On this day, October 9, 1740, Dutch colonists began massacring ethnic Chinese in Batavia, eventually killing 10,000 and leading to a two-year-long war throughout Java.
The Java War, as its called, was a result of systematic repression of Chinese Indonesians by the Dutch colonists. On October 7, sugar mill workers rebelled and killed approximately 50 Dutch soldiers, Governor Adriaan Valckenier then declared a curfew and confiscated weapon from among the Chinese population. Two days later, rumours of Chinese atrocities led other Batavian ethnic groups to burn Chinese houses along Besar Stream and Dutch soldiers to fire cannon at Chinese homes. The violence soon spread throughout Batavia, killing more Chinese. Outside the city walls, clashes continued between Dutch troops and rioting sugar mill workers. After several weeks of minor skirmishes, Dutch-led troops assaulted Chinese strongholds in sugar mills throughout the area. The following year, attacks on ethnic Chinese throughout Java sparked the two-year Java War that pitted ethnic Chinese and Javanese forces against Dutch troops. Valckenier was later recalled to the Netherlands and charged with crimes related to the massacre.
Thomas E. Keefe
Assistant Professor of Humanities,