Advertisement

The Cultivation System and its Impact on the Dutch Colonial Economy and the Indigenous Society in Nineteenth-Century Java

Chapter
Part of the Comparative Studies in Overseas History book series (CSOH, volume 6)

Abstract

The cultivation system was founded by Governor-General Johannes van den Bosch around 1830. It imposed upon the Javanese population the obligation to grow and make deliveries of coffee, sugar cane, indigo, pepper, and other export products in exchange for crop payments. These payments were not commensurate with the market value of the products or with the efforts required from the planters. In this way, the Dutch government took over the management of the Javanese export production after private entrepreneurs failed to do so before 1830. The cultivation system brought Java into the world trade system, where Dutch trade and shipping formed indispensable links. The products of the cultivation system were transported to the Netherlands on Dutch ships — a task which was entrusted to a semi-national firm, the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (Dutch Trading Company) — and sold there. The results of the cultivation system exceeded all expectations. The value of (international) exports from Java amounted to 11.3 million guilders in 1830, and in 1840, this figure rose to 66.1 million. The total weight of the exports from Java rose in this period from 36.4 to 161.7 million kilograms.1 The percentage of this export destined for Holland rose from 66 in 1830 to an average of 83 in the years from 1841 to 1850 and to more than 90 in the period after 1861.

Keywords

Cultivation System Sugar Cane Indigenous Population Sugar Industry Land Rent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References and Notes

  1. H.T. Colenbrander, Koloniale geschiedenis, (’s-Gravenhge, 1926), Vol. III.Google Scholar
  2. C. Day, The policy and administration of the Dutch in Java, (Kuala Lumpur, 1966), with an introduction by John Bastin.Google Scholar
  3. Eindrésumé, Eindrésumé van het … onderzoek naar de rechten van den inlander op den grond op Java en Madoera, (Batavia, 1876–1896), 3 Vols.Google Scholar
  4. R.E. Elson, The cultivation system and ‘Agricultural involution’, (Monash University, 1978), Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Working Papers, no. 14.Google Scholar
  5. J.W.B. Money, Java; or, how to manage a colony, (London, 1861, 2 Vols.Google Scholar
  6. N.G. Pierson, Het kultuurstelsel, (Amsterdam, 1868).Google Scholar
  7. 1.
    W.M.F. Mansvelt, Handelsstatistiek van Java 1823–1873, (Batavia, 1938), tables 6 and 12.Google Scholar
  8. 2a.
    W.M.F. Mansvelt, Geschiedenis van de Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij, (Haarlem, 1922), Vol. II, p. 312.Google Scholar
  9. 2b.
    R. Reinsma, Het verval van het Cultuurstelsel, (’s-Gravenhage, 1955), pp. 77–78.Google Scholar
  10. 3.
    Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij.Google Scholar
  11. 4a.
    C. Fasseur, Kultuurstelsel en koloniale baten. De Nederlandse exploitatie van Java 1840–1860, (Leiden, 1975), p. 118.Google Scholar
  12. 4b.
    E.B. Kielstra, De financiën van Nederlandsch-Indië, (’s-Gravenhage, 1904), p. 28.Google Scholar
  13. 5.
    R. van Niel, ‘The effect of export cultivations in nineteenth-century Java’, Modern Asian Studies, XV, 1981, pp. 40–41.Google Scholar
  14. 7.
    F. Tichelman, The social evolution of Indonesia. The Asiatic mode of production and its legacy, (The Hague, 1980), p. 124.Google Scholar
  15. 8.
    F. Tichelman, Evolution, pp. 114–115.Google Scholar
  16. 9.
    Prinsen Geerligs, Suikernijverheid, p. 12Google Scholar
  17. 10.
    G. Gonggrijp, Schets ener economische geschiedenis van Indonesië, (Haarlem, 1957), 4th ed., p. 148.Google Scholar
  18. 11.
    C. Fasseur, ‘Organisatie en sociaal-economische betekenis van de gouvernementssuikerkultuur in enkele residenties op Java omstreeks 1850’, Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, 133, 2–3, 1977, p. 279.Google Scholar
  19. 12.
    C. Fasseur, Kultuurstelsel, p. 27.Google Scholar
  20. 13.
    R.E. Elson, ‘The impact of government sugar cultivation in the Pasuruan area, East Java, during the cultivation system period’, RIMA. Review of Indonesian and Malayan affairs, XII; 1978, p. 46.Google Scholar
  21. 14.
    C. Fasseur, Organisatie, pp. 269–270.Google Scholar
  22. 15.
    R.E. Elson, Government sugar cultivation, p. 52.Google Scholar
  23. 16.
    C. Geertz, Agricultural involution. The process of ecological change in Indonesia, (Berkeley, 1963), p. 97.Google Scholar
  24. 17.
    J.S. Furnivall, Netherlands India. A study of plural economy, (Cambridge, 1939), pp. 140–141.Google Scholar
  25. 18.
    W.F. Wertheim, Indonesian society in transition, (The Hague, 1959), 2nd ed., pp. 139–141.Google Scholar
  26. 19.
    D.H. Burger, Sociologisch-economische geschiedenis van Indonesia, (Wageningen, Amsterdam, 1975), Vol. I, pp. 113–115.Google Scholar
  27. 20.
    J.I. Bakker, Patrimonialism and imperialism as factors in underdevelopment: A comparative historical sociological analysis of Java, (University of Toronto, 1979), unpublished thesis, p. 128.Google Scholar
  28. 21.
    C. Fasseur, Organisatie, p. 272.Google Scholar
  29. 22.
    R.E. Elson, Sugar and peasants. The social impact of the western sugar industry on the peasantry of the Pasuruan area, East Java, from the cultivation system to the great depression, (Monash University, 1980), unpublished thesis, p. 175.Google Scholar
  30. 23.
    R.E. Elson, Sugar and peasants, p. 177.Google Scholar
  31. 25.
    R. van Niel, Export cultivations, p. 35.Google Scholar
  32. 26.
    C. Fasseur, ‘Some remarks on the cultivation system in Java’, Acta Historiae Neerlandicae, X, 1978, p. 160.Google Scholar
  33. 28.
    C. Fasseur, Geld en geweten. Een bundel opstellen over anderhalve eeuw Nederlands bestuurin de Indonesische archipel, (’s-Gravenhage, 1980), Vol. I, p. 165, Extract from the diary of the Dutch controller, H.A.F. de Vogel, February 1856.Google Scholar
  34. 29.
    R.E. Elson, Sugar and peasants, p. 166.Google Scholar
  35. 30.
    R.E. Elson, Sugar and peasants, pp. 166–171.Google Scholar
  36. 31.
    W.R. van Hövell, Reis over Java, Madura en Bali in het midden van 1847, (Amsterdam, 1851, Vol. II, p. 145.Google Scholar
  37. 32.
    R. Reinsma, Cultuurstelsel, p. 177.Google Scholar
  38. 33.
    See J.F. Haccoû, Nederland-Indonesië. Boeiende Statistiek, (Leiden, 1947), concerning taxes on pawnshops as an indicator of prosperity. He states that wealth among the native circles was measured by the degree to which the party involved could obtain credit from the pawnshop. The more valuables owned, the more one could borrow. Increases in the pawnshop tax should, therefore, indicate more possessions owned by the indigenous population. J. Homan van der Heide had a different view (Economische studiën en critieken met betrekking tot Java, (Batavia, 1901), p. 130); he regarded taxes on pawnshops as ‘a special tax on poverty and declining prosperity’ and drew a completely contradictory conclusion from that of Hacco regarding the increases. In view of the virtually uninterrupted series of increases in pawnshop taxes between 1830 and 1865, which is indicative of a regularly increasing number of security pledges — except in the years from 1845 to 1850, when the prosperity of the population was severely depressed by a failed harvest. I prefer Haccoû’s hypothesis.Google Scholar
  39. 34.
    R. Reinsma, Cultuurstelsel, pp. 115–116.Google Scholar
  40. 36.
    E. de Waal, Aanteekeningen over koloniale onderwerpen, (’s-Gravenhage, 1865), Vol. I, p. 312.Google Scholar
  41. 37.
    ‘Runderslacht’; E. de Waal, Aanteekeningen, I, pp. 333–334.Google Scholar
  42. 38.
    E. de Waal, Aanteekeningen, I, p. 260, left-hand column.Google Scholar
  43. 39.
    E. de Waal, Aanteekeningen, I, pp. 255–258.Google Scholar
  44. 40.
    M.R. Fernando, Peasants and plantation ecomomy: the social impact of the European plantation economy in Cirebon residency from the Cultivation System to the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, (Monash University, 1983), unpublished thesis, p. i.Google Scholar
  45. 41.
    M.R. Fernando, Peasants and plantation ecomomy, p. 369.Google Scholar
  46. 45.
    B. Peper, ‘Population growth in Java in the 19th century. A new interpretation’, Population studies. A journal of demography, XXIV, 1970, pp. 71–84. Quotations from the reprint in: C. Fasseur, Geld en geweten, I, p. 151.Google Scholar
  47. 46.
    Cf. Widjojo Nitisastro, Population trends in Indonesia, (Ithaca, 1970), pp. 235–236: ‘The notion of a ‘population explosion’ in Java during the nineteenth century is thus based on questionable evidence, evidence that endeavors to show the blessings of a colonial regime by exaggerating those factors favorable to population growth. Most probably the population of the island of Java was already large long before the nineteenth century’.Google Scholar
  48. 47.
    B. Peper, Population growth, p. 142.Google Scholar
  49. 48.
    B. Peper, Population growth, p. 143.Google Scholar
  50. 49.
    B. Peper, Population growth, p. 145.Google Scholar
  51. 50.
    B. Peper, Population growth, p. 144.Google Scholar
  52. 53.
    B. White, ‘Demand for labour and population growth in colonial Java’, Human ecology, I, 1973, p. 224.Google Scholar
  53. 54.
    P. Boomgaard, ‘Female labour and population growth on nineteenth-century Java’, RIMA. Review of Indonesian and Malayan Affairs, XV, 2, 1981, p. 19.Google Scholar
  54. 55.
    M.R. Fernando, Peasants and plantation economy, pp. 366–367.Google Scholar
  55. 56.
    P. Creutzberg, ‘Paradoxical developments of a colonial system’, Papers of the Dutch-Indonesian historical conference held at Noordwijkerhout, (Leiden, Jakarta, 1978), pp. 122–123.Google Scholar
  56. 57.
    R. van Niel, ‘Measurement of change under the cultivation system in Java, 1837–1851’, Indonesia, XIV, 1972, pp. 89–109. Quotation from the reprint in Fasseur, Geld en geweten, p. 114; Van Niel assumes a factor of underreporting ranging from 72 to 75 percent of the totals for both population and cultivated land.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 58.
    Report of P. van Rees, 30 September 1844, vb. report 8-1-1857, no. 27.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht 1986

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations