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Destiny

The Life of Prince Diponegoro of Yogyakarta, 1785–1855

Peter Brian Ramsay Carey

This book is a completely revised version of The Power of Prophecy; Prince Dipanagara and the End of an Old Order in Java, 1785–1855 (2007). A vivid biography of Indonesia’s foremost national hero, it tells the story of a remarkable figure whose life spanned his native Java’s troubled transition to the modern world. It will be read with profit by all those interested in the impact of European imperialism on non-European societies, the cultural encounter between West and East, the role of Islam in anti-colonial resistance, and the making of modern Indonesia. An Indonesian-language edition of Destiny has been published simultaneously by Indonesia’s leading publishing house, Penerbit Buku Kompas (Gramedia), as Takdir: Riwayat Pangeran Diponegoro (1785–1855).
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Chapter VIII: Binding on the Iron Yoke: Diponegoro, the Returned Dutch Administration and the Impoverishment of the South-Central Javanese Peasantry, 1816–1822

Extract

CHAPTER VIII

Binding on the Iron Yoke: Diponegoro, the Returned Dutch Administration and the Impoverishment of the South-Central Javanese Peasantry, 1816–1822

Squaring the Circle

The 19 August 1816 British handover of Java to the returned Dutch administration led to a doomed attempt to square the circle between economic liberalism and local interests. The new governor-general, Van der Capellen (in office 1816–26), took to heart the task of protecting the local population from foreign exploitation, noting that Dutch colonialism ‘could no longer go forward solely with an eye to making profit, but should secure the welfare of the people’ (Nieuwenhuys 1973:82). The problem was that he was nearly a century before his time.

In the years leading up to the outbreak of the Java War the balance between businessmen-speculators and early ethici1 like Van der Capellen, was firmly weighted in favour of the former. And the lead came from the very top as Raffles himself noted after meeting the new Dutch monarch, Willem I (reigned 1813–40), in July 1817: ← 169 | 170 →

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