6th Session Paper Presentations

Fourth TANAP Conference in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The sixth session on Wednesday morning was devoted to Trade Relations. In particular Sher Banu Khan's paper on Aceh offered a new perspective. It showed how Aceh made a deliberate choice to take an independent stand when the VOC developed plans to conquer Melaka from the Portuguese. Prof. T. Ibrahim Alfian gave a thorough comment on Sher Banu's paper.

Prof. Nira Wickramasinghe commented on Alicia's analysis of Dutch and British policy towards the kingdom of Kandy in Sri Lanka during the period 1780-1815. Her combined study of Dutch and British source material not only revealed certain continuities in Dutch and British policy in this period of transition, but also placed the fall of the Kandyan kingdom in 1815 in a new perspective.  Prof. Wickramasinghe's comments were mostly of a general nature. She suggested that more attention could be paid to the language used in the sources to describe the Kandyan kingdom, to better grasp the Dutch and British perception of the Kandyan affairs. In connection with this she stated that it would be useful to discuss more in dept the ideology behind the Dutch and the British policies on the islands.

LIU Yong presented his analysis on the contributions of the High Government of Batavia to the VOC's direct China trade as well as her benefits from such a trade in the later half of the eighteenth century, and consequently got into a conclusion that as far as her role in the China trade is concerned; the High Government was both a great contributor and a poor beneficiary. Commentator Ms. Widya Nayti suggested Mr. LIU to check further on archives about how much profit the High Government obtained during the period under study.

In the session on Asian-European Trade Relations, Shimada Ryuto presented the final outcome of his analyses on Japanese copper, which will be soon published in his PhD thesis.

Dr. Lodewijk Wagenaar presented the paper written by Chris Nierstrasz on the private trade to Batavia after the reforms of Governor-general Van Imhoff, and opened up the discussion on a subject which historians always have found hard to tackle: private trade of VOC employees. Dr. Wagenaar stressed that this research will shed light on the grey area were private trade and corruption meet, by the use of private sources different then the VOC-archives. VOC employees enriching themselves in Asia was seen by many contemporary observers and later history writers as one of the main reasons of the demise of the VOC. Some Indonesians even think that they learned corruption from the Dutch, as one member in the audience said, quite a na�ve point of view when looking at Javanese leadership at that time. According to Nierstrasz., Van Eck never lost sight of the interests of the Company, as his career depended on this organization.

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