Vol. 2, No. 3, Ryuto Shimada

Contents>> Vol. 2, No. 3

The Long-term Pattern of Maritime Trade in Java from the Late Eighteenth Century to the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Ryuto Shimada*

*島田竜登, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan

e-mail: shimada[at]l.u-tokyo.ac.jp

This article investigates the trade pattern of Java from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century from a long-term perspective. There is no comprehensive data on Javanese trade during the period in question, with information on local and regional trade being particularly scarce. To fill in the missing pieces and identify a broad trend, this paper attempts to examine data on both the late eighteenth century and the second quarter of the nineteenth century and put them together with the scattered data available on the first half of the nineteenth century.

This paper suggests, first, that while it is known that Java’s economic relations with the outside world were heavily oriented toward trade with the Netherlands, this trend began in the late eighteenth century rather than with the introduction of the Cultivation System in 1830. Second, Java’s coastal trade also began to develop in the late eighteenth century. This trade was conducted by European traders and Asian indigenous traders, including overseas Chinese traders settled in Java.

Third, trade with the Outer Islands declined in the late eighteenth century but resumed its expansion in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Fourth, intra-Asian trade with the region outside insular Southeast Asia declined in the long run, along with the decline and bankruptcy of the VOC, which had successfully engaged in this branch of intra-Asian trade since the seventeenth century.

Keywords: Java, Batavia, Dutch East India Company, VOC, Euro-Asian trade, intra-Asian trade

Introduction

Echoing the treatment of the modern period in Nicholas Tarling’s Cambridge History of Southeast Asia (1992), which begins around 1800, traditional historiography of the maritime trade of Java has also regarded the beginning of the nineteenth century as a genuine watershed. Indeed, the Dutch East India Company (Vereinigde Oost-indische Com­pagnie, hereafter VOC) was put to an end in 1799. On the other hand, we cannot disregard the fact that the rise of British powers in Asian waters, expressed in the activities of the English East India Company and British country traders, had already begun in the second half of the eighteenth century (Furber 1976; Webster 1998), together with equally vigorous activities of Asian indigenous traders such as the Bugis in Southeast Asia (Andaya 1995; Knaap and Sutherland 2004). Moreover, looking at the domestic inland economy of Java, the Dutch had begun to strengthen their political and commercial powers since the eighteenth century. For example, they began supervision of coffee cultivation in the Preangan highlands, which was to become a prototype of the so-called Cultivation System after 1830 (Breman 2010; Ohashi 2010). Meanwhile, Semarang and Surabaya, which had conducted maritime trade under the control of the Dutch since the late seventeenth century,1) became the most important ports for the Dutch colonial authorities for the development of colonial trade in the nineteenth century. Taking into consideration these background changes within and outside Java, and in accordance with Tarling’s suggestion in Cambridge History of Southeast Asia that the modern political framework had historical roots in the late eighteenth century (Tarling 1992), we can hypothesize that changes in maritime trade patterns began in the late eighteenth century rather than after the turn of the century. And it makes sense to take Java as a case study to test this hypothesis, since comparatively ample quantitative data are available there.2)

Yet there is almost no previous research that has addressed this issue from a general or broad perspective, except for two seminal works by Anthony Reid and Radin Fernando on the Melaka trade (Reid and Fernando 1996) as well as by Kaoru Sugihara in terms of general survey (Sugihara 2009). This is chiefly because of the lack of proper records for maritime trade in Java, or even in Batavia, around the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Of course, even if we lack a comprehensive set of data for this period, it is possible to compare the maritime trade of Java in the late eighteenth century with that in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, in order to delineate the longer-term trend. However, it is technically challenging to handle records for both periods for the purpose of comparison. In the eighteenth century, maritime trade in major ports of Java was recorded by the VOC. The company had several purposes for keeping records: the first was to record its own business, the second was to report on the maritime trade conducted by rival traders, and the third was to collect customs duty. On the other hand, records after 1825 were written by the Dutch colonial authorities simply in order to collect customs duty. In short, the purpose and style of records of maritime trade were quite different, so historians have hesitated to conduct an explicit comparative investigation.

The main purpose of this article is to meet this challenge by attempting a survey of Java’s maritime trade from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century, with the aim of establishing long-term trends. The methodological emphasis is on the comparative analysis between the beginning and ending decades of the period. It will be suggested that despite the stagnation during the early years of the nineteenth century, some persistent, long-term tendencies can be delineated, and that they must have been present during the crucial period of structural changes in international trade in Asia and the world as a whole.

The next two sections attempt a survey of maritime trade in the late eighteenth century. Trade by the VOC as well as non-Dutch merchants will be investigated, and some changing trends toward the nineteenth century will be identified. Then, a general observation of Java’s international trade in the second quarter of the nineteenth century will be made, with special reference to coverage of customs records. On the basis of this observation, a detailed examination of the trend shifts will be conducted by analyzing the data of three selected years: 1826, 1836, and 1846. Finally, this article will focus on the 1836 shipping record of the port of Batavia, where the patterns in Java’s coastal trade will be presented. Throughout the article, patterns of maritime trade in Java will be analyzed by distinguishing the nature of trade into several types: trade with the Netherlands, with other European countries, with insular Southeast Asia, and with other parts of Asia, as well as coastal trade.

The quantitative data shown in this article are collected from unpublished Dutch records preserved in the National Archives of Republic of Indonesia in Jakarta (Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia, ANRI), as well as from published customs records by the Dutch colonial authorities and some secondary works.

The VOC Trading Network of Batavia in the Late Eighteenth Century

Batavia was a key transit port for the trading activities of the VOC. By 1619 this port had been established as the Asian headquarters of the Dutch company, and over time the trading business in Batavia developed for the VOC as well as Asian indigenous traders.

The VOC was engaged in two types of trading business, and Batavia played a significant role in both. The first task was to conduct Euro-Asian trade. Getting a supply of precious metals from the Netherlands, the VOC purchased Asian commodities such as pepper and spices and sent them to Europe. Although major commodities for the European market changed from time to time, Batavia remained the key transit port in this trade throughout the two centuries in which the VOC operated. Ships coming from the Netherlands first arrived at Batavia, and then precious metals were reshipped to Dutch trading posts scattered around maritime Asia, while products from Asian trading posts were collected at Batavia for dispatch to the Dutch Republic (Shimada 2006, 131–135). Sometimes direct trade was conducted—for example, Chinese tea was exported from Guangzhou directly to the Dutch Republic without passing through Batavia in 1729–34 and 1757–94 (Liu 2007, 3–5)—but this was an exception rather than the rule.3)

Located at the crossroads of multi-shipping lines of the VOC in Asia, Batavia was also a transit port in the intra-Asian trade. First of all, it was the collection point for products from the Indonesian Archipelago such as pepper, cloves, nutmeg, sugar, and tin. Second, Batavia was the transit port for intra-Asian maritime trade on a much larger scale, such as that between Japan and South Asia. In regard to this latter kind of intra-Asian trade, Batavia had become more important than Melaka by 1715. That year, the Japanese central government issued a new act to restrict Dutch trade and permitted only two Dutch trading vessels per year. Before then, the VOC sent four or five vessels a year to Japan, and these vessels went from Japan to South Asian ports via Melaka, not via Batavia, since the major market for Japanese copper was in South Asia. However, due to this new Japanese act, the Dutch had to use larger vessels for the Japan trade, and when they departed from Nagasaki they had to go to Batavia, where Japanese products such as copper were reshipped to South Asia (Shimada 2006, 17–21). At this time Batavia became literally the pivot for the larger-scale intra-Asian trade, conducting direct shipping with Dutch trading posts in almost all of maritime Asia from Japan to Arabia.

Nevertheless, in the late eighteenth century the nature of the VOC trade changed. Table 1 indicates annual average values of the import and export trade in each trading area of the VOC in Java. The Dutch company had four trading areas in Java: Batavia, Banten, Cirebon, and Semarang. Each area sometimes managed several sub-ports. The Semarang area, for example, had Surabaya as a sub-port; and the trading data of Semarang in the table include the trade of Surabaya as well. Among the four trading areas, Batavia had a different role from the other three. The other areas were engaged only in coastal trade with Batavia, while Batavia conducted intra-Asian trade as well as Euro-Asian trade. Therefore, the export and import values in Banten, Cirebon, and Semarang are included in the data of export and import values of Batavia. This is why we need to examine only the data of Batavia if we want to get the shares of Java’s intra-Asian trade (including coastal trade) and Java’s Euro-Asian trade by the VOC.

Table 1 Imports and Exports of Java by the VOC, 1771–90 (Fl.)

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Given the above context, the reading of this table makes it clear that for the VOC in Java, intra-Asian trade, including coastal trade, was more important than Euro-Asian trade, since the total value of the former amounted to 9,801,600 guilders in the 1770s and 8,443,300 guilders around 1790, although the absolute total value of the latter trade rose from 6,871,900 guilders in the 1770s to 7,135,300 guilders around 1790. In addition, the value of the Dutch coastal trade in Java can be easily calculated, because they were simply the sum of the trade values of the three areas other than Batavia. Hence, we can estimate that the Dutch coastal trade values in Java were 1,396,000 guilders in the 1770s and 2,699,400 guilders around 1790. This means that the Dutch trade with the outside of Java was more important than the Dutch coastal trade in Java. However, coastal trade became more important around 1790, as a result of the decline in VOC trade with the outside of Java due to the Dutch defeat in the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War between 1780 and 1784.

Non-Dutch Trading Network in Batavia in the Late Eighteenth Century

Beyond the scope of the VOC, Batavia was also a significant place for European and indigenous Asian maritime traders. European traders and expeditions called at Batavia not only for trade but also to repair their vessels. For instance, Captain James Cook’s expedition arrived at Batavia in 1770 for ship repair. Batavia had a shipyard, especially designed for repairs, on the island of Onrust in the Bay of Batavia. In fact, the vessels commanded by Captain Cook were repaired on Onrust Island. Captain Cook’s words about this shipyard were as follows:

I must say that I do not believe that there is a marine yard in the world where work is done with more alertness than here, or where there are better conveniences for heaving ships down both in point of safety and despatch. Here they heave down by two masts, which is not now practised by the English; but I hold it to be much safer and more expeditious than by heaving down by one mast. (Beaglehole 1955, 438)

Although British country traders used this port for the purpose of trading, the most important non-Dutch Europeans there were Portuguese traders. Portuguese merchants based in Asian port cities such as Macau and Ayutthaya visited Batavia for trade: Portuguese ships from Macau, for example, brought Chinese tea to Batavia for reexport by the Dutch to the Netherlands (Souza 1986, 134–151).

Much more important non-Dutch traders for the Batavian trade were Asian traders, such as Chinese and Indonesians. According to Leonard Blussé, Chinese junks called at Batavia from Xiamen (Amoy) and other ports on the southern Chinese coast. Chinese junks numbered around 5 to 18 per year between 1681 and 1793 (Blussé 1986, 123), and they carried products such as tea and porcelain to Batavia. Indeed, before the VOC succeeded in obtaining permission to trade regularly in Guangzhou and the VOC established a direct link with China for the tea trade in 1729 (Liu 2007, 3), the Chinese junk trade in Batavia, together with the Portuguese trade between Macau and Batavia, was a highly important means for the Dutch to procure Chinese products. In addition to Chinese products, these junks transported Chinese immigrants who worked as manual laborers in the city as well as on the plantations and sugar mills in the suburban areas of Batavia.

Indonesian traders were also engaged in the trade in Batavia. Gerrit J. Knaap investigated coastal trade on the Javanese coast around 1775. Based on Dutch shipping records in the 15 ports on the northwestern coast of Java, he demonstrated the significance of the coastal trade by indigenous traders such as those from China, Java, Malaya, and Sulawesi, as well as Europe (Knaap 1996, 66). A key merchandise for them was Javanese rice, and several other items such as oil, gambier, fish, and textiles were also traded within the framework of this coastal trade. Batavia, for instance, imported rice and palm sugar. While Batavia’s suburban areas were busily engaged in producing sugar for export to Europe, Batavia had to import Javanese coconut sugar and rice for urban and suburban consumption by indigenous people. Indeed, Batavia imported no less than 102,170 pikuls of rice through non-Dutch traders and at least 105,250 pikuls of rice through the VOC on an annual average (1 pikul=approximately 60 kg) (ibid., 214–217).

Table 2 demonstrates the shipping network of Batavia, which was realized by non-Dutch traders in the years 1770 and 1790. In this table, “Java and Madura” indicates the annual number of arrivals of non-Dutch vessels from the ports in Java and Madura. “Other Eastern Archipelago” shows the number of vessels from ports outside of Java and Madura in insular Southeast Asia such as Ambon and Melaka, while “Other Southeast Asia” gives the number of ships from Siam and Cambodia. “Other Asia” shows ships from places in Asia but outside Southeast Asia, such as Japan, China, and Coromandel. It should be noted that unlike in Table 1, we do not have any information on the volumes and values of trade, just the number of vessels.

Table 2 Non-Dutch Vessels Arriving at Batavia in 1770 and 1790

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In regard to Table 2 and its original sources, we can observe the following points. First, in terms of the number of vessels, it is obvious that the coastal trade in Java by non-Dutch traders was an important trade for the port of Batavia, as annually more than 200 vessels arrived at Batavia from Java and Madura. Among the ports in Java and Madura, important ports for trade with Batavia were Rembang (71 vessels in 1770 and 37 in 1790) and Pekalongang (33 in 1770 and 52 in 1790). These ports are relatively close to Batavia in terms of geography. Second, the share of trade with insular Southeast Asia (“Other Eastern Archipelago” in the table) was also high, and in insular Southeast Asia, Makassar, which was a base port for Bugis traders, was the most important (31 in 1770 and 20 in 1790). Third, compared to trade within insular Southeast Asia, non-Dutch trade with ports in mainland Southeast Asia was small and even showed a decline: from 19 vessels in 1770 (13 from Siam and 6 from Cambodia) to 4 vessels in 1790 (all from Siam). Fourth, the non-Dutch trade with regions outside of Southeast Asia was also small. In the year 1770, two vessels from Macau came to Batavia, two from Xiamen, two from Guangzhou, one from Bengal, and one from Coromandel. In 1790 there were two vessels from Macau, two from Guangzhou, and three from Coromandel.4)

In this sense, Batavia was clearly a key hub-port in Asian waters not only for the VOC but also for non-Dutch traders. However, the character of this port changed during the late eighteenth century. Prior to then, the VOC had been the sole player in Euro-Asian trade. It had also been a key trader with the outside of Java, particularly with areas outside of insular Southeast Asia. Yet it became much more heavily involved in Javanese coastal trade in the late eighteenth century, while it lost its comparative advantage in the Asian trade with the outside of Java among the total trading business of the VOC. With the VOC’s development in Javanese coastal trade, non-Dutch merchants’ shipping also developed in the coastal trade in Java and in the trade with insular Southeast Asia.

Overview of the International Trade of Java and Madura from 1825 to 1850

Java’s maritime trade during the first quarter of the nineteenth century is not well understood, due to the lack of availability of proper quantitative data. Nevertheless, it is generally assumed that Java’s maritime trade stagnated during the time of Governor-General Herman Willem Daendels in 1808–11 and his successor Jan Willem Janssens in 1811, as well as the years of British occupation between 1811 and 1816. During the time of ­Daendels and Janssens, the Dutch in Batavia were busy preparing for possible war against the British. During the years of British occupation, the British colonial government was engaged in domestic work rather than international trade (De Klerck 1975, Vol. 2, 13–27; Elson 1984, 6–7). On the other hand, it is possible that non-Dutch merchants were heavily engaged in maritime trade, particularly in coastal trade, during the period from 1808 to 1816. US vessels were also heavily engaged in intra-Asian trade, replacing Dutch vessels, and the Java trade was no exception. American traders participated in maritime activities in Asian waters after the American Revolution (Blussé 2008, 60–66). By contrast, the VOC in Batavia faced several problems conducting long-distance trade in Asian waters, due to possible attacks by the British—even before the collapse of the VOC in 1799. This situation was created by the invasion of Revolutionary France into the Dutch Republic since 1794 and then the establishment of the Dutch Batavian Republic in 1795 under strong French influence. During this time of war, vessels under the flag of neutral countries such as the United States were lifelines for Batavia. In fact, the VOC in ­Batavia hired US vessels to conduct intra-Asian trade. In the case of Dutch trade with Japan, the Dutch High Government of Batavia (Hoge Regering) sent 18 trading vessels to Japan during the 17 years between 1795 and 1811. Among these 18 vessels, only three belonged to the Dutch authorities in Batavia; the others were all chartered private ships—10 American, 3 Dutch, 1 Bremer, and 1 Danish (Kanai 1986, 237; Shimada 2011, 37).

While it is difficult to obtain the whole picture of the maritime trade of Batavia and Java during this period, except for the fact that US vessels played an important role, it is certain that international trade recovered after the return of Java to the Dutch in 1816, since the customs duty revenue rose (Korthals Altes 1991, 13). In the light of difficulties with research on the first quarter of the nineteenth century, we propose to look at the data after 1825 and compare the period after 1825 with the late eighteenth century in order to examine the long-term trends in Java’s maritime trade. This is because quantitative trade data can be obtained from the annual aggregated customs records in the ports on the islands of Java and Madura for the period after 1825.5)

The number of ports for international trade in Java and Madura amounted to 22 in 1836 (see Table 3) (Directeur van ’s Lands Middelen en Domeinen 1837). The Dutch colonial authorities classified them into three divisions according to their geographical location. Ceringin, Banten, Batavia, Indramayu, and Cirebon in West Java belonged to the first division. In 1836 the revenue from customs duty from the import and export trade that the Dutch colonial authorities pocketed in Java and Madura amounted to 4,080,154 guilders. Approximately 66 percent of this revenue was obtained in the ports in this first division, although the revenue obtained in Batavia accounted for 63.1 percent of the total revenue in Java and Madura while Cirebon’s share was 1.8 percent and the other ports’ shares were much smaller.

Table 3 Customs Revenues in Java and Madura in 1836 (Fl.)

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The second division consisted of seven ports: Tegal, Pekalongang, Semarang, Japara, Juwana, Rembang, and Tuban on the northeastern coast of Java. Among them Semarang had the largest revenue, accounting for about 17.8 percent of the total revenue in Java and Madura, while Pekalongang’s share amounted to 2.3 percent and each of the other ports accounted for less than 1 percent. On the other hand, the 10 ports in East Java and the islands of Madura and Bawean under the third division collected 12.4 percent of the total customs revenue in Java and Madura. Surabaya was the largest port in this division (6.7 percent of the total), followed by Pasuruan (3.5 percent) and Gresik (1.1 percent). The other ports in the third division were Probolinggo, Besuki, Panarukan, Banyuwangi, Sumanap, Pamekasan, and Bawean, and their shares were very small.

To sum up, Batavia was the major port in Java and Madura, and the Dutch authorities obtained more than half their total customs revenues from this port. Semarang, Surabaya, and Pasuruan were next in importance, although the share of these ports was very small compared to Batavia. The other ports in Java and Madura were not so important in terms of “international trade,” that is, trade outside the two islands. However, this does not mean that these ports were less important in coastal trade in Java and Madura, as customs records were drawn just for collecting customs duty in the import and export trade and do not contain data on domestic transactions, including coastal trade in Java. We know that these ports were busily engaged in coastal trade in Java in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, and this echoes the state of affairs shown in the survey of coastal trade in the second half of the eighteenth century. Keeping these points in mind, we shall conduct detailed examinations of the international trade of Java and Madura for the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

Figs. 1, 2, and 3 indicate general trends in the total commodity trade and the commodity trade with the Netherlands in Java and Madura in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Fig. 1 shows the commodity export trade from Java and Madura. The largest change was the sharp increase in export trade in the 1830s. During the second half of the 1820s, the Dutch colonial government spent huge resources on the Java War, which began with the revolt by Prince Diponegoro. The war was carried out mainly in Central and East Java and ended in 1830 with the Dutch victory, which enabled the Dutch to introduce the Cultivation System from 1830, in order to supply crops, such as sugar, for the market in the Netherlands. As a result of the system’s success, exports to the homeland became very large in scale. For example, Java exported 6,686,746 ­guilders’ worth of coffee, 213,689 guilders’ worth of powder sugar, and 33,084 guilders’ worth of indigo in 1825–27 on annual average, while it exported 13,692,403 guilders’ worth of coffee, 16,293,259 guilders’ worth of powder sugar, and 3,469,160 guilders’ worth of indigo in 1848–50 (Bruijn Kops 1858, Vol. 2, 120, 132, 186). After this sharp rise in the 1830s, however, commodity exports declined slightly in the 1840s, as market conditions in the Netherlands were affected by the oversupply of colonial products.

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Fig. 1 Commodity Exports from Java and Madura, 1825–50 (Total Trade [bold line] and Trade with the Netherlands [fine line]) (Fl.)
Source: Bruijn Kops (1858).

The commodity import trade is shown in Fig. 2. The most remarkable point in this figure is that the import values were somewhat smaller than figures for the export trade. Exports grew rapidly during the 1830s, while import growth was not so significant. ­During this period, the major import from the Netherlands was cotton textiles. On annual average, 828,169 guilders’ worth of cotton textiles was imported to Java from the Nether­lands in 1825–28 and 5,049,857 guilders’ worth in 1848–50 (Bruijn Kops 1858, Vol. 1, 42). Yet, the Dutch industry in this sector was not very well developed. Thus, a huge amount of bullion had to be sent to Java from the Netherlands to pay for colonial crops. Indeed, large amounts of high-quality British cotton textiles were imported into Java, especially from the mid-1820s to the mid-1830s, although Dutch textile imports also grew around 1830 and after the mid-1830s (Kraan 1996, 52–56; Houben 2002b, 69–70).

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Fig. 2 Commodity Imports into Java and Madura, 1825–50 (Total Trade [bold line] and Trade with the Nether­lands [fine line]) (Fl.)
Source: Bruijn Kops (1858).

When looking at Fig. 3, differences in the characteristics between export and import trade are much clearer. This figure shows the shares of the Netherlands in the total export and import trade. The export trade definitely depended upon exports to the Netherlands. In fact, the shares rose from approximately 50 percent in 1825 to approximately 70 percent in the mid-nineteenth century. On the other hand, in the case of the import trade, the dependence on the Netherlands was not so high. The homeland shares actually fluctuated between 20 percent and 40 percent. This difference was partly because some cotton textiles were imported from Britain into Java and also because the share of the import trade with insular Southeast Asia had been high since the eighteenth century.

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Fig. 3 Shares of Commodity Trade with the Netherlands, 1825–50 (%)
Source: Bruijn Kops (1858).

Comparison of International Trade in 1826, 1836, and 1846

Which areas and countries did Java establish strong links with in international trade? This point will be investigated in greater detail. In general, trading links with Europe became stronger. Trade with the Eastern Archipelago went up a bit. On the other hand, trade with other Asian regions declined in relative terms.

This trend is demonstrated in Table 4, which shows the geographical composition of commodity exports and imports in Java and Madura. First, without a question, growth of trade with the Netherlands was remarkable. In the export trade, the absolute value increased more than four times between 1826 and 1846, with the share reaching around 70 percent. In addition, Java’s trade with European countries also increased. Non-Dutch European countries’ shares rose from 3.9 percent to 9.2 percent in the export trade and from 13.7 percent to 24.2 percent in the import trade during the two decades. Britain’s share in the import trade in particular grew, from 10.5 percent in 1826 to 20.2 percent in 1846, in spite of the fact that non-Dutch vessels had to pay import duty at higher rates (Knaap 1989, 18).

Table 4 Commodity Exports and Imports in Java and Madura in 1826, 1836, and 1846

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The second important point in Table 4 concerns trade with the Eastern Archipelago (insular Southeast Asia except for Manila). Certainly, the shares declined in both export and import trade. However, the absolute values increased greatly, from 3,214,108 guilders in 1826 to 8,679,238 guilders in 1846 in the case of export trade and from 3,083,218 guilders in 1826 to 7,058,373 guilders in 1846 in the import trade. The growth rates in trade with the Eastern Archipelago were much higher than those in trade with other parts of Asia, as analyzed later. Regarding the export trade with the Eastern Archipelago, major export items were cotton textiles (increased from 445,982 guilders’ worth of ­Javanese textiles, 309,523 guilders’ worth of European textiles, and 148,308 guilders’ worth of South Asian textiles in 1828–30 to 694,827 guilders’ worth of Javanese textiles, 1,652,812 guilders’ worth of European textiles, and 30,796 guilders’ worth of South Asian textiles in 1848–50 on annual average), rice (from 832,274 guilders to 1,097,002 guilders) and tobacco (from 361,894 guilders to 466,712 guilders) (Bruijn Kops 1858, Vol. 2, 263, 288, 379, 411, 424). By and large, trade with insular Southeast Asia increased in absolute terms while experiencing a comparative decline.

Third, a decline can be observed in trade with Southeast Asia outside the Eastern Archipelago (that is, Siam, Cochinchina, and Manila) and with Asia outside Southeast Asia (that is, the Persian Gulf, Bengal, Coromandel, Malabar, Ceylon, China, Macau, and Japan). Between 1826 and 1846, the share of export trade decreased from 17 percent to 3.7 percent and the share of import trade decreased from 13.8 percent to 7 percent. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the VOC in Batavia was very good at handling this type of intra-Asian trade. For example, South Asian cotton textiles were supplied by the VOC to insular Southeast Asia; Javanese sugar was delivered by the Dutch to Iran, South Asia, and Japan; and tin produced in Bangka and pepper from the Eastern Archipelago were reshipped to China from Batavia by the Dutch company.6) Hence, the decline in share of trade with these countries was a serious change, even though the comparative decline had already been observed in the late eighteenth century, as mentioned before. However, it should be not that the absolute value of exports declined only slightly from 2,178,772 guilders in 1826 to 2,099,455 guilders in 1846, and in the case of import trade, the value rose from 1,419,005 guilders to 1,882,784 guilders. The decline was of a comparative nature.

Shipping at Batavia in 1836

Finally, the coastal trade of Java in the second quarter of the nineteenth century will be examined by consulting a shipping record of the port of Batavia. As mentioned earlier, published customs records refer to the aggregated statistics of total international trade in the ports in Java and Madura; they do not contain any information on coastal trade between the ports in Java and Madura. Moreover, published customs records do not have any trade data for specific ports. Even in the case of the port of Batavia, we do not have any information on total shipping numbers or any data from published sources about maritime trade. On the other hand, the National Archives of the Republic of Indonesia preserves highly valuable manuscript sources, which provide all the arrival and departure shipping data. This source contains each ship’s flag nationality, tonnage, arrival or departure date, the name of the captain, the name of the port from which the vessel departed for Batavia, and the vessel’s destination after Batavia in the years 1834 and 1836. Following is an analysis of the data for the year 1836, mainly using the above-mentioned record.7)

Since its establishment in the early seventeenth century, Batavia was a multiethnic colonial city. For example, in 1836, Batavia (including the suburban area, or ommelanden) had 264,313 inhabitants. Among them were only 3,339 European citizens, including mestizo (this ethnic category covers Christians and Jews). Indigenous people such as the Javanese, Sundanese, Bugis, and Malays amounted to 223,311, while there were 34,549 Chinese, 448 Arabs and Moren (Muslims of Indian origin), and 2,666 slaves.8) Although Westerners, Chinese, Arabs, and Moren were small in number and were minorities, they had important roles in commercial business and maritime trade in Batavia (Abeyasekere 1987, 60–64; Riddell 2001, 116–117).

Table 5 classifies the vessels that arrived at or departed from Batavia in 1836 according to the nationality of their flag. In terms of number of vessels, the dominant share definitely went to the Dutch. They were followed by the Americans, British, and French. It might seem strange that only one Chinese vessel called at Batavia and that there were no insular Southeast Asian indigenous ships on the list, in spite of the fact that, as already mentioned in this article, there was active coastal trade in Java. Certainly, there was only one junk from mainland China during this year, but Chinese and indigenous vessels that had their bases in Java were classified as Dutch vessels. This is why the average tonnage per Dutch vessel was relatively small compared to American and other European vessels.

Table 5 Shipping at Batavia According to Flag Nationality in 1836

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In order to avoid any misunderstanding about the nature of Dutch flag ships in the analysis of Table 5, Table 6 divides Dutch vessels according to the names of their captains (Chinese captains, captains with Islamic names, European captains, and others). The vessels are further classified according to their ports of embarkation. This shows that, first, some Dutch flag vessels were Asian traders’ ships, perhaps based in Java. In terms of the number of vessels, 108 vessels had Chinese captains and 122 had captains with Islamic names—although it is impossible to recognize whether these Muslim traders were Javanese, Bugis, Balinese, Arabs, or something else. Second, in terms of tonnage, the majority were Dutch vessels with European captains, and only they had a connection with the Netherlands.

Table 6 Dutch Flag Ships Arriving at Batavia in 1836

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Table 7 shows the embarkation ports of ships arriving at Batavia in 1836. Among the 852 vessels, 419 came from ports in Java and Madura. Vessels from Semarang (96 vessels and 31,214 tons) took the largest share in Java, followed by Indramayu (75 vessels and 13,021 tons), Surabaya (66 vessels and 24,251 tons), and Cirebon (62 vessels and 10,924 tons). With regard to per ship tonnage, larger vessels were used for trade with ports far from Batavia, which means that indigenous traders tended to be engaged in trade with ports near Batavia while Western merchants were engaged in coastal trade with Javanese ports far from Batavia. Because of the continuous development of the coastal trade from the late eighteenth century, plenty of Javanese products were sent to Batavia via the coastal trade. However, around 1836 Batavia managed to become an exporter of rice. While Batavia’s net imports of rice were 4,382 koyans in 1828 and 1,552 koyans in 1829, they were 14,405 koyans in 1838 and 9,709 koyans in 1844 (1 koyan=approximately 1,380 kg).9) This reflects the fact that in relative terms Batavia concentrated on the production of rice rather than sugar, while eastern Java specialized in sugar production at the time of the Cultivation System.

Table 7 Ships Arriving at Batavia in 1836

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Table 7-Continued

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Table 7-Continued

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Trade with the Eastern Archipelago, as defined in this article, consisted of trade with the Outer Islands and Singapore. Singapore, Riouw, Palembang, and Banda were among the more important, each exceeding 2,000 tons. Regarding other parts of Asia, China was slightly significant in terms of tonnage as seen in Table 7, although Table 4 shows the share of the China trade was exceptionally high in terms of value. Yet, the shares of Japan and India were very small. Meanwhile, with regard to the Western world, Amsterdam took 11.2 percent of the total in terms of tonnage. It was followed by Rotter­dam (9.6 percent), Boston (4.0 percent), and Liverpool (3.2 percent). These ports were linked with cotton textile exports to the Dutch East Indies.

Conclusion

This article investigated the trade pattern of Java from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century from a long-term perspective. Its initial purpose was to examine what happened to the maritime trade of Java during the so-called watershed period, which was the beginning of the nineteenth century. This research examined the long-term trend along several dimensions, by asking what conditions prevailed from the eighteenth century, what conditions in the early modern period were discontinued, and what conditions were established during the period from the late eighteenth century to the second quarter of the nineteenth century. The period in question lacks a comprehensive set of data on Javanese trade, with information on local and regional trade being particularly scarce. To fill in the missing pieces and identify a broad trend, the paper attempted to examine data on both the late eighteenth century and the second quarter of the nineteenth century, and, by putting them together with the scattered data available on the first half of the nineteenth century such as business by American traders in Asian waters, suggested the following patterns.

First, while the well-known trend that Java’s economic relations with the outside world were heavily oriented toward trade with the Netherlands is confirmed, it is suggested that this trend began in the late eighteenth century rather than as a result of the introduction of the Cultivation System. Second, Java’s coastal trade also began to develop in the late eighteenth century. This trade was conducted by European traders and Asian indigenous traders, including overseas Chinese traders settled in Java.

Third, trade with the Outer Islands declined in the late eighteenth century but resumed its expansion in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Fourth, intra-Asian trade with the region outside insular Southeast Asia declined in the long run, along with the decline and bankruptcy of the VOC, which had successfully engaged in this branch of intra-Asian trade since the seventeenth century. Although US vessels helped in wartime around the turn of the century, Java’s intra-Asian trade with areas outside of insular Southeast Asia did not grow in relative importance after Java was returned to the Dutch authorities, which preferred Java to have stronger links with the Netherlands and the Outer Islands rather than with South Asia and Japan.

Accepted: August 19, 2013

References

Primary Sources
Arsip Nasional Republik Indonesia (ANRI)

Arsip Batavia
1/2: Algemeen jaarlijksch verslag van den staat der Hoofd Baljuwage Batavia 1828/1829 [General annual report of the State of the Chief Taskmaster in Batavia 1828/1829].
2/2: Algemeen verslag 1839/1844 [General report 1839/1844].
338.3: Haven -Department Batavia- Register der in- en uitgeklaarde schepen en vaartuigen gedurende het jaar 1836 [Ports: Department of Batavia: Register of incoming and outgoing ships and vessels during the year 1836].
_: Bijlage 1: Staat der bevolking in de residentie Batavia over de jaren 1833, 1834, 1835 en 1836 [Appendix 1: State of the population in the residency of Batavia over the years 1833, 1834, 1835, and 1836].

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Directeur der Middelen en Domeinen. 1847. Verslag van den handel, de scheepvaart en de inkomende en uitgaande regten op Java en Madura over den jaar 1846 [Report of the trade, the shipping and the import and export duties in Java and Madura over the year 1846]. Batavia: Lands-drukkerij.

Directeur van ’s Lands Middelen en Domeinen. 1837. Verslag van den handel, de scheepvaart alsmede van de inkomende en uitgaande regten op Java en Madura over den jaar 1836 [Report of the trade, the shipping together with import and export duties in Java and Madura over the year 1836]. Batavia: Lands Drukkerij.

―. 1828. Verslag van den handel, scheepvaart en inkomende en uitgaande regten op Java en Madura in het jaar 1826 [Report of the trade, shipping and import and export duties in Java and Madura in the year 1826]. Batavia: Lands Drukkerij.

Knaap, Gerrit J. 1989. Changing Economy in Indonesia, Vol. 9: Transport 1819–1940. Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute.

Korthals Altes, W. L. 1991. Changing Economy in Indonesia, Vol. 12a: General Trade Statistics 1822–1940. Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute.

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1) The VOC had strengthened its power in Semarang since the 1680s, and Surabaya fell under the VOC in 1743 (Jacobs 2006, 237–239).

2) Not only the history of maritime trade in Java, but also economic history in general has been written with the assumption that the beginning of the nineteenth century was the watershed, and the eighteenth century has been regarded as part of the pre-modern period, although recent research has found some changing elements in the second half of the eighteenth century. Vincent Houben (2002a) is an example of this trend.

3) In the case of return shipping from Asian ports to the Dutch Republic, in 1670–1770 108 vessels were from Batavia and 25 from other Asian ports, but the share of ships from Batavia declined in the course of time. In fact, in 1770–80 only 129 vessels went back from Batavia and 115 vessels were from other Asian ports (Gaastra 2003, 115).

4) ANRI: Hoge Regering 2627, 2597, Dagregister Batavia 1770 and 1790.

5) The Dutch colonial authorities published annual customs records such as Directeur van ’s Lands Middelen en Domeinen (1828; 1837) and Directeur der Middelen en Domeinen (1847). Based on these annual publications, Bruijn Kops (1858) offers the useful two-volume digest of the statistics of international trade between 1825 and 1856.

6) The VOC in Batavia reshipped Asian products on annual averages between September 1771 and August 1773 as follows: cotton textile, 463,700 guilders to Asian regions and 194,100 guilders to the Netherlands; sugar, 292,400 guilders to Asian regions and 55,900 guilders to the Netherlands; tin, 684,700 guilders to Asian regions and 65,000 guilders to the Netherlands; pepper, 209,100 guilders to Asian regions and 570,100 guilders to the Netherlands (Jacobs 2006, 338, 350).

7) ANRI: Batavia 338.3: Haven -Department Batavia- Register der in- en uitgeklaarde schepen en vaartuigen gedurende het jaar 1836.

8) ANRI: Batavia 338.3: Bijlage 1: Staat der bevolking in de residentie Batavia over de jaren 1833, 1834, 1835 en 1836.

9) ANRI: Batavia 1/2: Algemeen jaarlijksch verslag van den staat der Hoofd Baljuwage Batavia 1828/1829; Batavia 2/2: Algemeen verslag1839/1844.

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