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Riot in 1740

The Southeast Asian Chinese dominated trading had shown that Chinese junks landed on the coastal area of Java. Blusse’s dissertation has a complete presentation on the case of Batavia and her partner Amoy in south China. Those junk landed in the coastal area of Central and east Java would probably not much different to those landed in Batavia.

Due to the Chinese massacre in Batavia 1740, the Chinese escaped from the calamity to other Chinese settlement in central and East Java. As consequence they also brought political changes in the interior of the island. The massacre up rose war between the Chinese, supported by the indigenous princes, and the Dutch. Johannes Theodorus Vermeulen wrote the Chinese in Batavia in the tragedy of 1740 in Batavia. He constructed the process of the riots, urban change with a historical background of the massacre. The writing analyzes the political point of view and clearly shows the social condition of the city at that time. The Chinese community inside the wall of Batavia who did not involve in the rebellion, became the victim. The Dutch attacked their houses and hospital; and burn their settlement at West side Kali Besar, Roa Malaka (Vermeulen 1938: 76).

The rebellion was wide spread until Central and East Java. In Semarang the Chinese were massacred by a madoerese Prince who work for the Dutch. A cross check to the old map of Semarang it is true that in the city the Chinese settlement at the east bank of Semarang river was burned and they were removed into a camp at the west. In Gresik around 400 Chinese were killed (Vermeulen 1938: 88).

Leonard Blusse’s writing on the Chinese show that without them Batavia, and other cities, would not be built. Not only the construction of buildings and infrastructure was contracted by the Dutch to the Chinese, but also they hold all part of urban economic on which urban life should stand on it (Blusse, 1986: 74-75). Blusse's thesis on the Chinese of early Batavia shows that the Chinese predominate over the urban population. Since the native of Batavia had left for Banten, there were only the Chinese, Dutch and other minority group. The Dutch men who came to Batavia tended not to stay for life. After they gained a lot of money they went home. On the other hand, the Chinese tended to stay and married Balinese slave, built their family in the city. Hence Blusse called Batavia as a Chinese colonial town (Blusse 1986: 80-81). Not only inside the city wall did the Chinese have role in the development, outside the city wall, the Chinese pioneered the opening of agricultural land.

Beside their role in the urban development, the Chinese also had a big role in the rural area. As early as the mid of 17th century they open the sugar plantation at the outside of the city wall of Batavia. According to Blusse, there were 79 Chinese, 4 Dutchmen, and 1 Javanese entrepreneurs in the ommelanden of Batavia. Blusse mentioned that there were also Chinese who avoided landing in Batavia to get rid of the quota installed by the Dutch. They landed in other city of the northern coast Java. After 1740 the Dutch located them in the Chinese camp, Glodok, which is called in Javanese as Pecinan (Chinese quarter).

The history of the Chinese massacre in 1740 inspired a novel “The Sun over Batavia” by Chen Ming-Sien and published in this website.

Chinese Messacre infront of city hall of Batavia old Jakarta
Riot infront of the Batavia city hall