Sumatra, second half of 17th century


In the early 17th century the Dutch and British established trading posts in many port cities in Sumatra without acquiring territory. From the middle of the century, however, both powers sought determinedly to create spheres of influence in the pepper ports of the west coast. The Dutch campaign culminated in the 1663 Treaty of Painan, under which several local rulers repudiated Acehnese hegemony and accepted that of the VOC, though a permanent Dutch presence was not established until 1680. The British were gradually confined to the southern coast, which they dominated from their fort at Bencoolen (Bengkulu), established in 1685.

Further reading

Andaya, Barbara Watson, To live as brothers: southeast Sumatra in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993.

Bastin, J.S., The British in West Sumatra (1685-1825): a selection of documents. Kuala Lumpur, Univ. of Malaya Press, 1965.

Lewis, Dianne,  Jan Compagnie in the Straits of Malacca, 1641-1795.  Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1995.

Reid, Anthony, Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce 1450-1680, volume two: expansion and crisis New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.

Map number from Cribb, Historical Atlas of Indonesia (2000)


Year span

1650 - 1700