Malay Archipelago from occupation to independence: Part |

The Malay Archipelago is consists of the Malay Peninsula, and five main Islands (the Greater Sunda) include Java and Sumatra and Borneo and Sulawesi, besides about 30 small archipelago featuring 13.677 Island, 6.044 island already inhabited. Climate varies in the Malay Archipelago between tropical and warm ,temperate and cold ,most rainfall in winter, evergreen woodlands throughout the year, rich in crops which vary with climate variability, the most important crops are rubber and coffee ,tea ,coconut and wood, pineapple fruits ,papaya ,mango and is rich in livestock too.


Malay Archipelago knew the political unity since the fifth century AD, and remained until the 13nth century under the rule of the Empire ( Srivijaya ) ,then built on its ruins another Empire is "Majapahit" from the end of the 13nth century until the year 1478 AD. This Empire succeeded in establishing business relations with China ,India, and the Arabs, the country's stores moved by the Arabs to Europe ,and spices are the most important commercial goods.

Rising prices of spices in Europe led to try to reach the original sources, where the Italian traveler Marco Polo's journey was 1254-1323 to the far East in Sumatra ,and then continued the globetrotter and explorers to uncover new areas, Bartolomeu Dias to South Africa, then complete Vasco da Gama to India.
The Portuguese succeeded to imposed their control over the Indian Ocean trade, but the Portuguese clashed in bloody battles with the Muslims in Indonesia, in a pattern of Crusades, and managed to seize a large part of Malaya, and remained controlled on trade of spices to Europe from 1498 until 1580 ,when Spain inherited the throne of Portugal and all they have overseas. The region has seen the arrival of a new competitor is the Netherlands, which looked forward to Portugal's former influence inheritance, then followed by the British and the French in the early 17th century, Europeans raced to get as much of the trade of archipelago, where the colonial activity was in commercial nature ,and this did not prevent the European powers of armed clash, because of ignition of competition among them in the area.

The commercial influence was the way to political influence to settle down in the archipelago .The Dutch made a remarkable activity in the Malay Archipelago and their expeditions arrived to Philippine Islands ,beaches of Siam, China and Indochina, as they reached to Japan northward in 1600 and the beaches of Australia southward after almost five years.

Dutch companies have succeeded in holding individual treaties with many islands of the archipelago separately, Dutch got on the right to establish forts and defend these islands in exchange for monopoly on spice trade, numerous Dutch companies competed with each other until the Dutch Government decided to unite them in the Dutch East India Company based in the city of ba-tavia (now Jakarta) ,the capital of Java.

Netherlands abandoned on commercial activity and turned into agricultural activity throughout the eighteenth century and introduced new crops, including coffee, even coffee has become from the most important sources of income for the company in the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

The Dutch East India Company's business was diminished, and the company lost its suzerainty and turned to politics and government gradually, this trend resulted in a loss of the company and increased its debt to the completely finished 1799, the Dutch Government took its place to facilitate business and interests of Netherlands in the Malay Archipelago.

In 1811 the Netherlands suffered an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, and Napoleon Bonaparte's defeat in 1914. Britain returned the islands of the archipelago to Indonesia under an agreement between them, while kept on Ceylon and the Cape Colony and the West India Islands in her hand. England recognized the importance of the region, and decided to buy Singapore island from one of the local rulers in early 1819, and turned the island into a global trading center in the region.

Netherlands revolted and considered this British action is against their agreement in 1914 . In London, 1924 British and Dutch agreed to keep Singapore ,the Malay Peninsula and North Borneo (Malaysia) under the control of Britain in exchange for concession of Britain to Netherlands for other regions such as Northern Sumatra and Timor. The parties undertook to respect each other's property.
 Netherlands did not enjoy the quiet in the archipelago ,and the resistance movement  began under the leadership of one of the scholars of Java ,named "Diponegoro" as a result of the imposition of arbitrary laws on islanders besides seizing of their economic fortunes.

Revolution started in 1824 and lasted about five years. Netherlands suffered heavy losses in money and lives, but the Netherlands succeeded in eliminated the revolution and arrested Diponegoro February 16 ,1830, and denied to the island of Celebes.

Netherlands found that the best way to recoup these losses ,is taxing on the people of Java island and impose agricultural policy under economic orientation aimed to forcing people to plant certain crops to be distributed by the government into the global markets.

In the second half of the nineteenth century ,the conditions began to stabilize for the Dutch in Java, and were looking to expand their possessions in Northern Sumatra, but clashed with the Kingdom of Aceh which has the sovereignty over that area, and entered with them into a holy war lasted over 30 years (1873-1904)  ,Netherlands has been inflicted heavy losses in money and lives ,and Indonesia provided a model for Muslim people power in those countries, led by women's representative Radan Kartini 1879-1904.

The construction of the Suez Canal at that time reduced transportation expenses between the Netherlands and its colonies. With the beginning of the 20th century, the Dutch Government devoted themselves to organize the exploitation of the country, after eliminated the internal revolts and the archipelagic people went into a quiet, Netherlands has been forced to assistance major European countries by factories to backed her in the colonization of the rest of the archipelago, so encouraged foreign investment in their colonies and provided them every assistance and guaranteed support.

Magistrate indicators did not provide new to the colonies in 1919 and did not apply the 14 principles of Wilson, including the principle of self-determination ,excepted on only some of the European peoples, and no longer to the people of the islands of the archipelago (Indonesia) only to revolt and free their land, associations and political parties appeared on the scene in the aftermath of the first world war, there were about 75 Association, cramming to composition the Parliament from the islanders and share the Dutch government's management of the country.

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