Since the reign of lieutenant governor-general Stamford Raffles (1811-1816) British trading interests had been firmly established in colonial Indonesia. The establishment of the cultivation system in Java by the Dutch colonial government in 1830 was an attempt to bring the potentially rich colony under economic control of the Dutch. It is also considered to be a departure from the principles of economic liberalism and a phase in which private entrepreneurs were barred from the emerging plantation economy. On the basis of census data and immigration records, and with reference to recent literature on the development of nineteenth century sugar industry, this article argues that British trading houses that were present in Java in the early nineteenth century continued to play an important role in the development of the production of tropical products in Java. They also attracted a modest influx of British technicians to manage the estates. The article proposes to consider the state Cultivation System and private enterprise not as mutually exclusive categories but as complementary factors in making the Java cane sugar industry the second largest in the world after Cuba.
|Journal||Tijdschrift voor Sociale en Economische Geschiedenis|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|