Dutch Imperialism In Indonesia

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Indonesia is a unique and diverse country in Southeast Asia and has a truly remarkable history, in which former Dutch imperialism stands out among other significant events. Imperialism is the practice of extending rule and power to regions outside of the country which holds it by creating colonies. In 1602, the Netherlands founded the East India Trading Company, abbreviated VOC for Dutch “Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie”, to trade spices in Southeast Asia, mainly Indonesia. (van Dam 1) As they moved further and further into the islands of Indonesia, the Dutch decided to set up a government in the region for easier control of trading and to hinder rebellions of the indigenous tribes. Then, after the VOC was dissolved in 1799, they simply kept…show more content…
It was established to trade spices such as pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove with the famous Indonesian Spice Islands, and sell them for exaggerated prices in Europe. (Beekman 11) The sole purpose of the Netherlands’ mission in Indonesia was trade and easy profit. The European nation wasn’t interested in setting up a government and taking over the territory. The motives were only business-related. Another reason for trading in Indonesia was the spirit of competition. Before 1602, the Portuguese dominated trade in the region. (Mintz 49, 52) The Dutch Prince Maurice encouraged the VOC to set up trade with the Spice Islands and to drive out the Portuguese from those lands. As an added bonus, the Netherlands were able to capture many of the enemy’s fortresses and trading posts. (van Dam 4) It is clear that the Dutch mostly wanted profit and economic domination in Indonesia, and were determined to complete those goals with the use of the East India Trading Company. Even in their map from 1753, there are no cities shown inside the island, even though Java was a major island. (Appendix 1) There was no plan to ever permanently stay on the island, so no infrastructure was set up after 150 years of cooperation. The Dutch did not have much care for the people of the region, nor did they want to set up a government or do missionary work. However, it was the VOC that served as the…show more content…
It was harmful to the indigenous people both while Indonesia was a colony and after it gained its independence. From the very start, all the Netherlands cared about was profit. They did have to eliminate some competition, but afterwards were only focused on the money. There was no care, let alone respect, for the aboriginal population of the islands. They could easily be killed or limited in rights. After the VOC dissolved, the Dutch made an effort to connect with the native population, but were careless with promises and slowly lost control. Finally, Indonesia got independence in 1945.. The chaotic state that the country was left in can still be seen in the political institutions. Just in the 21st century is Indonesia finally close to the long-sought democracy. Just as many of European countries’ endeavors, the Dutch colonial rule was selfish and harmful. Overall, it proved an important point, that even though imperialism seemed glorious and brought substantial profits to the Netherlands and its royalty, the region and the people of the colony were permanently damaged in the
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