III.4 Wars, Resistance and Opposition

How important was Western military technology and organization to the Asian-European interaction? In comparison with the European wars and crises of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, for instance the thirteen-year War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the military actions of the European merchant-warriors in Asia seem almost trivial. But owing to their far better military equipment, knowledge and drill, small numbers of European soldiers could make a difference in a battle. Besides, in the divided world of small Asian states, it was always possible to find an ally among local kings.

What form did anti-colonial resistance take? In many sources resistance, like Surapati’s uprising in 1686 in south-central Java, appears to be a local and sometimes even regional phenomenon. Wider resistance came from prominent political Muslim leaders such as Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa of Banten (reigned 1651-1683) who promoted the Ummah Islam, a supra-regional and highly political community of believers. Some of their letters have been preserved and reveal their intentions and motivations.

Complaints lodged by the inhabitants of Hunut on the island of Ambon, 14 July 1695

Introduced: Gerrit J. Knaap
Release Date: Sept. 8, 2013