Who was Pattimura?
( Dutch version )
Dutch battleships in the Bay of Ambon (1817)
The Bay of Ambon (1920)
In 1813 Holland received back the East-Indies property that was taken by the British. Raffles, the British leader, did not agree and departed to Malacca. There, he founded Singapore, which would soon take authority over Batavia economically.
During Raffles' leadership, al lots of changes were being made in the way that the East Indies were being governed; the local authorities received more control. The Dutch, of course, were not too happy about all these changes and that resulted in al lot of problems, which eventually led to the great Java war (see Diponegoro).
On the map below a summary of the Nineteenth Century wars that had to be battled by the Dutch in order to get overall power in The East Indies:
In 1817, power over The Moluccas was taken back again from the British. The by the British formed Moluccan corps of 400 militaries was being dismantled by the Dutch. The Moluccan soldiers wanted to keep serving on the Moluccas. The Dutch were not used to this, so a lot of problems arose.
The new resident, van den Berg, tried to apply even more changes, but was not very refined at this. For instance, very soon the rumour started that the Moluccan Protestant Institution was to be changed again. On 14 May 1817 a large group of discontented Moluccans came together and chose a non-commissioned Officer from the British Moluccan corps as their commander: Thomas Matulesi, later better known as
The Moluccan took Fort Duurstede on the island Saparua after hour-long battles, during which the sole survivor was the 6-year-old son of the resident. Naturally, this had to be retributed!
The first counterattack miserably failed: of the 200 soldiers that were sent to the island, merely 30 survived. What an embarrassment, particularly because Pattimura was being supported by more and more islanders who did not want to have to do anything anymore with the Dutch.
Only after 6 months new troops were available and now the attack on The Moluccas was successful. After two months of battle Pattimura could be taken prisoner and the resistance collapsed. The exact amount of casualties was never revealed.......
Pattimura was hung on 16 December 1817 in Fort Victoria. His body was put in a cage above sea. Pattimura and his fellow prisoners spent the night before his execution "praying and singing psalms". Indeed, they were devouted Protestants who were convinced that they were fighting for a religious cause........
Jean Lubbert, the 6-year-old son of the murdered resident, was attending the execution. The child was transferred to The Netherlands in 1820 and until today, his family officially goes by the name of "Van den Berg van Saparua".
In 1824 Governor-General Van der Capellen addressed the population of Ambon directly:
" We did not come here to punish you, but to cheer you up and save you. We will teach thee to be honourable people and good subjects"
The colonial state as "Benevolent Father", the Dutch residents as "Wiser Brother".
The Governor-General soon was called the "Grand Lord",.
However, in the following years the economical value of the Moluccas decreased. The Moluccas became more and more service providers, for instance by joining the Royal Dutch Indies Army. At the end of the Nineteenth Century over 4000 serviced the government, especially as "military police in combat": (in Dutch "marechaussee") at that time they were no border patrol but a kind of official guerrilla troops, who could be activated in small groups fast and anywhere.
The name "Pattimura" can still be found in Indonesia and of course on the Moluccas:
The airport of Ambon is called Pattimura
On the Moluccas there is of course a University Pattimura
Several people on the Moluccas still have the name Pattimura
Up to now I couldn't find a picture of Pattimura, so please, if you have one, mail it to me:
and of course I was very happy to get reactions :
first I found a drawing by myself (see the picture in the text)
second, several people told me : Pattimura is pictured on the newly issued 1000 Rupee note of Indonesia. There is a nice portrait of Pattimura with a sword
in his right hand.The note was issued in Nov. 2000.
A part of the 1000 Rupee note with Pattimura
I like to thank everybody for the reactions!!
Thanks to Wilfried Aalbers we can show you this picture of Pattimura / Thomas Matulesia:
Wilfried Aalbers wrote also a contribution to our Dutch stories about Poncke Princen and Mohammad Hatta and Soekarno.
Like to read my other stories about the Dutch East Indies?
More to come......
and in English as soon as possible (some sites are already translated : see below the header after opening of the requested story in Dutch )
Jan Pieterszn Coen and the extinction of the population on the Banda islands
The "betrayal" of the ( present holiday ) island of Lombok and the "Treasures of Lombok"
The pacification of the ( present holiday ) island of Bali
Wilhelmus van Nassaue,
Ziet gij dien heldenstoet?
Zij schoten op de vrouwen
En drenkten 't land met bloed.
De kwasten der banieren
zijn darmen van een kind.
Licht dat ge aan hun rapieren,
nog vrouwenharen vindt.
The war of aggression against Aceh
The war of aggression against Aceh has been the largest Dutch war ever which resulted in 100,000 people killed and 1,000,000 people injured
Photos and images of the Dutch East Indies
......a Northsea coast state of robbers......
.....building railways from stolen money
stunned the victims with
opium, Gospels and Dutch gin...
I dare to ask you in confidence is it
your order that more than thirty
million of your subjects in the East are maltreated and
squeezed in Your name?
Multatuli  ...to the Netherlands...King William III
....that village was set to fire, because it was captured by the Dutch.......
Yes, the village was captured by the Dutch, so it was burning
After each Dutch victory a fire
After each Dutch victory a destruction.
Dutch warfare methods induce desperation
Translated by Sonja van den Heijkant
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Last update :
28 Augustus 2004