploitation in the 19th century

The Dutch attitude to Indonesia was unabashedly that the colony existed for the enrichment of the home country. When war and the secession of the southern provinces (now Belgium) bankrupted the Dutch exchequer, a system of forced labour, called the Cultuurstelsel (culture system) was imposed on Java in 1830. Under it, commercial crops were grown, under compulsion, by the Javanese peasantry for delivery to the Dutch, who shipped the goods to the Netherlands for sale. The system was extremely profitable to the
Dutch (who built up their railway network and reduced their national debt from the proceeds), but, by causing neglect of food crops, it precipitated famine among the Javanese and in general impoverished them.Changed international conditions encouraged the Dutch to open their colony to international commerce after 1870. The capital of many countries flowed in, opening up the outer islands to old and new commercial crops and products, of which tin, rubber, and oil became of great strategic and economic importance.

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