Anglo-Dutch War in Java (1811)
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Netherlands vs Great Britain
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Java
DECLARATION: No formal declaration
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Control over Southeast
Asian colonies and their rich trade in spices, tobacco,
teak, and other commodities
OUTCOME: The Dutch ceded Java, Sumatra, and Macassar
to the British.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
TREATIES: Capitulation of Semarang, September 17, 1811
By the end of the 17th century the Dutch had established
both economic and political control over Indonesia,
including Java. No serious challenge was brought against
them until 1810, when Napoleon’s (1769–1821) conquest
of the Netherlands weakened Dutch colonial authority,
and, in response, the British East India Company launched
an impressive conquest of French and Dutch holdings.
Led by the governor general of India, Gilbert Elliot of
Minto (1751–1814), the British fleet attacked Java at the
port city of Batavia in August 1811. The Dutch governor
general, Herman Willem Daendels (1762–1818), had
anticipated the attack. He withstood the onslaught for
more than a month but was finally forced to surrender on
September 17 at Semarang. The defeat, recorded in the
Capitulation of Semarang, resulted in the Dutch cession of
Java, Sumatra, and Macassar to the British.
In 1816 Great Britain ceded Java back to the Netherlands
in return for Dutch assistance at the Battle of Waterloo
(see HUNDRED DAYS’ WAR), which resulted in the final
exile of Napoleon.
Further reading: Mark T. Hodcer, The History of Holland
(Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999); Patrick J. N.
Tuck, The East India Company (New York: Routledge, 1998).