1815-1870 1914-1945

The Dutch Colonial Empire, 1870-1914

A.) The Dutch East Indies

The Dutch and British spheres of interest had been defined in Anglo-Dutch treaties of 1824 and 1871. Early in the century, a policy of reluctant expansion was pursued, which always depended on the budget. Now, contacts between the Sultanate of ACEH and the U.S. consul in Singapore sparked a new policy of quick expansion in order to establish Dutch authority in the archipelago and to prevent any new colonial power to establish itself there. The conquest of Aceh, begun in 1873, took until 1904. Northern BALI and LOMBOK 1882, MADURA 1887, southern and eastern Bali 1905/06, GOWA and BONE on Celebes in 1904/08. In 1907-09, expeditions were undertaken into NEW GUINEA In 1884, oil was found on Sumatra, to join pepper, tin (from Bangka and BILITON islands) and rubber (from the plantations at Medan, Sumatra) as major export items. At MEDAN there were major rubber plantations.
Encouraged by the Japanese victory over Russia in 1904/05, in 1908, BOEDI OETOMO was established as the first nationalist organization, aristocratic in character. In 1912, SAREKAT ISLAM was established as an islamic nationalist organization. The administration was dominated by the Dutch; few indigenous inhabitants were educated.

B.) Suriname and the Netherlands' Antilles

As slavery was abolished in 1863, immigration of Asians as contract labourers was encouraged to supply the sugar plantations of Suriname with workforce. There still is an Asian community living in the country today. The decline of sugar prices resulted in the colonies losing importance.

Indonesia : Colonial Economy and Society, 1870-1940, from Library of Congress, Country Studies
Indonesia : History, from infoplease, encyclopedic, scroll down
Surinam : History, from infoplease, encyclopedic, scroll down
Netherlands Antilles : History, from infoplease, encyclopedic
The Rise of Imperialism in the Netherlands, from Five Major Eras in the Netherlands' History

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

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