Slavery In Dutch Colonial Era

(OLD Indonesian writting style) “Sjahadan antara boedak-boedaknya Toean Van Der Ploegh, ada djoega satoe orang prampoean moeda, Rossina namanja jang teramat tjantik dan manis parasnja, dan dalem antero bilangan Betawi tiada ada lagi seorang prampoean jang boleh disamaken padanya. Maskipoen Rossina asal toeroenannja orang Bali, koelitnya tiada hitem, malahan poetih koening sebagai koelit langsep. Oemoernja moeda sekali, belon anem belas taoen.

Apabila Njonja Van der Ploegh pergi melantjong atau pergi di gredja, Rossina selamanja di adjak boeat bawa tempat siri. Dimana tempat ia liwat, senantiasa Rossina dipandeng dan dipoedji orang kerna eloknya. Pakeannya tiada sebrapa bagoes, sedang sadja, jaitoe badjoe koeroeng poetih pendek sampai diwates pinggang dan kain batik, aken tetapi pinggangnja jang langsing ada teriket dengan pending mas, taboer berliant.

Ramboetnja, jang item moeloes dan pandjang sampe dimata kaki, selamanja dikondei sadja di betoelan leher. Ramboet ini biasanja digaboeng dan terhias dengan brapa toesoek kondei mas bermata berliant. Semoea barang mas inten ini soedah tentoe boekan poenjanja si Rossina, tetapi ada punjanja Njonja Van der Ploegh jang soeka sekali riaskan boedak-boedaknja soepaja njata pada orang banjak bebrapa besar kekajaanja.”

(English) “Syahdan is one of slaves among Mr Van der Plugh’s slaves. there is also one slave, a very young girl named Rossina, she is so beautiful and she has a very sweet face, and among Betawinese, there will be no woman can be equated with Rossina. Although Rossina came from Bali, she is not brown skin, her skin is white, she is sixteen years old.

When wife of Mr Van der Plugh were travelling or go to the Church, Rossina always accompany wife of Mr Van der Plugh for bringing her betel box. In every place she passes, all guys turns to look at her due to her awesome prettiness. Her clothes are usual, but there be always something special around Rossina, that is gold and diamond belt on her waist.

Her long hair always tied, and wears gold and diamond hairpins, all this luxury stuff doesn’t belong to Rossina, but it’s belong to Mr Van der Plugh in order to display how rich Van der Plugh’s family.”

The story above was written by H.F.R. Kommer, in his book titled Rossinna published in 1910.

slavery-in-dutch-colonial-eraThe Trend Among VOC Officials In Batavia (Jakarta)
Slavery in Dutch colonial era had been progressed since Jan Pieterszoon Coen had managed to seize Jayakarta fort in 1619. During the heyday of VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), slave ownership peaked because the slave system that had been neatly organized. This led to the “new culture and trend” in colony, rank and wealth of VOC’s officials were measured by the number of slaves they owned.

JP COENSlavery, especially in Batavia has become massive competition among VOC officials and rich people during Dutch colonial era. For example, in every sunday, the exhibit show of person’s wealth can be seen from how long the row of slaves who accompanied their Dutch master to go to the Church. Each slave has a duty to bring equipments, such as an umbrella, foot pads, big fan, religious books, a cigarette, even a betel box, because some Dutch lady was also chewing betel. The other objects that made ​​by gold or expensive silver carving, clothes and jewelry were wore by slave, just to display the wealth levels of their masters.

Human Trafficking During Western Imperialism And Colonialism In Asia
The need for the slavery was grown during VOC era to build a fort of Batavia. When Coen defeated the Prince of Jayakarta in 1619, 80 of 350 people in Jayakarta costal are slaves. The number of slaves needed grows much larger, especially during developing the Batavia under Dutch colony.

VOC requires energy for extracting vessel, draining swamps and locating city. Residents around Batavia could not be recruited, most of them migrated to another area and refused to cooperate especially as slaves. Then VOC brought slaves from the Indian Peninsula and surrounding islands. Noted, Goudbloem ship carrying 250 slaves from mainland East Asia, after arriving in Gulf of Batavia, that number shrank to 114 people, because most of them dies on the way. Ship of d ‘Elisabeth went to Madagascar to find mine workers in Salido, West Sumatra, but from the 115 male and female slaves that brought from there, there were only 62 people survived in the west coast of Sumatra.

slavery-during-dutch-colonialismWhen VOC lost power in the Indian peninsula, the human import from Madagascar, Surat or Bengal immediately stopped. However, VOC found something new in Indonesia. Almost in every islands in Indonesia at that time there is always a class of people who came from defeated-residents or those who can not pay a debt which finally called as a slave class. VOC was so excited over this new finding, then the slave trade grew among the VOC officials.

On December 8, 1657, a director of a trade office in Batavia, Karel Harstinck, bought up to 80 slaves of women and men from the Solor island, then it was written “als mede 80 a 90 stuckx schapen van daer gekomen”. Let’s notice the use of word of “stuckx”, it’s the nominal word for counting the number of slaves, which is equated with inanimate objects.

budakAnother note to mention that the Kabeljauw ship had brought 19 slaves, they were healthy and muscular. Their bodies have been labeled “VOC” (…met leer lomnaeyt met Compagnie merck getjapt). The Dagh-registers can still be read and stored in the Jakarta National Archives. Expedition along the coast of New Guinea (now Papua), have succeeded in chaining a number of the natives. After the VOC knowing this in 1760, the ruler of Batavia has been issued a permit to export two slaves from Papua, and one of the buyers was a representative of the Chinese emperor. For a comparison of the economic situation at that time, in the book of “History of Java” written by Raffles, nobody can imagine how rich an officer of VOC who has tens or even hundreds of slaves.

Common Information and Analysis (CIA)
Wed, October 15, 2014



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