The Pattimura Revolt of 1817 : Its causes, course and consequences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis is concerned with the "Pattimura" Revolt which broke out at the end of the British Interregnum, in 1818, when the Moluccas were handed back to the Dutch. The dissatisfaction that led to the revolt was in part religious and in part economic. The thesis traces the causes of this dissatisfaction to the Christianisation of the islands and the consequent neglect of the Ambonese church by the Dutch rulers particularly in the 18th century. This affected the position of, in particular, the schoolmaster/pastors who, with the Regents, constituted the highest indigenous leaders of the community. Many of the leaders of the revolt came from this group. Oppression may have been part of the system - but this was not realised till the British came along. The British relaxation of the rule of the previous Dutch regime resulted in apprehension when it became known that the Dutch were returning. This, combined with the incompetence of the officials who took over from the British, plus the agitation of the disgruntled members of the disbanded native battalion, founded by the departing British government, led to the bloody revolt of 1817. The course of this revolt is traced in some detail, from the earlier successes of Matulesia to the final defeat of the revolutionaries. Finally the immediate and long range consequences are explored. The conclusion arrived at is that the revolt, which is seen as something of an aberation after three hundred years of contact - symbiosis perhaps describes it better than co-operation or collaboration - with the Europeans, had the seemingly controversial effect of strengthening the bond between the Dutch and the South Moluccans. It is argued that the population, hereafter, began to realise that there was not much prospect for them in the cultivation of spices for European markets, but that close co-operation with the Dutch government in military and civil services, would give them the scope they felt their special position as a Christian minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim Indonesian archipelago warranted.