Pride of the Dutch Empire
1. (Obverse and Reverse) 1/4 Gulden coin from the former Dutch East Indies, which today forms Indonesia. The Portuguese were the first to arrive in Indonesia in 1512, though it would be the Dutch who would make repeated trade expeditions to the islands in the late 16th Century. The spice trade had become a lucrative business for the Dutch, making record profits and prompting the government to form the United East India Company (abbreviated VOC in Dutch) in 1602. The VOC’s charter included waging war, building fortresses, and enacting treaties across Asia; to this end, they set up post in Batavia, which is now Jakarta. The VOC held a monopoly on nutmeg, peppers, cloves, cinnamon, and other goods, but issues such as corruption, war expenses, and mismanagement, led to the company’s collapse in 1800. The Dutch government then nationalized the colonial possessions of the VOC, mostly trading settlements, along the Indonesian Archipelago; they became the Dutch East Indies. Ruling over the islands was difficult; although Dutch authority was firm in Java, other areas saw independent rule by local groups who rejected colonial authority. The Dutch government waged several small wars to expand their control over the other islands of Indonesia, with this goal finally achieved by the early 20th Century. The Dutch East Indies came under Japanese occupation during World War 2, with the islands eyed as a prime source of raw materials for the Japanese war machine. The Dutch returned in 1945 to a swelling pro-independence atmosphere. Nationalist leaders Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta waged a war of independence, which resulted in the Dutch recognizing Indonesian independence in 1949. Minted 1929.
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