Malaya and Its History

By Sir Richard Winstedt | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
THE DUTCH AT MALACCA

IN the seven years after 1595 no fewer than 65 Dutch ships visited Eastern waters. Then in 1602 the Netherlands, compelling the amalgamation of several smaller companies, gave a monopoly to its famous East India Company, with permission to make settlements and conclude treaties in the name of the government. When a Governor-General was appointed, he lived first in the Moluccas, the spice islands, until in 1619 Jan Pieterszoon Coen, conquering Jakatra in Java, chose Batavia for the Company's capital.

From early days the Dutch company had two objects: to destroy the trade of her competitor, Portugal, on sea, and to capture Malacca, the rival of Batavia for the commerce of the Malay archipelago and the Far East.

As early as 1603 Goa, seat of Portugal's Viceroy, was complaining that the Dutch had seized one of its ships voyaging from San Tomé to Malacca, three or four more ships taking money to Bengal, and off Johore the Santa Catharina, richest carrack that had ever left China. The cargo of the Santa Catharina was sold at Amsterdam for more than 3,500,000 guilders, and today the Dutch still term the thinnest and finest china "carrack porcelain" after this prize. Early in 1605 another carrack was captured off Patani, the St. Anthony, with a cargo of 120 tons of sugar, 268 tons of tin, 223 fardels of Chinese camphor, 90 fardels of agilawood, 18 leaden boxes of musk balls, 11 boxes of vermilion, 22 boxes of Chinese fans, 209 fardels of raw silk and 75 of yellow silk, 6000 pieces of patterned porcelain, 10 casks of porcelain coarse and fine, some gilded couches, benzoin, velvet, woven silk, damask, taffeta and boxes of gold wire. By 1635 the Dutch were intercepting all Portugal's ships, and the trade of Malacca was ruined.

For the capture of Malacca as well as for trade the Dutch, tolerant of Islam and indifferent to all but commerce, tried to keep on good terms with Johore and Acheh. In the very first

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