“Founder” of Jakarta Chinatown
Adriaan Valckenier was born into a privileged Dutch family in 1695. At the age of only 19, he became an assistant buyer (onderkoopman) for the Dutch East India Company and stationed in Batavia on what we will call expat package today. 23 years later at the age of 42, he became the Governor General in 1737.
It is at this point in his life that his actions caused great suffering to tens of thousands and eventually himself leading to his “founding” of Jakarta Chinatown.
Adriaan Valckenier, the elite
Colonies are the peripherals that produce for the economic interests of the core. As new colonies open up and production increases in variety and quantity, condition in one colony can cause repercussions around the world.
To develop the Dutch interest in today’s Indonesia, the Dutch had encouraged ethnic Chinese migration to Batavia. They supply labour for infrastructure development and as players in the trade.
The start of Adriaan’s governorship coincided with the collapse of global sugar trade. The labours in Batavia’s sugar plantation become unemployed and turned desperate with hunger. The Dutch authority decided to transfer surplus labour to other Dutch colonies where labour could be redeployed.
However, this decision was announced in climate of distrust between the Dutch authorities and Chinese community and also amid the native population’s jealousy and resentment of Chinese wealth.
1740 Batavia massacre; Dutch Chinezenmoord, Indonesian Geger Pacinan
Rumours began circulating of murders on the voyages and even of passengers being thrown overboard. This mistrust and fear led to the first confrontations resulting in the death of 50 Dutch soldiers on 7 Nov 1740.
The Dutch authorities responded with a curfew within the city, and confiscation of objects that might be used as a weapon and forbade Chinese to light candles.
Valckenier ordered a series of Chinese attacks that resulted in up to 10 000 deaths including women, children and even the elderly.
Their houses were also raided, looted and destroyed. The Dutch attack motivated the native populations to embark on their attack and looting. There was even a reward for every Chinese head collected.
When the violence was eventually squashed on 22 Nov 1740, the Chinese were expelled out of Batavia city and relocated to Goldok. Valckenier thus “founded” Jakatra Chinatown.
Karma strikes: Adriaan Valckenier, the prisoner
Valckenier’s Chinese policy was challenged by Gustaaf Willem van Imhoff, an aristocrat in Batavia and former Governor of Ceylon. Valckenier’s respond was to arrest and deport van Imhoff back to the Netherlands.
Unfortunately for Valckenier, Van Imhoff managed to defend himself and was sent back to Batavia as the new Governor-General replacing himself. Valckenier was arrested on his way back to Netherlands and returned to Batavia as a prisoner.
In March 1744, Valckenier was handed the death sentence and died as a prisoner on 20 June 1751 while appealing his sentence.
Founding of Jakatra Chinatown
Valckenier’s actions led to death and misery of many and with a twist of fate, he “founded” Jakatra Chinatown.
The 1740 Chinese Massacre that he is forever linked to seem to have casted a ghostly spell on Chinese in Indonesia who suffered several other waves of ethnic attacks as recent as 1988.