In the seventeenth century, the Dutch established a trading base at the Indonesian site of Jacarta. What began as a minor colonial outpost under the name Batavia would become, over the next three centuries, the flourishing economic and political nucleus of the Dutch Asian Empire. In this pioneering study, Jean Gelman Taylor offers a comprehensive analysis of Batavia’s extraordinary social world—its marriage patterns, religious and social organizations, economic interests, and sexual roles. With an emphasis on the urban ruling elite, she argues that Europeans and Asians alike were profoundly altered by their merging, resulting in a distinctive hybrid, Indo-Dutch culture.
Original in its focus on gender and use of varied sources—travelers’ accounts, newspapers, legal codes, genealogical data, photograph albums, paintings, and ceramics—The Social World of Batavia, first published in 1983, forged new paths in the study of colonial society.