15 Jul 2011

The establishment of Dutch rule

The establishment of Dutch rule

From 1511 the Portuguese, followed closely by the English, set up trading posts throughout the archipelago. However, it was the Dutch who eventually won the lion's share of influence in what was to become the Netherlands East Indies. The Dutch East India Company established itself in Java, founding Batavia (now Indonesia's capital city Jakarta) in 1619. In the 17th century the Dutch had still only managed to establish trading centres, while extensive Indonesian kingdoms dominated the region. But during the 18th–19th centuries the Dutch gradually took control of all of present-day Indonesia, including the surviving
sultanates.Although Britain occupied the islands for a brief period during the Napoleonic Wars, in general it suited British purposes to have agreed spheres of influence in Southeast Asia, and the Netherlands posed little threat to British interests. Indonesia became a Dutch colony in 1816, and from 1824 onwards a series of agreements between Britain and the Netherlands gave the latter ‘rights’ to the entire archipelago, while Britain was assured of its ‘rights’ in the area that now constitutes Malaysia and Singapore. In 1828, with the Dutch annexation of Irian Jaya, the boundaries of the modern republic were set.

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