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Last updated: Monday, August 9, 2010

Europeans in the history of Bali 1

Spices are the major motivation that is behind the Exploration Age. The craze for the spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace and pepper induced the British, Spanish, Portuguese and the Dutch to explore towards the areas that had rich source spices. There were so many middlemen, Chinese, Malays and Arabs to sell these spices. The profit margin was 60,000%. We can easily compare the spices with the latest petroleum.

The route maps were not available in those periods to reach the spice islands of Indonesia. Indian Ocean was considered as a dangerous avenue, along with the trouble of the pirates on the way. Hundreds of trials were made to reach their destination, but they met various difficulties. In the 16th century, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British East India Company entered the islands one by one.

In 1699, the spice marketing complete control went in the hands of the Dutch, for the subsequent 2 centuries. Until the visit of Cornelis de Houtnan of Holland, in 1597, Bali was not included in the European map. He was impressed by the elegance of the Bali Island and its women. Due to the demand in the number of workers for crafts and agriculture, the Dutch East India Company encouraged slave trade. And they concurrently made contracts, to deliver slaves with ferocity, through the Balinese rulers. During 17th century, Bali exported nearly 2,000 slaves, every year. This relatively lead to 14,249 slaves existed in Batavia, among the population numbered 47,217. Slaves were sold in open market and auctions. In the early period of 19th century, these slaves were employed as domestic servants, preparing food, ironing, etc. in 1859, this slavery system was abolished.

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