The black Dutchmen : African soldiers in the Netherlands East Indies

TitleThe black Dutchmen : African soldiers in the Netherlands East Indies
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsW.M.J.van Kessel
EditorW.M.J.van Kessel
Secondary TitleMerchants, missionaries & migrants : 300 years of Dutch-Ghanaian relations
Pagination133 - 141
Date Published2002///
Publication Languageeng
Keywordscolonial armies, colonization, Ghana, Indonesia, military recruitment, Netherlands

Between 1831 and 1872 some 3,000 African recruits sailed from Elmina (Gold Coast, now Ghana) to Batavia, the capital of the Netherlands East Indies. They had been recruited to serve in the Dutch colonial army, which throughout most of the 19th century experienced a chronic shortage of European manpower. The Africans counted as part of the European contingent of the army. After expiry of their contracts, some Africans returned to the Gold Coast, while others opted to settle in the East Indies. They became the founding fathers of the Indo-African communities in the Javanese towns of Purworedjo, Semarang, Salatiga and Solo. On Java, the African soldiers and their descendants became known as 'Belanda Hitam' - black Dutchmen. This chapter outlines the background to the recruitment of Africans for the Dutch colonial army and describes three phases in the recruitment process: a slow start (1831-1836), a massive influx (1837-1841), and smaller-scale recruitment from the late 1850s onwards. After Indonesia's independence in 1949, most Indo-Africans opted for repatriation to the Netherlands. Bibliogr., ref

IR handle/ Full text URL
Citation Key2241