Translated from the site of author Reggie Baay in the Netherlands:
Something horrible was done
Publication expected in January 2015
‘2 January 1668: Francisco Bengal, slave of merchant Jan Grootstadt, hangs himself’. This Francisco was one of the many who chose death over unbearable slavery in the Dutch East Indies.
From the early days of the Dutch East India Company to the end of colonial rule, Baay follows the trail of human trafficking in the Dutch colonies in the East. The colonial slavery took many forms: there were house slaves, child slaves, sex slaves, artisans, but also slaves on the plantations and spice gardens. Slaves were humiliated, tortured and murdered.
Reggie Baay writes the history of slavery in Indonesia. Because it is a misconception to think that slavery in the colonies was limited to the West. And how is it that our image of it is so distorted, as if in the East no real slavery existed?
Daar werd wat gruwelijks verricht is, incredible though it may seem, the first book in which the history of slavery in ‘our Indies’ is told in its entirety.
The title Daar werd wat gruwelijks verricht [in English: Something horrible was done] is a wordplay on a saying of seventeenth-century Dutch East India Company governor-general Jan Pietersz. Coen: ‘Something great may be done in the Indies’.
Coen had many Indonesians killed in order to establish a East India Company trade monopoly.
In a TV interview on 11 January 2015, Reggie Baay told that slavery in Indonesia (officially abolished in 1860) in fact continued until the war of independence of 1945-1949, and Dutch authorities knew that.
The East India Company were both owners and sellers of slaves, and owned the big Batavia (Jakarta) slave market. According to Baay, their slave trade made about a million people slaves, roughly the same number as the Dutch West India Company.