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Taiwan Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 6 (2):3-42(2009)
“Illicit Trade” in South Sumatra: Local Society’s Response to Trade Expansion, C. 1760-1800
Atsushi OTA* Abstract
Recent studies have emphasized the expansion of maritime trade in eighteenth-century Southeast Asia and the decline of the Melaka Strait region in the 1780s. These scholars discuss the decline of state centers, but local society developed differently from the centers. The local society of the Lampung region in South Sumatra, the largest pepper-producing region in eighteenth-century Asia, was placed under the weak control of the sultan of Banten and his overlord the Dutch East India Company, but showed strong vitality from c.1760-1800. Although Bugis, Malay, and other raiders frequently attacked cargo ships authorized by the Banten Sultan, the local elites in Lampung sold their pepper to Chinese and other unauthorized traders. These traders created trade networks in Lampung to exchange local products for the China market and imported commodities. While many ordinary people suffered from raiders’ plundering, some local elites and pepper cultivators benefited from these types of business. Banten Sultan and the Dutch gradually lost their control over Lampung, while the British obtained large amount of pepper from Lampung, via cooperation with local elites in Lampung, Chinese traders, and even Asian raiders. This is how Lampung was incorporated into the expanding Sino-Southeast Asian trade.
Keywords: Lampung, piracy, trade, Banten, Dutch, British, Chinese, Bugis, Malay
The author is currently Assistant Research Fellow at the Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies (CAPAS), Academia Sinica. Email: email@example.com Received: Aug. 31, 2009; Accepted: Oct. 5, 2009
南蘇門答臘的「非法貿易」 ： 在地社會對貿易擴張之回應，1760－1800 年
近年來的研究強調航海貿易在十八世紀時於東南亞的擴張，以及 1780 年代馬六甲海峽區域的衰微。這些學者多討論國家中心的衰退，但是當地 社會卻有著不同於前者的發展。南蘇門答臘楠榜地區的在地社會是十八世 紀時亞洲最大的胡椒產地，它被置於萬丹蘇丹與其統治者─荷蘭東印度公 司的微弱控制之下，但它卻在 1760－1800 年代間展現出強大的生命力。 雖然武吉斯人、馬來人和其他劫掠者經常攻擊蘇丹所授權的貨船，楠榜當 地精英仍販賣他們的胡椒給華人和其他未被授權的商人。這些商人在楠榜 創造了貿易網絡，以當地產品跟中國市場及進口商品做交換。當許多老百 姓受苦於劫掠者的搶奪時，部分的當地精英與胡椒種植者卻從這各式的生 意中獲利。當英國人經由與楠榜當地精英、華裔商人甚至亞洲劫掠者的合 作，而從楠榜取得大量的胡椒時，萬丹和荷蘭人也就逐漸失去了他們對楠 榜的掌控。這即是楠榜如何被結合進擴張的中國－東南亞貿易的過程。
Recent studies have emphasized the expansion of the maritime trade in eighteenth-century Southeast Asia, criticizing the conventional view, which characterized the states and maritime trade in the same period as “in decline” and “fragmented.”1 Works holding this view, which was dominant until the early 1990s, discussed the decline of the VOC and the collapse of powerful kingdoms such as Melaka and Makassar. Recent studies, on the other hand, have emphasized the role of Asian traders, who were not necessarily strongly connected to states. Some scholars, discussing the increase of the junk trade, have styled the eighteenth century in the South China Sea a “Chinese century” (Blussé 1999; Reid 1997, 2004).2 Others, focusing on the expansion of the Bugis trade network,3 called the eighteenth century in Malay Waters “the Bugis period” (Andaya and Andaya 2001: 83). In contrast to the dynamics of Asian traders, scholars have agreed that the role of European actors during the same period was not impressive. They consider the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to have been in the process of gradual withdrawal to its heartland in the Indonesian Archipelago after 1760 (Jacobs 2006: 282). As for the British trade, the consensus is that they did not link their resources to the existing trade networks in the archipelago until they established a foothold in Penang in 1786 (Blussé 1999: 12). This does not mean that Chinese and Bugis traders were active in different
This view is typified in such standard texts as The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia (Kathirithamby-Wells 1993: 602-605). There were, however, scholars holding different views. Noteworthy among them are J. C. van Leur who discussed the continuity of Asian trade (1983 ) and Wang Gungwu who emphasized the role of Chinese trade in Southeast Asia (1991, 2004). For the historiographical review of eighteenth-century Southeast Asia and criticisms to it, see Blussé 1999 and Wyatt 1998. The two scholars use the term “Chinese century” slightly differently. Reid styled the period 1740-1840 as such, while Blussé discusses the period after the lift of Chinese maritime ban in 1683 to the British establishment of Singapore in 1819. The Bugis is a designation of a few ethnic groups that originated in South Sulawesi. After the conquest by the Dutch East India Company of their places of origin in the 1660s, large numbers of them took refuge in many places in insular Southeast Asia, including Riau where the capital of the kingdom of Johor was located (Andaya 1995).
spaces, nor does it imply that these two groups overwhelmed European and other Asian traders. Many different groups of traders conducted their business in the same locations in an overlapping way, either in a cooperative or competitive manner. Since the particular features of such cooperation and competition, and the patterns of trade varied geographically, scholars have discussed them in various parts of Southeast Asia in their regional contexts. Taking as an example the Melaka Strait region (this is taken in this paper as the coastal region across the Strait down to South Sumatra), one of the core regions in the maritime trade in Southeast Asia, scholars have intensively discussed patterns of trade, and the strategies that states employed to manage that trade (Vos 1993, Lewis 1995; Andaya 1997; Kathirithamby-Wells 1997; Barnard 2003). However, what is yet to be studied is how stateless peoples and local society responded to the changing circumstances created by the developments of trade. Stateless traders, local elites, and ordinary cultivators acted quite differently from states, and their actions had a considerable impact on the ebb and flow of European powers. This paper attempts to discuss how stateless peoples and local society responded to the changing economic and political circumstances during the period from 1760 to 1800 in and around Lampung, a region in South Sumatra placed under the authority of the sultan of Banten in West Java in the sixteenth century. I focus on Lampung because it was the largest pepper-producing region in Asia throughout the eighteenth century (Ota 2006: 17-18, 25), and therefore it had been a place where strong dynamism was going on among various actors such as local elites, neighboring states, as well as Asian and European traders in order to control the pepper delivery. I begin my examination in 1760 when British traders began to exert their influence. In
all types of trade conducted outside the Dutch monopoly. which was authorized in the treaty concluded in 1684 between the sultan of Banten. and how their interaction impacted the emergence of Anglo-Chinese trade cooperation and the decline of Dutch influence. This type of business was. smokkelhandel in Dutch). not willingly acceptable or even not justifiable for ordinary traders and cultivators. “piracy” (zeeroverij).” that is. I end my study in 1800 because Lampung pepper lost its prominence around this time due to the skyrocketing increase of pepper production in Aceh (Bulbeck et al. largely in order to collect pepper either in a violent forceful way or in a friendly manner based on a mutual agreement. Nevertheless. which became the overlord of the Banten sultan. different from the connotations in the . 1998: 66). The original terms in my primary sources equivalent to “illicit trade” are “smuggling” (sluikerij. Likewise. Chinese. and other Asian and British traders frequented Lampung especially in the period in question. This paper focuses on “illicit trade. and the VOC. Bugis. The authorities – the VOC and the sultan of Banten in this case – allowed only authorized local traders to conduct trade on the condition that they sell particular commodities exclusively to the authorities at fixed prices.TJSEAS 7 this way this paper challenges the above-mentioned established view that the British involvement in the trade in the Melaka Strait region began with the British establishment of Penang in 1786. the ruler of Lampung. In this paper I avoid these terms so as not to reproduce the bias of authorities. I will discuss how the interaction between such foreign traders or raiders and local people was linked to developments in the maritime trade in the Melaka Strait region as well as in Southeast Asia as a whole. in many cases. or when it involved violence.
TJSEAS 8 European term “piracy. The region gradually came under the control of the sultanate of Banten in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. or Lampung people. they sometimes invited outside power holders to intervene (Ota 2006: 14-16. and in most cases were not conducted by full-time professionals. For these reasons I use the term “illicit trade” to refer to all the above-mentioned unauthorized activities. who spoke the Lampung language with some dialectical differences. I refer to actions taken under threat or use of violence and those who conducted such actions respectively as “raiding (or raid)” and “raiders” (not “pirates”). In fact many of them were traders or fishermen who occasionally used violence or threat of violence for their trade. The Sultanate of Banten. 109-115). which makes it difficult to divide their activities into violent and non-violent ones. The inhabitants were called the Orang Lampung. unless I particularly emphasize the authorities’ point of view. 83-92.” violent actions in the Melaka Strait region were not very politically motivated. Lampung and the Maritime Trade Eighteenth-Century Melaka Strait Region in the The early history of Lampung is not well known. established by an Islamic teacher from North Sumatra in the 1520s. but instead were strongly market-oriented. This sort of situation would have been the background of its rather peaceful annexation to Banten in previous centuries. In order to pacify or to gain an upper hand in their incessant conflicts. . In the eighteenth century Lampung was divided under a number of local headmen who wielded power over dispersed settlements. Likewise. rapidly developed into a powerful kingdom during the sixteenth century.
The liberalization and institutionalization of Chinese overseas trade. spurred a bitter rivalry with the VOC. The destruction of the Chinese community 4 The capital of the sultanate was established on the existing port town called Banten Hilir (Downstream Banten in Sundanese). The VOC made every effort to induce junks to visit Dutch Melaka and Batavia. but Chinese traders preferred “free ports” outside the Dutch sphere of influence because they disliked the higher prices and complicated regulations in the Dutch ports. The Dutch maritime trading system. The prosperity of Banten. where traders flocked from East Africa. The VOC obtained the status of the overlord of the sultanate and the monopoly right in the trade of important commodities including pepper. often in return for military assistance. stipulating that the VOC would retain the right of monopoly in important export products such as spices. and Japan in order to buy and sell their commodities. was unstable from the outset. Southeast Asia. Banten struggled fiercely with the VOC through both military campaigns and commercial competition throughout the most of the seventeenth century. China. India. Pepper from Lampung was one of the important items traded by these international traders. . however. or 下港 in Chinese texts. which had been trying to set up its exclusive trading system ever since the establishment of its headquarters in Batavia in 1619. however.TJSEAS 9 Its capital Kota Banten4 grew into an international trade hub. but it finally fell under the influence of the VOC in 1684 as a result of the latter’s intervention in a civil war. and concluded treaties with a number of local rulers. Persia. as a result of the Qing Dynasty’s lifting of its earlier restrictions on overseas trade in 1683 brought a boom of junk trade heading for Southeast Asian ports. The VOC conquered several major entrepôts in Southeast Asia such as Melaka.
country traders are distinguished from private traders. used for rituals and craftworks. Private traders were the commanders and officers on the EIC ships who carried out the trade between England and China and between India and China under license from the EIC (Pritchard 1936: 142). the VOC launched the China Commission in 1756 in order to encourage trade in Canton. However these two groups are not distinguished in both Dutch sources and previous studies. They soon found new types of Southeast Asian commodities that were becoming widely popular in Chinese society during the strong economy of the Qianlong reign: tin. and other European countries. as a result of the large-scale Dutch massacre of the Chinese population in 1740. and edible maritime products like sea cucumber. . British country traders had also significantly increased the Canton trade since the 1760s (Pritchard 1936: 142. Swedes.5 The EIC rapidly increased its China trade with the establishment of the “Canton System” in 1760 (Pritchard 1936: 113-141. further discouraged junks from calling at Batavia. this paper refers to country traders including private traders. China tea became a boom commodity in the expanding urban populations in the Netherlands. the Danes. Another important factor behind this decision was the growing Euro-China trade in the mid-eighteenth century. In the eighteenth century. French. Country traders were Englishmen residing in India and native Indian merchants who conducted trade between India and China under the English flag under license from the EIC. the only port in Qing China open to Western traders. In English sources. Seeing that tea was steadily reaping higher profits in Europe.TJSEAS 10 in Batavia. Zhuang 1993: 1-30). Acquiring these commodities in Southeast Asia now became an important part of their 5 6 Apart from these three groups. among others – avidly attempted their regular trade in Canton. 184-185. they looked for alternative commodities in order to stop the outflow of the precious metal.6 Although Europeans traditionally used silver for their trade in China. food materials such as pepper and birds’ nests. 299-301). 174). England. 170. and Prussians also joined in the Canton trade (Wisset 1802: II. In a similar move. other Europeans – the English East India Company (EIC) and British country traders. Dermigny 1964: IV. Under these circumstances the Dutch decided to expand their China trade by sending their ships directly to China. Following this way.
Several states emerged in response to the activities of Chinese and British country traders in search of Southeast Asian products outside the VOC sphere of influence. while Bugis traders collected the maritime products from all over the archipelago. and silk. These traded items indicate how Riau functioned as a hub to collect Southeast Asian products for the China market. while Chinese junks brought tea. ironmongery. who had escaped their motherland in South Sulawesi after their war with the VOC in the 1760s. and China (Lewis 1995: 85-96. tin. soon followed it.TJSEAS 11 business in order to facilitate their tea trade in Canton. Bugis migrants. ceramics. and contributed to the prosperity of Riau and the establishment of a new trade network connecting India. became the most important trading port in the Melaka Strait region in the 1760s. Vos 1993: 121-125). In exchange these Chinese and British country traders carried the Southeast Asian . south of Singapore. Southeast Asia. The first was Sulu. southwest of the Philippine Islands. Although Johor was a Malay kingdom descending from the Kingdom of Melaka. the five most important trade items in Riau were pepper. opium. The growing demand for Southeast Asian products in China in turn impacted the states and maritime trade in Southeast Asia. and Riau. the capital of the sultanate of Johor. The Bugis occupied the hereditary position of viceroy in the sultanate. increased their influence in Riau through their fighting skills and trading network to collect maritime products from the eastern part of the archipelago. Riau. Tin came from Bangka and the Malay Peninsula. According to the VOC governor Pieter Gerardus de Bruijn in Melaka (1775-1788). English country traders brought opium and arms. and Chinese products. Indian textiles.
After relocating to the Sulu Islands in the late 1760s. Apart from the Chinese and Bugis networks that I mentioned at the beginning. recent studies have revealed various new dynamics in the maritime trade in eighteenth-century Southeast Asia. Siam. Illanun. Trocki 1979: 17-25. Aceh. and Cochin China brought rice and food stuffs. Scholars agree that its prosperity never came back and the surrounding waters fell into decline and confusion. Lanun) is an ethnic group that originated in central Mindanao. the Iranun trade network centered on the Sulu Islands continued to prosper until the mid-nineteenth century (Warren 2002). However. in 1784 the Dutch Navy invaded Riau and successfully subjugated the sultanate. they conducted regular piratical raids covering almost the entire Malay Archipelago. The decline of the trade centered on Riau is well in concert with the before-mentioned conventional “decline” theory on eighteenth-century Southeast Asia. 156). traders from Java. Gambier cultivated in Riau was also an important trade item for which to exchange rice from Java (Lewis 1970: 116-118. and compelled the sultan to drive out the Bugis from Riau. Annam. I follow the spelling by Warren (Warren 1981: 149.8 Bangkok and 7 8 In addition. Sultan Mahmud was forced to sign an insulting treaty which allowed the Dutch troops to station in Riau. However.7 The continuous growth of Riau as a “free port. abandoned by large part of the residents and foreign traders during the warfare. The Iranun (also Ilanun. Vos 1993: 121-125). Sultan Mahmud continued his fights. Lewis 1995: 87-88. Finally. because it was undermining the Dutch trading system seriously. . depopulated Riau ceased to function as a commercial hub. More and more local traders called at Riau attracted by higher prices and popular products brought by British and Chinese traders. neglecting the monopoly treaties that the VOC concluded with their rulers. Cambodia. plagued by rampant piracy until the British establishment of Singapore in 1819 (Trocki 1979: 26-27. Bali. Vos 1993: 179-182). Bugis traders went to Java in order to exchange their opium and Indian textiles for rice. annoyed the Dutch. which were always in demand in Riau and in Malay coastal towns. Borneo. and successfully expelled the Dutch from 1787 to 1795.” however.TJSEAS 12 products from Riau to Canton.
Scholarly works that discussed the history of eighteenth-century Lampung were strongly ideologically biased. On the other hand. and kept strong trade relations with Singapore well into the nineteenth century. Kielstra 1915: 246-247. Broersma 1916: 24-30). on whose records colonial scholars . Köhler 1874: 125-126. In any case. spurred on by their hostility to Dutch colonialism (Bukri et al. Taking these developments into consideration. It is obvious that colonial studies justified the Dutch rule by emphasizing the evil effects of “smuggling” and “pirates. Reid concluded that the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries experienced a noticeable expansion in maritime trade in Southeast Asia (Reid 2004). and others. Köhler 1916: 8-9. Lingga. and their suffering even increased because of rampant plundering by Asian pirates after VOC control weakened because of the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-84) (Canne 1862: 516-518. a post-independence handbook on the local history of Lampung published by the local office of the Department of Education and Culture stated that various groups of people fought against the Dutch throughout the eighteenth century. Do these developments mean that the Melaka Strait region became a backwater in the midst of the growing Southeast Asian trade? What happened to the traders and the region that had been linked to the trade network centered on Riau after the fall of Riau? I discuss these issues in the case of Lampung. and Bugis “seamen” (pelaut) sympathetic to the sultanate of Banten attacked VOC ships in cooperation with the rulers of Riau. it is true that VOC authorities. 1997/1998: 69-71). Colonial studies stated that Lampung suffered from the smuggling perpetrated by Palembang and English traders.” while the post-independence work was colored with a strong anti-colonial sentiment (Note that the author avoided the term “pirates” to the Bugis).TJSEAS 13 Saigon became new centers of junk trade after the 1780s.
a considerable part of the Lampung pepper was “smuggled” to third parties because of the weak control. Lampung quickly became a strategically important region for the VOC because of its pepper. 25). After the VOC became Banten’s overlord in 1684. the sultan appointed the agents in important pepper-producing areas and pepper-sending ports. were especially anxious about “smuggling” and “piracy.” which were noticeable problematic phenomena for the authorities in eighteenth-century Lampung. Nevertheless. Banten’s control of local society was rather limited and the procurement of pepper was always extremely difficult (Ota 2006: 51-53). and by appointing the local headmen as his representatives. due to the lack of resources. In order to ascertain the pepper procurement. The sultanate (mostly Lampung) supplied forty to eighty percent of all the pepper that the VOC purchased in Asia throughout the eighteenth century (Ota 2006: 17-18. Illicit Trade in Lampung. Before the 1760s the “illicit trade” of Lampung pepper was mostly recorded in . and to sell the produce exclusively to the sultan via local headmen and authorized traders.TJSEAS 14 depended in their writings. Through these Bantenese and local agents. 1760-1784 The sultan of Banten exerted his influence on Lampung by sending Bantenese officials to supervise local affairs. the sultan ordered every able-bodied man older than sixteen in the pepper-producing areas to plant five hundred pepper vines. Nevertheless. The most important purpose for the sultan to intervene in Lampung was to place the rich pepper production under control. which was a real headache for the VOC authorities.
Faure in Banten to Batavia. Laven to W. 3 Oct. The EIC.: 2nd 10-11. VOC officials reported that Chinese traders based on Pulau Lagondi (Lagondi Island) in the Sunda Strait regularly “smuggled” pepper from Silebu to Bengkulen. pepper cultivators. Commander W. VOC 2996: 1st 57. V: 443.10 The VOC authorities in Batavia protested both the sultan of Palembang and the EIC. which established a factory in Bengkulen on Southwest Sumatra.TJSEAS 15 the Tulang Bawang region in northeast Lampung. VOC 3762: 22-23. 1756. expanded their influence southward up to the Silebu (Krui) region adjacent to Semangka in 1713 (Kathirithamby-Wells 1977: 27-28). Engert in Banten to Batavia. dissatisfied with the low purchase price that Banten offered and with the repressive attitudes of the Bantenese officials. In Tulang Bawang. In Semangka. 31 May 1764. H. MvO. Resident K. 12 VOC 2996: 2nd 5-6. C. 15 Mar. ibid.9 The sultan of Palembang had offered higher purchase prices and more favorable transaction conditions since 1730 (Andaya 1993: 197-200). Commander J. preferred to sell their pepper to their northern neighbor Palembang. and built posts to watch the illegal flow of pepper in Tulang Bawang and Semangka respectively in 1756 and 1762. 1762. and the Semangka region in the southwest. the British were the major “illegal” pepper buyer. Laven in Menggala to Batavia. 10 Corpus Diplomaticum. however. 11 VOC 2886: 2nd 114-115. Schippers to J. 20 June 1760. ADB 17: 17-18. 77-78.11 Such local leaking of the Lampung pepper. the Dutch strongly believed this trade was an illegal collection of the pepper by the EIC. Banten. MvO. changed into more systematic outflow in the 1760s. 5 June 1787. 6 Feb 1747. P. 1760. and secretly bought pepper in Semangka. and came back from November to early January. Commander W. However. to which the Dutch had 9 VOC 3214: 17-19. Reijnouts in Banten to Batavia. VOC 3064: 1st 13. 27 Oct. Schoester. Acte van verband. . 3 Nov. Reijnouts. 12 Jan. 1760. Every year they sailed to Begnkulen in August and September in order to exchange their pepper for opium. van Ossenberch in Banten to Batavia. Commander H.12 Although Silebu was a British-controlled area. 1767. Menggala. Commander T. Resident K. the Dutch control was not tight enough to stop the “smuggling” effectively.
Instruction by Commander H. VOC 2938: 1st 14-15. 27 Aug.14 In addition. in reply to a Dutch official’s inquiry. VOC 2808: 633r-633v. the British encouraged them to make raids. 1 Mar. A large proportion of the EIC imports to Canton consisted of silver and English woolen cloth (Figure 1). mainly Chinese. it seems that a part of the pepper produced in Semangka was brought to the British secretly in the 1760s. Resident A. The large amounts of English woolen cloth produced a consistent deficit. Koopman A. Faure in Banten for Lieutenant C. Meijbaum in Banten. 20 Feb. and the VOC and Chinese traders were also enthusiastic to collect pepper in Southeast Asia for the China market. This is why the pepper trade from Southeast Asia to China deserves examination. Commander W. 31 Dec. van der Werp in Seram to Batavia. 1753. Veldhuijsen bound for Semangka. as the EIC dumped it in answer to the pressure at home to sell it overseas. 1782. VOC 3653 2nd: 12-14. Why did British traders attempt to obtain increasing amounts of pepper in Lampung? The British traders – both the EIC and country traders – brought all the pepper they collected in Southeast Asia to China. The residents of Pulau Lagondi. considering their higher purchase prices. Zigman and P.16 There is little doubt that Chinese traders from Pulau Lagondi and the Malay population in Semangka sold pepper secretly to the British. The silver supply from the New World was unstable. Although the Malay chief denied that he and his followers sold their pepper to the British. disrupted by the American and European wars. 1752. but this does not mean that pepper played only a trivial role in the EIC trade. in Banten to Batavia. VOC 3094: 1st 127-128. 30 Sep. 2758. P. by providing them with boats and ammunitions. . van Ossenberch et al. reported that the British traders and their agents offered higher prices for pepper than the Bantenese official paid. van de Ster in Semangka to Commander N. it seems reasonable to assume that a part of pepper cultivators or putty chiefs in Semangka sold a certain amount of their pepper to the British.13 According to a local spy sent by the VOC. 1763.TJSEAS 16 right. GM. were notorious raiders attacking the cargo vessels and coastal villages to plunder their pepper and other commodities in the territory of the sultan of Banten.15 The chief of the Malay community in Semangka. and to suppress Dutch and other European competition (Pritchard 1936: 13 14 15 16 VOC 2804: 68. H.
where the price was higher than elsewhere (Kathirithamby-Wells 1977: 186). followed by camphor.060. various tropical commodities such as pearls.452. the EIC decided to use more Southeast Asian commodities for their tea trade. cotton and opium that country traders brought from the British settlements in Asia amounted to respectively 9. Tin from the Malay Peninsula and Bangka or pepper alternated in first or second place among the Southeast Asian products taken to Canton. . Pritchard 1936: 157-160).577 Rupees of all the import (Milburn 1999 : 482). they still collected various Southeast Asian products to sell in Canton. besides cotton and opium. Dissatisfied with this situation. Apart from the two Indian products. pepper occupied the second place below tin. According the Milburn’s data about ‘country trade’ in Canton in 1805. and elephants’ tusks were imported (Milburn1999 : 482. 17 18 The share of opium in the British country trade is available only in the nineteenth century. In 1805.18 They were reluctant to purchase pepper at the EIC factory in Bengkulen. such as Aceh.619 and 3.17 Nevertheless. 184-185.7 per cent profit in the period from 1775 to 1795 (Wisset 1802: II. British country traders mostly carried raw cotton from Bombay and opium from Bengal (which presumably occupied a large part of the “other Asian goods” in Figure 2) to Canton. sharks’ fins. 180-182). and Riau (Bulbeck et al.TJSEAS 17 152-157. Banjarmasin. Their ships picked up pepper in “free ports” outside the Dutch sphere of influence. and sharks’ fins in this order (Pritchard 1936: 175). The EIC pepper trade produced a 12.294. 484). 1998: 80). The entire quota of the EIC imported pepper in Canton came mostly from its factory in Bengkulen (Kathirithamby-Wells 1977: 184-186). woods (mainly sandalwood).570 Rupees out of the 15.
000 500.000 4. -6 17 5 66 -6 17 7 68 -6 17 9 70 -7 17 1 72 -7 17 3 74 -7 17 5 76 -7 17 7 78 -7 17 9 80 -8 1 17 82 -8 17 3 84 -8 17 5 86 -8 17 7 88 -8 17 9 90 -9 17 1 92 -9 17 3 94 -9 17 5 96 -9 17 7 98 -9 9 17 64 17 60 -6 17 1 62 -6 17 3 64 -6 17 5 66 -6 17 7 68 -6 17 9 70 -7 17 1 72 -7 17 3 74 -7 17 5 76 -7 17 7 78 -7 17 9 80 -8 17 1 82 -8 17 3 84 -8 17 5 86 -8 17 7 88 -8 17 9 90 -9 17 1 92 -9 17 3 94 -9 17 5 96 -9 17 7 98 -9 9 Important commodities brought by British country traders to Canton.000. 399 Figure 2 4.500.000 1.000.000 0 Important commodities brought by the EIC to Canton.000 0 Source: Prichard (1936): 401-402 Metals include mainly tin.000 2.TJSEAS 18 Figure 1 5.500. 1760-1800 (taels) Silver Lead and copper Wool Other Indian goods Indian raw cotton Tin Pepper Source: Pritchard (1936): 391-393.000 2. but contain a little lead.500.000 3.500.000.000 500.000. 1760-1800 (taels) English goods Other Asian goods Cotton Metals Pepper .000 1.000 2.500.000.000 4.000 3.000.500.000 2.500.500.000 3.000.000.000 1.000 1.000 North American goods 4.000 3.000.
TJSEAS 19 Figure 3 Total VOC import to Canton. Figure 3 indicates that the VOC gradually replaced their silver exports with tin and pepper in the course of the second half of the eighteenth century (Jacobs 2006: 137-151).000 1.000 1. This is the reason that the VOC made every effort to secure the Lampung pepper. preventing it from being smuggled out. 1751-1790 (Dutch guilders) 1. Pepper was indeed a very lucrative commodity. its largest rival. -5 17 3 71 -7 17 3 89 -9 0 17 51 .000 0 Others Silver Tin Pepper Source: Jacobs (2000): 333 Importance of pepper is more obvious in the VOC China trade.000 1.000 200. especially by British traders.000.600.000 800.000 600.400. which brought the VOC a 200 percent profit on average in the second half of the eighteenth century (Liu 2005: 4-5). in which Banten Sultanate was the largest supplier.000 400. All of the pepper that VOC imported to Canton was first collected in Batavia from various producing regions in Southeast Asia.200.
gambir (an astringent extract from gambir trees used in dyeing . the VOC. 184-185.000 25. Southeast Asian agricultural production of pepper.000 10.000 5.000 20. Considering the fact that before 1770 the VOC was almost the only European trader to supply pepper to China (Kathirithamby-Wells 1977: 218. 1998: 78-79).000 pikul of pepper in the last three decades of the eighteenth century (Figure 4). 1770-1798 (pikuls) 35.000 15.TJSEAS 20 Figure 4 Pepper import by Western traders to Canton. British country traders. it is remarkable that China began to import large amount of pepper from European traders in the second half of the eighteenth century.000 Others Prussian Danish French Dutch English country traders EIC 30.000 0 17 7 17 0 7 17 1 7 17 2 73 17 7 17 4 7 17 5 76 17 7 17 7 7 17 8 7 17 9 8 17 0 8 17 1 82 17 83 17 8 17 4 8 17 5 8 17 6 8 17 7 8 17 8 8 17 9 9 17 0 9 17 1 9 17 2 9 17 3 9 17 4 95 17 9 17 6 9 17 7 98 Source: Wisset (1802): II. Bulbeck et al. a number of Chinese traders also collected key commodities in Southeast Asia for the Chinese market.000 to 20. The result was that the EIC. and other European traders together imported 15. Apart from European traders.
000 pikul of pepper were brought to Riau every year (Harrison 1953: 57.TJSEAS 21 and tanning). Teochiu agriculturalists in Siam also began planting pepper in the late eighteenth century (Reid 2004:26). Considering that the total amount of the pepper that the British private and country traders brought to Canton was 5. especially sharks’ fins and tripang (sea cucumber). In addition. 60). cotton. Indragiri and other places in Sumatra. and rice increased markedly in the eighteenth-century for the purpose of export to China (Reid 2004: 26-28).000 pikul of pepper were taken by British country traders. In the mid-eighteenth century. Although Chinese traders did not leave any statistical data. an English country trader. tin and maritime edible products. Jambi. Pepper and gambir were the only two agricultural products for which Chinese migrants opened new plantations in eighteenth-century Asia. recalled in 1785 that 10. pepper seems to have been an important trade commodity.000 to 10. The VOC governor De Bruijn in Melaka stated that before 1784 some 5. Chinese traders sent the produce of these plantations to China (Bulbeck et al.000 pikul (Figure 4). were major Southeast Asian products sought after in the China market. De Bruijn mentioned that pepper in Riau was brought there from Palembang. notably in Brunei and Terengganu. James Scott. Jacobs 2006: 146-151). pepper was grown on a large scale by overseas Chinese settlers in plantations. it is obvious that Riau held a dominant position in their pepper trade in Southeast Asia. who supplied between 30 and 80 percent of pepper in Canton among European traders (Figure 4). For British country traders. 1998: 80-81. predominantly from Riau (Bassett 1989: 643). to satisfy the demand in China. but the bulk of it from Borneo (Harrison . Riau became increasingly important as a port to collect pepper and other products for the China market.
In fact in Banjarmasin. 57-59. as this region had already been incorporated into the Dutch maritime trading system.TJSEAS 22 1953: 57). This situation was virtually the same as in Lampung. Bijlage 7). the pepper-growing areas in Lampung suffered from an increasing number of maritime raids. there was no other option to collect the pepper produced in these regions but by way of “smuggling” in defiance of the VOC monopoly. 214. Concerning the pepper supply from Sumatra. GM. report by Rovere van Breugel. 30 Dec. however. Ota 2006). and assaulted the cargo ships carrying pepper to Banten. . considering the concentration of country traders’ pepper business in Riau and China. it is reasonable to consider that most of the Lampung pepper collected by British traders was sent to Riau. 19 MCP 4: 211-215. However. 1788. 5 May 1788.19 Table 1 indicates that the number of raids which took place on the east and south coasts of Lampung and their offshore jumped up in the 1790s. Illicit Trade in Lampung. as pepper production in the above-mentioned places had already declined before the 1760s (Andaya 1993: 161-174. However. Unfortunately no source precisely shows that the Lampung pepper secretly collected by British traders was brought to Riau. this information is hard to believe. Chinese and British traders were always on the lookout for “contraband” in various neighboring ports (Noorlander 1935: 50-51. Only Banjermasin in Borneo maintained a good amount of production until the early 1780s. The strong demand for pepper in China and the lack of sufficient sources of supply for British country traders explain why the British eagerly attempted to collect pepper in Lampung since the 1760s. In the year. VOC 3776: 4539r. 1784-1800 After 1788. and ultimately to China. it was observed that raiders stayed around all the coasts of Lampung.
173 Tulang Bawang (9). rice. . (2). Keizer Eiland (2). unknown (6) (1) 37 bh pepper (2).1760. rattan (1) Tulang Bawang (4). Nibong (2). others (4) Johorese (2). Silebu (1). 13 people (1). 81 ships (15). Sekampong (1) South coast of Lampung Period Raids 1760-69 (6) Raider Captured item Place Lampung Bay (1). 1 ship (1) Semangka (1). Sumur (3). Chinese (1). a ship (1) (1). Kilowang (1). unknown (41) 1686. damar (1) others (4). unknown (9) Tulang Bawang (1). Johorese (1). Puti (4). ammunition (3). rice (1).c. Pulau Lagondi (1). those who stay on Pulau 5 ships (1) Lagondi. Semangka (2). Puti (13). by arranging ships for raiders in Silebu) (1) * ** Number of times of raiding.1800 East coast of Lampung Period Raids* 1760-69 (10) Raider Captured item Place** Tulang Bawang (7). unknown (10) Chinese (2). The total of place-names can be more than the number of raids because some raiding occurred in different places. unknown (2) 1770-79 (18) Chinese from Riau (1). Krui (1). food (4). weapons and Sekampong (4). Iranun 1790-99 (47) (1) those from Siak (1).5 bh pepper (17). unknown (15) 1780-89 (7) Those from Riau (1). others (7). unknown (11) 1800-03 (7) unknown (7) necessities (1). other (1) unknown (4) Palembang (3). pepper (1). unknown (6) English (assist raiding. those who stay on Keizer Eiland (1). money Penet (5). others (2). Lampung Bay (1). people (6).TJSEAS 23 Table 1 Raiding in and near Lampung. Subuko. on the sea (2). c. money unknown (7) 1770-79 (13) 1780-89 (6) unknown (13) unknown (6) 37 bh pepper (1). Pulau Besi (1) others (2). unknown (2) 14 bh pepper (2). houses to stay (1) Tulang Bawang (1). 4 ships (2). 120 bh pepper (2) Bantenese (1).
others (7). Johorese and and necessities (4). rattan (1). Both groups plundered several villages and traffic nodes along the river. A trader who escaped the detention reported that the fleet was under the authority of the Raja of Siak on the east coast of Sumatra. . The most important target of plundering by the raiders was pepper. money (2). around Caringin (1). Pulau Sagame (1).21 20 21 ADB 30: no pagination. but they also plundered pepper-producing areas and riverine ports in inland regions. those from Pekalongang (1). rice Pulau Besi (4). Telok Betung (1). Telok Betung (4). Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. report by Jurragan Mas Sudin. H. rice (1) Prinsen Eiland (1). Commander F. They divided their fleet into two: one sailed up through the Penet River while the other one moved up through the Puti River. around Merak (2).TJSEAS 24 1790-99 (58) Iranun (3). unknown (20) Chinese (3). Johorese (1). unknown (2) Sources: Overgekomen brieven en papieren series in the archives of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). For example. The Hague. people were an important object of plunder. around Anyar (4). 14 ships (9). and kidnapped a number of people. people (1). weapons Chinese (1). Semangka (3). Prinsen Eiland (4). those from Siak and Chinese (1). raiders took 130 people plus ten ships laden with 300 bahars (1 bahar is about 180 kg) of pepper as their booty in one attack on Sekampong in 1795. people (5). 4 May 1795. Kalianda (1). in September 1790 a raiders’ fleet consisting of twenty-eight heavily armed ships made an attack on a local convoy of eighteen ships laden with pepper and dammar (a dye material) on the east coast of Lampung. unknown (47) and ammunition (5). Banten.20 Next to pepper. Krakatau Eiland (1). those from Siak (1). 27 October 1790. CZOHB 120: 77. 994 bh pepper (13). Pulau Lagondi (3). damar (1) 1800-04 (4) unknown (4) pepper (1). Nationaal Archief. In the largest case recorded. Raiders not only incessantly attacked cargo vessels offshore.
food. robbed the people of the newly harvested rice. Commander F. 21 Jan. H. ADB 35: 280. Commander F. as the raiders could not only capture people but also gather pepper and other forest products such as damar and rattan.22 Some captive men were sold as laborers in pepper gardens and rice fields. Banten. 3 Oct. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia.27 In 1792 a fleet of raiders consisting of thirteen ships and three smaller vessels appeared off the coast of Ratu Jaya in the Puti region. H. 11 May 1815. ADB 30: 73. MCP 4 (4): 211-212. ADB 34: 5-7. which could be used by themselves or sold to other raiders. JFR 28: 664-665. H. H. Commander F. including twenty-seven short guns and thirty-two flintlocks. ADB 33: 215-216. H. because they often lurked in secluded insalubrious places along the swampy eastern coast of Sumatra. a notorious meeting place for raiders. . report by Rovere van Breugel. 18 Feb. Anyar. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. 18 Feb. report by Jurragan Mas Sudin. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. destroyed the whole area by setting fire to it. H. After five hours of furious battle. Commander F. report by B. 14 July 1792. 1795. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. and kidnapped three women and one man. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. the raiders took the ships with their cargo of 350 bahar of pepper and a large number of weapons. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. 1790. 1792. 27 October 1790.TJSEAS 25 Relatively densely populated pepper-growing areas were an ideal place for raiding. CZOHB 120: 41-42. Commander F. 1795. CZOHB 120: 41. ADB 30: 6. Commander F. raiders plundered necessities from villages in order to make a living. In 1795 a raiders’ fleet consisting of some fifty ships attacked ten pepper-laden ships belonging to the Banten sultan in Puti. RABE 123: 152r-152v. 25 May 1804. ADB 30: no pagination.: 58-59. H. Deputy Master. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia.23 while other captives were used as oarsmen in raider ships. ibid. Commander F. 1803. H. Beijnon and the Political Council in Banten.24 Ships and weapons were also important prizes. In addition. 1799. Cramer in Menggala to Commander F. 7 Jan. Resident C. Macgregor.28 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ADB 30: no pagination. cargo ships.25 The raiders sent their prize of ships to Mampawa on the west coast of Kalimantan. 5 May 1788. B. 9 July 1798.26 The ships and weapons would have been sold to other raiders to use for their assaults. GM 1798. 8 July 1797. 23 Nov. and other necessities at river traffic nodes. H.
1793.TJSEAS 26 Limited information in Dutch records shows that the most often witnessed raiders were the Johorese. A Dutch report says that during the year and nine months from January 1791 to September 1792 – the only period for which information on the scale of raiding for a certain duration is available – 6. 2 July 1766. the Bangka Strait. It was difficult to spot them. CZOHB 118: 6.32 As the Dutch themselves admitted. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. Beijnon et al. Iranun. The largest fleet consisted of fifty-six ships.30 Big ships had even up to 100 rowers each. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. 1792. report by Raden Tomongon Tilang Barat. 1777. H. 31 Dec. GM. The largest types of ships were equipped with three-pound cannons in their lower battery and two swivel-guns above. ADB 30: 92-93. the Bugis born in Riau. in Banten to Batavia. Beijnon et al. Raiders’ ships could move faster propelled by both oar and sail. a courtier. Some of them were known to have come from Riau. and others from Siak. Chinese. VOC 3475: 1722v-1723v. because they lay concealed in their hideaways in small inlets along the Lampung coast and on numerous islands on the Sunda Strait. 5 June 1793. HRB 1004: 302.31 Neither the Dutch nor the sultan’s ships could easily catch up with or even find raiders’ ships during their policing cruise. H. and other places. Commander F. CZOHB 118: 21-22. their inadequate knowledge of the local geography and their lack of specific sailing skills proved to be no match for those displayed by the raiders. 26 Nov. H. Reijnouts. that is. 1794. 3 May 1791. Commander F. 1794. Other prominent raiders were the Malays. 18 Feb. report by Commander J. Banten. and Mandarese originally from North Sulawesi. Amstderdam to Batavia.000 pikul of pepper was lost to the raiders because of attacks on eighteen villages and twenty-three vessels in Lampung and the region of 29 30 31 32 33 CZOBH 118: 39. ADB 31: 79-80. Banten. 20 Oct. 20 Feb.29 Raiders usually sailed in a fleet consisting of three to some fifty vessels. Instruction about Banten. Commander F. The core ships in the fleet had three masts. Commander F. in Banten to Batavia. .33 The maritime raids significantly affected the pepper supply from Lampung. VOC 343: § 391. H.
Other groups departed for Pahang and Terengganu (Vos 1993: 165-173. a large amount of pepper was not carried out from Lampung due to the danger of plundering. In addition. 179-190. 1801. 6. driven from Riau as a result of the 1784 treaty. Trengganu. Commander F. It was not until 1800 that the pepper production in Aceh increased extraordinarily under the energetic Raja of Susoh. H. In addition. The Bugis. the last major pepper-producing region next to Lampung shrank significantly in the late 1780s (Noorlander 1935: 64-65. ADB 34: 16-17. Riau ceased to be a collecting place of Southeast Asian products.000 pikul of pepper was left undelivered in storehouses in Lampung in 1799 and 1800. Leube Dapa (Bulbeck et al. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. There is little doubt that the sudden increase of maritime violence in Lampung in the late 1780s resulted from the fall of Riau. For example. Commander F. and the two hundred wealthiest Chinese. This is how Lampung became the only important pepper-producing region. . Beijnon in Banten. A few days after his successful expulsion of the Dutch from Riau in 1787.400 pikul in a year – is equivalent to about thirty-six percent of all the pepper that the VOC obtained from Lampung in the same period.35 This amount is equivalent to about thirty-seven percent of the pepper delivered to the storehouses in Lampung in the same period. 30 Sep. Bijlage 7). South of Riau. 100-101. from which the harvest was almost exclusively 34 35 ADB 30: 113-115. with a following of Malays. Bugis. and some other places. 114-115. apart from Chinese pepper plantations in Brunei. Lewis 1995: 99-121). sought refuge in Mampawa and Sukadana on the west coast of Kalimantan and other places. H. 1998: 66).34 Six thousand pikul of pepper in the twenty-one months – or 3. the supply from Banjarmasin.TJSEAS 27 Sunda Strait. report of the damage by pirates since the end of 1790. but the demand for them in the China market was still strong. 122-125. 4 Feb. Sultan Mahmud also left and took refuge on the island of Lingga. fearing VOC reprisal. 1792.
made Siak a market for stolen goods. Sultan Mahmud constructed an alliance of raiders from Siak. and Perak. The leaders of the patrol fleet found that the raiders passed themselves off as those from 36 37 The Orang Laut are a group of Malay people living in the Riau and Lingga Islands. they furthered Siak trade by forcing traffic toward Siak-controlled ports (Barnard 2003: 155). rattan. plundered coastal areas. and gold dust. particularly opium. wax. It was Lingga that first emerged as such a center of raiding following the fall of Riau. bezoar stones. elephant tusks. The raiders attacked both local and Dutch ships. 1794. See Barnard (2007) and Andaya (2008: 173-201). . Bangka. Vos 1993: 191-199. and Sumatra before he finally chose Lingga as a place of asylum.TJSEAS 28 sold to Chinese traders. sago. and more broadly in the coasts and offshore islands in the Melaka Strait. A patrol fleet of the sultan of Banten came across a raiders’ fleet consisting of eleven ships near Pulau Lagondi. and set up a privateering enterprise there. Penang. secretly traded tin from Bangka under Dutch control. My data shows that Siak raiders also attacked Lampung to plunder its pepper. Francis Light. Historically they played an important role as guard. gambir. Historical Sketch of the circumstances which led to the settlement of Penang. and after a long battle finally defeated them. Barnard argues that they supplemented traditional export items from East Sumatra. establishing reciprocal relationships with Malay rulers. c. dammar resin. Princes commanded a fleet of raiding vessels. and the captured valuable merchandise. the Orang Laut. Timothy P. but share some degree of identity and a preference for living on boats rather than on land. and trader. It is therefore reasonable that those who lost their place of business in Riau targeted Lampung under weak control to collect pepper in more violent way. warrior. such as camphor. HMS 437: 152-153. They are made up of numerous tribes and status groups.36 and the Iranun through his refuge tour to Malay Peninsula. took captives and sold them into slavery in Lingga and other Malay settlements. Penang.37 Siak grew in power in the 1780s and the 1790s as another new trade center to replace Riau. By attacking other ports such as Singgora.
Commander F. and that migration and mixture of different groups were common. report by Wetanger Wiro. report by Juragan Urip. However. one group of the Iranun remained on Lingga. once helped Sultan Mahmud and contributed to his success in expelling the Dutch from Riau in 1787. The Iranun. ADB 30: 87-88. Each year bands of the Iranun from their Reteh settlements joined their Sulu relations in raiding Lampung (Warren 1981: 156-158). Banten. . 4 April 1791. Chinese. a Bantenese trader who escaped detention on Belitung after having been abducted in the Java Sea. Raiding by the Iranun near Lampung was first recorded in 1791. 3 May 1791. and Lingga.39 The participation of the Iranun intensified the raiding in Lampung.38 Their ethnicity is not clear from the Dutch record.TJSEAS 29 Siak. As a result traders also visited Belitung in order to buy the booty from the raiders. escaped captive. the Iranun soon left Riau as they had no intention of staying there permanently. Juragan Urip. who had been engaged in raiding from their settlements in West Kalimantan. but many of them turned out to be Chinese. but it seems that ethnic distinction among the raiders was not clear. 5 Apr.41 38 39 40 41 ADB 30: 91-93. He heard that the raiders who had captured him intended to attack Banjarmasin in Borneo and Semangka in Lampung. and another group settled in Reteh and neighboring small settlements on the east coast of Sumatra. 82. and Bugis raiders from Siak. in Banten to Batavia. report by Raden Tomongong Tilang Barat. when they made an attack with forty ships on cargo vessels fully laden with rice destined for Bangka. Banten. witnessed no less than 288 ships of Malay. ADB 30: 43. H. ADB 33: 78. Belitung seems to have developed into another important centre of raiding and trading. Banten. After abandoning Riau.40 They were feared as the most formidable fleet in the surrounding waters. Riau. 1791. 21 Apr. escaped captive. Belitung-based raiders thus included a large part of the Malay Waters in the areas of their activities. Beijnon et al.
24 Dec. Beijnon et al. 1796. A Dutch record tells that a fleet of Mandarese raiders passed themselves off as tripang fishers. . and set the ship on fire. This is how the loss of a trade hub after the fall of Riau. no date. and Chinese came to these bases. The Bugis (a large part of them Riau-born) and Sultan Mahmud’s followers who lost their homeland. Beijnon et al. in Banten to Batavia. CZOHB 63: § 32. and raiders often attempted to persuade the authorities that they were not illegal freebooters. H. Commander F. These bases and an increasing number of raiders there made attack on Lampung easier.43 Inter-ethnic cooperation in maritime raids was not uncommon at all. plundered the cargo. GM 1795. In 1795. The most noticeable 42 43 44 CZOHB 119: 23.44 The distinction between raiders and fishers was not clear. in Banten to Batavia. a Dutch cargo ship carrying provisions to the VOC post at Semangka was waylaid near Pulau Lagondi by a group consisting of Mandarese and Bugis raiders who had a base on the island.TJSEAS 30 Another raiding group coming from outside the Malay Waters was the Mandarese from North Sulawesi. and migrants such as the Iranun. CZOHB 119: 23. and a VOC official stated in 1796 that Mandarese were the most prominent raiders. Mandarese. although they attacked other ships in occasions. 1796. The raiders killed all the European crew. Local Society and European Powers Interestingly. They were most active in the Sunda Strait. Commander F. from the 1780s when raiding was becoming intensified. 24 Dec. and conducted their raids and trade. and the subsequent political turmoil resulted in the emergence of raiders’ bases in the Melaka Strait region. H.42 They sometimes worked together with other ethnic groups. the local society of Lampung came to have closer ties with foreign traders. even possessing a Dutch pass to confirm this.
In return they supplied Indian opium and textiles. MCP 4 (4): 176-177. shipmasters in Lampung became hesitant to sail to Banten. They obtained elephant tusks. Banten. as even the report of the same author in 1787 and other Dutch reports show that they were Chinese. de Rovere van Breugel. textiles. even Aceh. and camphor.45 Chinese traders brought these items and human captives to Bengkulen. They carried these Lampung products to Pulau Seribu off the coast of Batavia. Banten. de Rovere van Breugel. in return for opium. the first two reports seem to include a mistake to name the traders. Chinese who had bases in Pulau Panjang and Pulau Klapa in the Bay of Banten sailed to the Lampung coast in order to collect pepper. In 1802. birds’ nests. De Rovere van Breugel’s reports in 1783 and 1788 in Notes 77 and 78 mention that traders who penetrated inland Lampung were Mandarese. Some of them sold these products to junks sailing back to China. report by J. in defiance of the Dutch monopoly. de Rovere van Breugel.TJSEAS 31 groups of traders were Chinese. which they gained from the British in Bengkulen. such as birds’ nests. two British ships visited Raden Intan. . and gold in exchange for opium. the British and Mandarese also made direct contacts with local elites in Lampung. 5 May 1788. However. some of which. Chinese traders would have had enough chance to collect local products. and Seram in Tulang Bawang. a meeting point for traders. such as Semangka. Those coming from Bengkulen started to collect pepper directly from various areas of production along the Lampung coast. Banten. report by J. report by J. no date. and pepper in exchange for their opium and textiles. were the sultan’s monopoly. Apart from Chinese traders.46 Chinese traders’ penetration in the inland regions of Lampung would have been related to the increasing difficulty of the normal commercial traffic between Lampung and Banten because of the danger of maritime raids. 5 May 1788. MCP 4 (4): 176-177. Padang. Rovere van Breugel 1856: 351-357. a 45 46 HRB 1005: 11. elephant tusks. Afraid of raids. and other ports on the West Coast of Sumatra from the Sunda Strait. Kalambayang. birds’ nests. 1783.
1803. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. The British established relationships with local elites in Lampung. J. H. Handelingen en Resolutien van den Gouverneur Generaal in Rade. Before his death in 1826. ADB 34: 42-43. Neef to Commander F. Commander F. which visited Kalianda with twelve ships.11. As this figure shows only the pepper that the VOC received in Banten. 22 Nov. de Bruin. Commander F. ADL 26: 3. in the 1780s and 1790s (Ota 2006: 30-31). Lampung continued to supply moderate levels of pepper: 3. Pepper production in Lampung dropped 47 48 ADB 34: 60-62.48 The distinction between raiders and traders was not clear. Banten. before it was plundered by raiders. Raden Intan sold the pepper at nine Spanish mat per bahar. The British also brought textiles and opium. Probably as a result of local elites’ shrewd choices of their business partners. ADB 34: 243-244. C. 1802. diary of P. 8 Feb. Raden Intan incorporated the Sekampong and Kalianda regions. MK 2794: 108r. 23 June 1826.TJSEAS 32 member of the elite from Kripang. no. were reported in 1803 to have sold his pepper to Mandarese raiders. Lampung even seems to have increased production in this period in spite of fierce raiding against cargo vessels and coastal villages. 1811. report by Resident J. Coenraadt and P. 30 Sep. considering the pepper sold to foreign traders. 1803. 10 Jan. not only directly but also indirectly through Asian raiders/traders. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. 14 July 1803. A.47 Aria Kasugian. a member of the local elite in Kalianda. and bought 2. F.000 bahar. MCP 4 (7): 289-290. ibid. The local informant of this news reported to the Dutch that the Mandarese visitors had a close trading relationship with the British. which was higher than the price that sultan had set. Beijnon in Banten. 1 Dec.000 bahar of pepper from him. The higher purchase price and the gifts would have benefited his followers too. .000-4.: 77. H. abandoning his loyalty to the Banten sultan and the Dutch. 1803. H. The fact that the Dutch had not sent any ships to collect pepper for three years also would have encouraged him to sell pepper to the British. Braam on their voyage to Lampung. all the time maintaining a close commercial relationship with the British.
rattan. H. when Aceh sharply increased pepper production and started to sell the produce to British and American traders. the raiders did not do any damage to his family members. food. 5 June 1793. H. H. Commander F. local people very often suffered from raids. an elite in Kalambayang. Commandeur F. their depredations also spelled the ruin of villages. ships.50 and yet another group forced the residents to offer them more than 150 houses in which they could lodge. Commander F. On the contrary. people who withdrew to inland areas to avoid raiding suffered from hunger and finally surrendered themselves to the raiders. . ADB 35: 280. The local informant of this news stated that in this fleet led by the Iranun raider Raja Ali. did not always bring advantage to local society. In April 1793 twenty-five “pirate” ships from Palembang 49 50 51 52 ADB 31: 79-81. because retreat into infertile areas often led to starvation. 1803.49 Plundering. however. and plundered pepper. In Puti. a group of raiders destroyed twenty-four villages in 1803. In April 1793 a raiders’ fleet consisting of heavily-armed fifty-six ships attacked Kalambayang near Semangka. Raiders not only pillaged pepper. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. ADB 34: 42. H. 8 June 1801. Not only did they lose the pepper that they were supposed to receive in Banten to the raiders. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. 25 May 1804. Some Lampung elites even chose to join in plundering. Commander F. On Prinsen Eiland. and birds’ nests intended to be sent for the sultan.51 The obvious answer was to go away but people could not always choose to move to another place.TJSEAS 33 significantly only after 1800. 8 Feb. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. ADB 34: 109-110. one of the commanders was Kyai Aria Raksa Jaya.52 The VOC was heavily damaged by maritime raids. During the heavy plundering. and people. they also lost their post that they had established in the inland region to watch the production and transportation of pepper. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. who had been banished by the sultan there.
or under the Dutch 53 54 ADB 31: 29-30. Commander F. Rumor had it that some of them had fallen under the sway of the “pirates. and other desired commodities. Pepper was one of the most important Southeast Asian commodities for the British to facilitate their tea trade in Canton. but major pepper producing regions at that time were either already in decline. As a result.” which Dutch colonial scholars regarded as the root of all evil. Resident Cristiaan Hendrik Cramer of the VOC post in Tulang Bawang decided to desert his post and withdraw. ammunition. 5 June 1793. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. By that time the VOC had already been declared bankrupt and the Dutch were no longer able to send their own ships to Canton as a result of the Napoleonic Wars (Van Eyck van Heslinga 1988: 147-170). The increase in the secret pepper trade since the 1760s was a result of British attempts to obtain as much pepper as possible. in fact was more complex and had a more significant impact in Lampung. H. offering opium. .TJSEAS 34 sailed up the Tulang Bawang River. the British finally led to their obtaining a lion’s share of Lampung pepper.53 Seeing their numbers swell to up to forty.”54 Who these attackers were and what their aim was are not clear. ADB 31: 76. the EIC and the British country traders were able to convey large amounts of pepper to Canton: accounting in fact for 50 to 90 per cent of all the pepper that was transported by European traders (Figure 4). They went about their trade by contacting various groups of raiders and traders. Local people around the post had already fled a few days before. 29 May 1793. Beijnon in Banten to Batavia. Commander F. This gave them an upper hand in the competition with the Dutch. In contrast. H. Conclusion The “illicit trade. and which some post-independence writers lauded as anti-colonial resistance.
and Belitung.TJSEAS 35 monopolistic trading system. As a result. Lampung maintained and . Malays. Along with raiding. Outside traders’ higher purchase prices and the desired commodities that they brought must have motivated them to cultivate pepper. Mandarese and other Asians after the late 1780s was a result of changes in the economic and political circumstances in the Melaka Strait region. but was strongly trade oriented. the largest pepper-producing region in Asia under weak rule. a number of raiders headed for Lampung. Their business often involved violence. in cooperation with Chinese traders and local elites in Lampung. birds’ nests. Thanks to their business. The fact that the raiding in Lampung largely targeted pepper shows that it was a part of the growing Sino-Southeast Asia trade. The increasing raids by Bugis. and the rampant raids in Lampung after the late 1780s. The result was the emergence of new centers of raids and trade in Lingga. This led the British to attempt to collect pepper secretly. although authorized Banten traders gradually avoided their risky business to sail to Lampung under the threat of raiders’ attack. The stateless peoples who were driven out from Riau and the Riau-centered trade network continued their business in a more violent way. As pepper was one of the most sought-after Southeast Asian commodities in China’s strong economy. Siak. A trading pattern that emerged on Riau from the 1760s to collect Southeast Asian products was disrupted by the Dutch conquest of Riau in 1784. cultivators were able to grow pepper under the threat of raiding. Those who conducted raids also sometimes purchased pepper from local elites when the purchase promised larger amounts and more stable acquisition. the Chinese and Mandarese created extensive networks to exchange Lampung products such as pepper. and elephant’s tusks in return for Indian textiles and opium. Iranun.
In so doing. using Silebu as their base. The conventional depiction of the 1784-1800 period in the Melaka Strait region. and the 1760-1800 period in Lampung as being fragmented and in decline is incomplete. Some local elites took advantage of their ties with the foreign traders to expand their power. who stuck to their monopolistic trading system. The Chinese and British took the largest advantage of the illicit trade in Lampung. and the more favorable transaction conditions they offered. The expansion of illicit trade linked Lampung and the Melaka Strait region to the booming Sino-Southeast Asian trade. It is true that local states and the VOC fragmented and fell into confusion. large number of ordinary people suffered from raiders’ plundering. while the British collected increasingly larger amounts of pepper for the China market. but stateless peoples and people in export-commodity producing regions stepped into that vacuum. such as Indian opium and textiles. The impact of “illicit trade” on the local society of Lampung was diverse. . Local elites and pepper cultivators generally enjoyed the foreign commodities that trade brought. Chinese traders extended their network in inland regions. these traders and raiders’ actions influenced the very ebb and flow of European powers. the Dutch.TJSEAS 36 even increased its pepper cultivation throughout the 1780s and 1790s. although it was much smaller scale than that conducted in Penang after 1786. were gradually driven away from the business in the region. Those who chose to abandon their fields to avoid raiders’ attacks and fled to other areas also suffered from lack of suitable lands and food. It is important to note that the British linked themselves to Chinese and other Asians’ network starting from the 1760s. On the other hand. However. Anglo-Chinese cooperation started earlier than conventionally thought.
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