Skip directly to content

10. Mirror of Life in Batavia

The streets in Tigers Canal was Batavian city life mirror in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the canal houses of the Europan was beyond the prestige of the house in the other canals. The trees and luxury houses was built more superior than houses in the rest of the city. Its position made these streets the traffic artery between the two main squares of the city, stadhuis and castle. Two streets flanking Tiger Canal were in the shade of tamarind trees and walnuts.

Here people used a white vest, long sleeves, and " mosquito pants " at dusk. People mostly used night clothes while chatting with neighbors. While sitting with bronze spittoon for spitting, they spoke in Portuguese mixed with Malay about the reception held the noble on Monday. Among these people there was a European woman, who just arrived from the Netherlands, and had not changed the habit to wore European evening clothes to sarong and kebaya. In addition, for the elegant houses were not guarded by the night watchman of ordinary citizens. For those who sit on the Indies council, their house should be guarded by soldiers who brought military salute.

Here the seller of gelatin and noodles set the greasy kitchen on a street corner, near the slaves house. In 1667 when the rector of the Latin School was Drs. Augustine, there was a scream from behind one of the houses ..... gosh-my God! Like a character of theater Van Hogendorp kraspoekoel about slavery. A slave made a mistake which was then beaten. But his scream was drowned out by the sound of one of European soldier, dressed as German travelers Barchewitz in blue clothes uniform embroidered with gold, with a white feather in his hat, coachman pistol in the holster, carbine along the saddle. The Chinese traders klontong, Javanese and Madurese porters, water sellers, male and female slaves from across the archipelago, stood at the canal side, or sitting quietly crouched on a rock jetty. They looked to the soldier walking up on expensive horse of the Persian or Arabic, the horses pulled the gilded cart contain members of the Indies Council. The procession came out into the street, preceded by runners who were armed with long bamboo to pave the way for carriages driven by European coachman.

Behind the Tiger canal, down to the crocodile canal, in the brown water canal, female slaves were bathing, with sarong covering their body, and squeeze their black hair, they were spattering cheerfully. Tigers and crocodiles (buaya) had long been gone, but greedy women chaser (buaya darat), were around to prey on these slaves

The Bathing Female Slave in Crocodile Canal
The Bathing Female Slave in Crocodile Canal