Lombok under the Mataram Dynasty, 1839–94

  • Alfons van der Kraan
Part of the Studies in the Economies of East and South-East Asia book series (SEESEA)


In 1839, after a period of strife between rival Balinese descent-groups, Lombok was united under the Mataram dynasty. Thus began a long period of political stability for the island, a period in which Lombok developed into the most orderly, the richest and certainly the most powerful independent state of the nineteenth century Eastern archipelago. Unlike the stereotypes of colonial historiography, Mataram Lombok was not a despotic, isolationist and stagnant kingdom. Instead, it was a state in which the level of surplus appropriation was low compared to what it was to become in the colonial era; a state which was open to international trade and sought to promote the export of agricultural products, especially rice and tobacco; a state, also, which experienced considerable economic expansion expressed primarily in population growth (from about 300,000 in 1839 to about 550,000 in 1894), and in the extension of irrigation and of the arable land area. In 1894, however, Mataram Lombok became involved in a military confrontation with the Netherlands Indies government, a confrontation which, after initial Balinese successes, ended in the destruction of the court, the virtual annihilation of the 30,000-strong Balinese community and Lombok’s incorporation into the Netherlands Indies.


International Trade Land Rent Arable Land Area Dutch Colonial Rice Export 
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© Anthony Reid 1997

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  • Alfons van der Kraan

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