1798-1815 1870-1914

The Dutch Colonial Empire, 1815-1870

During the Napoleonic Wars, the British occupied several key colonies, such as the CAPE COLONY and JAVA. The Cape Colony, CEYLON, Essequibo, Berbice and Demerary were ceded to Britain (1814); Cochin was exchanged for Banka island. Dutch administration was restored in Suriname and on Java in 1816. In 1824, the British and Dutch sign a treaty in which the Dutch cede all possessions in Hither India and on the Malay peninsula (Malacca), the British cede all their possessions in the Insulind archipelago; mutual spheres of interest were defined.
The Dutch trading outpost in Japan, DESHIMA, had enjoyed a trading monopoly with that country since 1641. With Japan's opening to the west in 1854, this lucrative monopoly was ended. The last Dutch outposts in Africa, mainly ELMINA, located at the Gold Coast, were abandoned to the pressing Ashanti, the Dutch claims sold to Britain in 1871.
The administration of the DUTCH EAST INDIES, seated at BATAVIA, engaged in a policy of expansion, subjugating the Sultanate of Palembang in 1825. In order to make the colony self-sufficient, the CULTIVATION SYSTEM was introduced in 1830. In 1852, tin was discovered in large quantities on BILITON. In 1858, the Sultan of Siak (Sumatra) recognized Dutch suzerainty; in 1859 slavery was abolished. In 1860, the Sultanate of Banjermasin (Borneo) was conquered.
The Dutch West Indies comprise of SURINAME and the NETHERLANDS ANTILLES. Seat of the administration were Paramaribo (in Suriname) and Willemstad (on Curacao). Slavery was abolished in 1863.

Dutch colonial policy between 1815 and 1870 focussed on the Dutch East Indias as the main sphere of interest, where the administration pursued a policy of reluctant expansion. The rule to follow was that expenses had to be limited. When the Sultan of Brunei approached the Dutch administration for assistance in 1841, the Dutch refused - Brunei was too remote, the costs too high. So the stage was set for British adventurer James Brooke to appear. In the other colonies, the Netherlands pursued the policy of holding on to the status quo.

Java War and Cultivation System, from Library of Congress, Country Studies : Indonesia

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 11th 2004

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz