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Title: Estates and plantations in Java, 1812-1834
Author: Knight, G. R.
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1968
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In the early nineteenth century there was a great deal of discussion in Dutch colonial circles as to the role which might be played by private European landowners and planters in the exploitation of Java's resources. Until the end of Dutch East India Company rule in 1808 there were few private estates owned by Europeans and few private European planters operating in the colony. However, large-scale land sales between 1808 and 1813, a more permissive attitude towards the settlement of European planters, and the high price paid for colonial produce on the European market at the close of the Napoleonic wars combined to alter this situation in a radical fashion. By the eighteen twenties private European landowners and planters were engaged in growing coffee, sugar and indigo, and there appeared to be a prospect that their efforts would provide the answer to the need of the Dutch colonial authorities to make Java productive of exportable produce. However, many of these private ventures ran into difficulties. In the case of coffee, the European landowners and planters encountered a formidable rival in the Indies government, which ran extensive coffee plantations itself, and which saw its position threatened by private competition. In the case of sugar and indigo, it was falling prices and a shortage of both capital and labour which combined to undermine the commercial basis of such ventures. By 1830 the private estates of West Java had largely gone over to growing rice for sale in the island itself. In the East Java littoral European planters continued to grow sugar and indigo for the export-market, but were faced with increasing difficulties. There is room for a variety of opinion here, but it may at least be suggested that they were only able to stay in business because of the help which they received from the Indies government and from the semi-official Netherlands Trading Society, It was against this background that in 1830 the government itself began to organise the large-scale production of exportable produce. The private estates and plantations, temporarily at least, moved into the background.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral