Aspects of Dutch Colonial Development in Asia in the Seventeenth Century

  • M. A. P. Meilink-Roelofsz


IN recent years, foreign scholars have shown an increasing interest in the history of Dutch expansion. Down to the Second World War this field of study was investigated almost exclusively by Dutch colonial historians, who placed greatest emphasis on the history of the colonial administration in Indonesia, the former Dutch East Indies. Only a few historians occupied themselves with the territories lost by the Dutch in the past or still possessed in the West Indies.


Seventeenth Century Colonial History Indonesian Archipelago Dutch Colonial Exclusive Contract 


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Further Reading

Collections of Documents

  1. De opkomst van het Nederlansch gezag in Oost-Indië., ed. J. K. J. de Jonge, M. L. VAN Deventer and L. W. G. DE Roo, 17 vols (The Hague-Amsterdam, 1862–1909) contains the most important documents relating to the establishment of Dutch power in Java, from the archives of the Dutch East India Company preserved in the Algemeen Rijksarchief at The Hague.Google Scholar
  2. Bouwstoffen voor de geschiedenis der Nederlanders in den Maleischen Archipe., ed. P. A. Tiele and J. E. Heeres, 3 vols (The Hague, 1886–1895) complements the preceding work in so far as it is mainly concerned with the Archipelago outside Java.Google Scholar
  3. Corpus diplomaticum Neerlando-Indicum: Verzameling van politieke contracten en verdere verdragen door de Nederlanders in het Oosten gesloten en van privilegebrieven aan hen verleen., ed. J. E. Heeres and F. W. Stapel, 6 vols (Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde van het Koninklijk Instituu., The Hague, 1907–55). Fundamental for the relations of the Dutch with the Eastern princes, 1596–1799.Google Scholar
  4. Pieter van Dam, Beschryvinge van de Oostindische Compagni., ed. F. W. Stapel, 7 vols: Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatien, nos. 63, 68, 74, 76, 83, 87, 96 (The Hague, 1927–54). Magnificent edition of the indispensable work of Van Dam; the editing of the last volume was completed by. C. W. Th. Baron van Boetzelaer van AsperenGoogle Scholar
  5. Daghregister gehouden int Casteel Batavia vant passerende daer ter plaetse als over geheel Nederlandts Indi., 31 vols (Batavia-The Hague, 1888–1931). Apart from the last two volumes it is indifferently edited, but is an extremely full chronicle of events throughout Netherlands India from 1628 to 1682.Google Scholar
  6. Verzameling van instructiën, ordonnanciën en reglementen voor de regeerin. van Nederlandsch Indië, vastgesteld in de jaren 1609–1836. Met de ontwerpen der staatscommissie van 1803 en historische aanteekeninge., ed. P. Mijer (Batavia, 1848) contains the instructions, ordinances and regulations for the East Indian government from 1609 to 1836.Google Scholar
  7. Generale Missiven van gouverneurs-generaal en raden aan Heren XVII der Verenigde Oostindische Compagni., ed. W. Px. Coolhass, 2 vols: Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën, nos. 104, 112 (The Hague, 1960–4), brings together the annual dispatches from Batavia to the directors, arranged according to the different Asian regions from which Batavia obtained its own information: valuable series still in progress.Google Scholar
  8. Jan Pietersz. Coen: Bescheiden omtrent zijn bedriff in Indië., ed. H. T. Colenbrander and W. PH. Coolhaas, 7 vols (The Hague, 1919–53). Valuable collection, unfortunately still the only one covering the whole career of a governor-general in the East Indies.Google Scholar

Secondary Works

  1. Coolhass, W. PH.: A Critical Survey of Studies on Dutch Colonial Histor. (The Hague, 1960). Comprehensive and trustworthy.Google Scholar
  2. Vlekke, B. H. M.: Nusantara: a History of the East Indian Archipelag. (Cambridge, Mass., 1943). Although not written by an expert in colonial history nor based on original research, this book remains valuable as an attempt to rewrite Indonesian history from an Asiatic point of view.Google Scholar
  3. Boxer, C. R.: The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1600–180. (1965). A rich and penetrating study of connections between Dutch domestic and colonial history, especially on the social side.Google Scholar
  4. Stapel, F. W. (ed.): Geschiedenis van Nederlandsch Indië., 5 vols (Amsterdam, 1938–40) remains useful, but shows all the disadvantages of such a collective enterprise: it is the story of Dutch activities in Indonesia, rather than Indonesian history.Google Scholar
  5. Chijs, J. A. verr Der: De vestiging van het Nederlandsche gezag over de Banda-eilanden, 1599–162. (Batavia, 1886) describes the extermination of the population of the Banda islands following the arrival of the Dutch.Google Scholar
  6. Mansvelt, W. M. F.: Rechtsvorm en geldeljk beheer bij de Oost-Indische Compagni. (Amsterdam, 1922) studies the Company’s complicated book-keeping and arrives at the unconventional conclusion that the Company was a business on joint account.Google Scholar
  7. Meilink-Roelofsz, M. A. P.: Asian Trade and European Influence in the Indonesian Archipelago between 1500 and about 163. (The Hague, 1962) is a study of Indonesian trade and the effect of both Asian and European penetration on it; contains much new information.Google Scholar
  8. Glamann, Kristof: Dutch-Asiatic Trade, 1620–174. (Copenhagen-The Hague, 1958) examines the trade between the Dutch factories in Asia and the motherland: important.Google Scholar
  9. Haan, F. DE: Priangan. De Preanger regentschappen onder het Nederlandsch bestuur tot 181., 4 vols (Batavia-The Hague, 1910–12). Despite its title, important for the history not only of the area south of Batavia but also that of the Company generally.Google Scholar
  10. Haan, F. de Oud-Batavi., 2 vols and 1 album of plates (Batavia, 1922–3). A lively picture of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Batavian society.Google Scholar
  11. Goonewardena, K. W.: The Foundation of Dutch Powe. in Ceylon, 1638–165. (Amsterdam, 1958). Highly critical of Dutch policies.Google Scholar
  12. Arasaratam, S.: Dutch Power in Ceylon, 1658–168. (Amsterdam, 1958) is equally based on the archives of the Company at The Hague, but on the whole less critical.Google Scholar
  13. Terpstra, H.: De vestiging van de Nederlanders aan de kust van Koromande. (Groningen, 1911). Exhaustive study of the earliest period of Dutch establishment on the Coromandel coast.Google Scholar
  14. Terpstra, H.: De opkomst der Westerkwartieren van de Oost-Indische Compagnie: Suratte, Arabië, Perzië. (The Hague, 1918) is detailed and excellent, but does not go beyond 1624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. De Nederlanders in Voor-Indië. (Amsterdam, 1947). Concise description of the factories in India proper.Google Scholar
  16. Raychauduri, T.: Jan Company in Coromande. (The Hague, 1962) concentrates on economic activities: interesting new material, particularly in the first part of the book.Google Scholar
  17. Roelofsz, M. A. P.: ‘De vestiging der Nederlanders terkuste Malabar’, Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkund., IV (The Hague, 1943) is the first study of early Dutch settlement on the Malabar coast.Google Scholar
  18. Nachod, Oskar: Die Beziehungen der Niederländischen Ostindischen Kompagnie zu Japan im siebzehnten Jahrhunder. (Leipzig, 1897) remains authoritative.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. P. Meilink-Roelofsz

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