Sailing through Suez from the South: The emergence of an Indies-Dutch migration circuit, 1815-1940

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This paper shows the importance of colonial garrisons and colonial migratory circuits in the history of European migration. During the nineteenth century the overwhelming majority of European-born migrants to the Dutch East Indies were military personnel. Rapidly decreasing mortality rates and a large influx of European military personnel in the decades of colonial wars were responsible for the remarkable growth of the European colonial population throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. As a consequence an extensive colonial-metropole migration circuit emerged. Contrary to expectations, neither the opening of the Suez Canal nor imperialist expansion resulted in a significant increase of white civilian emigration to colonial Indonesia in the late nineteenth century. Instead, sailings through Suez went north as frequently as south. It was only at a much later stage, following the end of World War I, that the tobacco and rubber plantations as well as the oil industry of the Outer Regions of the Indies archipelago generated an unprecedented demand for expatriate labor. © 2007 by the Center for Migration Studies of New York.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-536
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


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