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History, The Consolidation of Dutch Control

Lesser Sunda Islands, government monopoly, Moluccas, Aceh, Sulawesi

Britain occupied Java briefly (1811-1816) during the Napoleonic Wars. Both the British and later the Dutch tried to centralize and reform Javaís administration. The Dutch wavered between opening the area to individual enterprise and reverting to a monopoly system. From 1825 to 1830 the Javanese prince Diponegoro led a guerrilla revolt against the Dutch. The wars, which left as many as 200,000 dead, cost the Dutch huge sums of money and they ultimately decided for a government monopoly. The Dutch annexed large areas of central Java and in 1830 introduced the Culture System, under which peasants had to devote part of their land (officially one-fifth, but usually far more) to cultivating government-designated export crops instead of rice. Extremely profitable for the Dutch, the system was blamed for widespread famine in parts of Java in the 1840s and 1850s.

As the Dutch penetrated Javanese society more deeply, they also expanded their control to other regions. By 1837 they had imposed their rule over parts of the Sumatran interior, and in 1858 they annexed the northeastern coastal principalities. Dutch rule beyond Java, however, was sometimes indirect.

In the mid-19th century Dutch liberals campaigned against the Culture System, and by the 1870s some of the systemís harshest aspects were removed. The new Liberal Policy gave farmers more freedom to grow crops they wanted. Oil, tin, and rubber later began to replace coffee, sugar, and tobacco as the main exports to Europe. These products came largely from outside Java, and the Dutch took control of the islands where they were produced. In the late 19th century the Dutch were engaged in a 30-year war with Aceh and Bali, which ended in 1908 in the former and 1909 in the latter. By this time, Sulawesi, the Moluccas, the Lesser Sunda Islands, and most of Borneo had also been brought under firmer Dutch control.

Article key phrases:

Lesser Sunda Islands, government monopoly, Moluccas, Aceh, Sulawesi, year war, Napoleonic Wars, Borneo, main exports, tin, peasants, Bali, tobacco, rice, farmers, Culture System, sugar, Britain, coffee, regions, freedom, rubber, Oil, land, parts, Europe, control, time, products


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