Village reorganization on Java during the Cultivation System: before the reorganization, ca 1830


The Cultivation System gave to villages collective ownership of land and made villagers collectively responsible for the payment of the onerous land tax (called landrente). The system thus required villagers to be tied to their villages, and regulations were introduced prohibiting Javanese from travelling without official permission. For the sake of control, too, villages were reorganized both to emphasize the uniform obligations of all village members and to facilitate supervision.

Further reading

Breman, Jan, The village on Java and the early-colonial state. Rotterdam: CASP, 1980.

Casparis, J.G. de, ‘The early Javanese village: a seductive mirage?’, in Artemio D. Palongpalong and Sylvano D. Mahiwo, eds., Society and culture: the Asian heritage: festschrift for Juan R. Francisco. Quezon City: Asian Center, University of the Philippines, 1999, pp. 91-98.

Elson, R.E., Javanese peasants and the colonial sugar industry: impact and change in an East Java residency, 1830-1940. Singapore: Oxford Univ. Press, 1984

Fasseur, Cornelis, The politics of colonial exploitation: Java, the Dutch, and the cultivation system. Ithaca, N.Y.: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1992.

Van Niel, Robert, Java under the Cultivation System: collected writings. Leiden: KITLV Press, 1992.

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


Year span

1830 - 1830