Mobilizing Labour for the Global Coffee Market: Profits From an Unfree Work Regime in Colonial Java
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Mobilizing Labour for the Global Coffee Market: Profits From an Unfree Work Regime in Colonial Java

By Jan Breman
Free
Book Description

Coffee has been grown on Java for the commercial market since the early eighteenth century, when the Dutch East India Company began buying from peasant producers in the Priangan highlands. What began as a commercial transaction, however, soon became a system of compulsory production. This book shows how the Dutch East India Company mobilised land and labour, why they turned to force cultivation, and what effects the brutal system they installed had on the economy and society.

Table of Contents
  • Table of contents
    • Prologue: The need for forced labour
    • I The company as a territorial power
      • Intrusion into the hinterland
      • Retreat of princely authority
      • Territorial demarcation and hierarchical structuring
      • The Priangan highlands as a frontier
      • Clearing the land for cultivation
      • The composite peasant household
      • Higher and lower-ranking chiefs
      • Rendering servitude
      • Peasants and their lords in the early-colonial era
    • II The introduction of forced cultivation
      • A colonial mode of production
      • From free trade to forced delivery
      • The start of coffee cultivation
      • Increasing the tribute
      • Coercion and desertion
      • Indigenous management
      • Under the Company’s control
      • Tardy population growth
      • Tackling ‘cultivation delinquency’
    • III From trading company to state enterprise
      • Clashing interests
      • Failing management
      • After the fall of the VOC
      • A conservative reformer
      • Strengthening the government apparatus
      • Social restructuring
      • Stepping up corvee services
      • Sealing off the Priangan
      • The land rent system
    • IV Government regulated exploitation versus private agribusiness
      • Discovery of the village system
      • Land sale
      • In search of a new policy
      • The deregulation of coffee cultivation, except in the Priangan
      • Patching up leakage and other irregularities
      • Increasing leverage for private estates
      • The downfall of the free enterprise lobby
      • The policy dispute continues
      • Political turmoil at home
    • V Unfree labour as a condition for progress
      • Shifting coffee cultivation to gardens
      • Mobilizing labour
      • Expansion of forced labour
      • Beyond the reach of the government
      • The obligation to perform coolie labour and the need for tight surveillance
      • In search of the hidden labour reserve
      • Indispensability of the chiefs, for the time being
      • The Priangan variant as a ‘colonial constant’
      • Spreading benevolence at home and on Java
    • VI The coffee regime under the cultivation system
      • A new surge in the colonial tribute
      • Coffee and more
      • More and more coffee
      • Approaching the workfloor
      • The happiness of the innocent
      • Stagnation
      • Crisis
      • Non-compliance
    • VII Winding up the Priangan system of governance
      • ‘A system that is arbitrary, repressive and secretive’
      • Taxation, resistance and retribution
      • Cultivating coffee and growing food
      • The welfare of the people
      • Good governance
      • From protectors to exploiters
      • The reform operation
      • Release from servitude
    • VIII Eclipse of the coffee regime from the Sunda highlands
      • The dilemmas of political expediency
      • A turn for the better?
      • Impact of the reforms on the peasantry
      • Establishment of the village system
      • Shifting the onus of servitude
      • The contours of a new economic policy
      • The agrarian underclasses
    • Epilogue: Servitude as the road to progress
    • Glossary
    • List of abbreviations
    • List of illustrations
      • Color plates
        • Regional map of Priangan regencies in the early twentieth century
          • Source: F. de Haan – Priangan, vl. 1
        • Map from 1778 of the Priangan highlands under direct control ofthe VOC. The eastern regencies Sumedang and Surakarta werestill claimed by the princely state of Cirebon on the north coast.
          • Source: NA
        • Marriage procession in the Salak valley. Painting by A. Salm (1872).Colour lithograph by J.C. Greive Jr.
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • Moonlit landscape near Sumedang. Painting by A. Salm (1872).Colour lithograph by J.C. Greive Jr.
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • Posthumous portrait of H.W. Daendels by Saleh (1838). TheGovernor-General is pointing on a map to the Great Trunk Road,near Megamemdung mountain in the Priangan regencies. Theconstruction of this Jalan Pos led to the deaths of many thousandsof forced corvee labourers. P. Engelhard noted that laying thesection across this mountain alone cost the lives of 500 menrecruited from a nearby regency.
          • Source: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
        • Two drawings of the village on Java. The first shows theunregulated lay-out, as was commonly found, and the second theplanned ‘barrack’ design. The blueprint of the model village wasdesigned by Van Sevenhoven a few years after the introduction ofthe cultivation system.
          • Source: NA
        • Portrait of O. van Rees as Governor-General (1884-88)
          • Source: KITLV Collection
      • Other illustrations
        • Gaga (slash-and-burn) field of a nomadic cultivator in Jampang in the early twentieth century. The felled trees are laid out over the terrain to prevent erosion of the top soil and to terrace the hillside.
          • Source: F. de Haan – Priangan, vl. 1, p. 376
        • Sawah (irrigated rice field) in Sukabumi in the early twentieth century
          • Source: F. de Haan – Priangan, vl. I, p. 368
        • The regent of Indramaju, accompanied by a haji (drawing by Rach 1770). According to colonial archivist F. de Haan, this is the only known portrait of a regent from the VOC period. De Haan noted that the native nobility were eager to imitate the dress styl
          • Source: Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia Collection, Jakarta
        • Change of horses and pasangrahan (accommodation for travelling officials) at Cimanggis on the road from Batavia to Bogor (drawing by Rach ca. 1770-72). Behind the bushes in the left foreground, the district head of Cimanggis can be seen walking, followed
          • Source: Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia Collection, Jakarta
        • G.G. Van der Parra, seated in a palanquin on a visit to Sukahati or Heart’s Desire, the corralled residence of Bogor’s temanggung (drawing by Rach 1772). The buildings to the left are most probably sheds for storing coffee beans.
          • Source: Perpustakaan Nasional Indonesia Collection, Jakarta
        • View of Buitenzorg (Bogor) in the early 19th century
          • Source: J. Crawfurd, vl. 1, 1820
        • Pedati. From the beginning of the 19th century, these unwieldy and heavy peasant carts facilitated the transport of coffee from the hinterland to the Company’s warehouses on the coast. The introduction of the pedati brought to an end the use of pack anima
          • Source: F. de Haan – Priangan, vl. 1, p. 165
        • The Great Trunk Road with change of horses near Cianjur (photo pre-1880)
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • The Great Trunk Road at Puncak (1875). Buffalo teams stood by to help carts on the steep sections.
          • Source: F. de Haan – Priangan, vl. 1, p. 485
        • Coffee warehouse on the Citarum river. The boats waiting to be loaded are owned by a private company contracted for shipping the coffee beans to the coast (photo pre-1880).
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • Kraton of the regent in Cianjur. His residence-cum-office was destroyed by an earthquake in 1879.
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • Office of the Resident in Bandung. The seat of the Dutch colonial bureaucracy in the Priangan Regencies was initially in the Cianjur foothills but was relocated here in 1864. The building had, of course, to exceed the kraton of the regent of Bandung in ma
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • The district head of Banjaran surrounded by his retinue of servants and officials. [Banjaran lies to the south of Bandung, at the foot of the Malabar mountain.] A payung is held above the wedana’s head to demonstrate his authority (photo prior to 1880).
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • Ferry on the Citarum river near Cianjur. A Dutch civil servant is waiting with his carriage for the crossing. He is accompanied by a panghulu, a high-ranking religious official who is in charge of the district mosque (photo pre-1880).
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • A gardu (watchhouse) alongside the road on the outskirts of Batavia. Since the time of Daendel’s authoritarian rule, each village in Java had to be guarded at night by watchmen to ward off danger and raise the alarm by beating the drum hanging at the entr
          • Source: KITLV Collection
        • Wasada tea estate in the hills above Garut, owned by K.F. Holle (photo pre-1874)
          • Source: KITLV Collection
    • Archival sources
    • Index of names
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