Being "Dutch" in the Indies: A History of Creolisation and Empire, 1500-1920

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By Remco Raben and Ulbe Bosma, Translated by Wendie Shaffer

Being "Dutch" in the Indies portrays Dutch colonial territories in Asia not as mere societies under foreign occupation but rather as a Creole empire . Most of colonial society, up to the highest levels, consisted of people of mixed Dutch and Asian descent who were born in the Indies and considered it their home, but were legally Dutch. They played a major role in the plantation industry, commerce, local government and even early anti-colonial nationalism. The old world came to an end after World War I, when people born in Europe began to dominate government and business, and Indonesian nationalism rejected the Creole notion of imperial belonging.

In telling the story of the Creole empire, the authors draw on government archives, newspapers and literary works as well as genealogical studies that follow the fortunes of individual families over several generations. They also critically analyse theories relating to culturally and racially mixed communities. The picture of the Indies they develop shatters conventional understandings of colonial rule in Asia.

Ulbe Bosma is senior researcher at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.

Remco Raben is senior researcher in Asian history at the Netherlands
Institute for War Documentation in Amsterdam and teaches history at Utrecht University.

Wendie Shaffer has worked as a translator in the Netherlands since 1971, concentrating on historical studies.


Publication Year: 2007
458 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-373-2, Paperback

NUS Press