By M. C. Ricklefs
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Additional resources for A History of Modern Indonesia: c. 1300 to the Present
There the local populations could hardly challenge VOC naval supremacy. In the end, the only form of resistance available to them was smuggling in defiance of VOC regulations. To attempt to control one source of this smuggling, virtually the whole population of Banda was deported, driven away or massacred in the 1620s, and an attempt was made to replace it with Dutch colonists using slave labour. As Dutch supplies of spices into Europe grew in volume, the Asian spice network languished for want of a market.
The Portugese writer Tome Pires described the wealth of this system with an enthusiasm which may be exaggerated, but his general description is clearly reliable. The main stages and the most important products involved were as follows: Malacca-east coast of Sumatra: gold, camphor, pepper, silk, benzoin and other wood resins, honey, wax, pitch, sulphur, iron, cotton, rattan, rice and other foodstuffs, slaves; exchanged primarily for Indian textiles; trading junks were also purchased in Malacca by the traders from some areas.
1509-1620 The arrival of the first Europeans in Southeast Asia at the beginning of the sixteenth century has sometimes been regarded as the most important watershed in its history. This view is untenable. Although Europeans- above all the Dutchwere to have a great impact upon Indonesia, this was largely a phenomenon of later times. As the colonial period recedes into the past, questions are being asked about how lasting even this later impact was. Whatever the case, in the early years of the Europeans' presence, their influence was sharply limited in both area and depth.