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Java, 1830–1900

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In 1830 the truly colonial period of Javanese history began. For the first time, the Dutch were in a position to exploit and control the whole of the island, and there was not to be any serious challenge to their dominance until the twentieth century. Their position was, however, a curious one. For over 200 years they had been involved in Java, and for over 150 years directly involved in the interior. The Java War had been their last great investment of men and money in the struggle for hegemony. In 1830, political dominance throughout Java was at last achieved, but on balance this effort had been a financial failure. If there was profit to be had out of involvement in Central and East Java, for over two centuries no one had succeeded in extracting it, except for the benefit of individuals who corruptly acquired personal fortunes. Only the coffee plantations of Priangan (West Java) had ever looked like being consistently profitable ventures. But in Central and East Java, profits had been wiped out by military and administrative overheads. The question which therefore faced the Dutch in 1830 was whether the dominance they had at last achieved could be made profitable.

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© 1993 M. C. Ricklefs

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Ricklefs, M.C. (1993). Java, 1830–1900. In: A History of Modern Indonesia since c. 1300. Palgrave, London.

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-333-57690-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-349-22700-6

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