In 1497, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope and the Portuguese became the first Europeans to sail the Eastern Seas in search of spices, silks, gold, silver, porcelains, and other oriental goods. Over the next 100 years, the Portuguese spread their trading network from India as far north as China and Japan, and as far east as Timor in the eastern end of the Indonesian Archipelago. In 1595 and 1601 respectively, the first Dutch and English trading expeditions rounded the Cape of Good Hope and soon the trading monopoly of the Portuguese Crown was being challenged by the Dutch East India Company and then the English East India Company, the world's first joint stock and multi-national trading companies. For the next 250 years, the struggle for supremacy between the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the English was to range across the Eastern Seas and in the settlements of Goa, Malacca, Ambon, Macao, Canton, Nagasaki, Solor, Batavia, Macassar, Johor, and Singapore. This book follows the trade winds, the trade routes, and the port cities across the East Indies and the Orient. The story is told by the history of these port cities, beginning in Malacca, which was one of the world's largest trading ports in the 16th century, and finishing with the founding of Singapore and Hong Kong, which became some of the world's largest trading ports in the 20th century.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
East Indies is an exciting tale of the competition between the trading companies of the Portuguese Crown, and the Dutch and English East India Trading companies. All of them looking for the riches of South East Asia such as spices, silks, exotic ebony and sandalwood, pearls, ivory and jewels. The book is full of detail about the ports that became important trading centers where the wealth of South East Asia was loaded into the wooden sailing ships of European traders that sailed on the trade winds back to their homeports, a voyage that would last many months. Ian Burnet has compiled gorgeous maps and pictures of the sailboats and the ports that were their destinations. He has done a great deal of careful research and knows South East Asia well, having lived in Indonesia for decades. He is a lively story-teller and the book will make you want to sail to Malacca, the Spice Islands of the Moluccas, Calcutta, Macau, Singapore and Hong Kong. Reading the book is the second best option...
This book reviews the history of the east indies in the age of European exploration.
A follow-on to Burnet's lovely "Spice Islands" book this focuses on the rise and fall of the various main trading areas - Malacca, Batavia, Bencoolen, Singapore etc and the amazing characters involved
It is a very good read and extremely well produced & illustrated - too often we get a few tiny black & white maps in history books - here the old maps and pictures are reproduced in colour and at a scale you can actually read them - a major step forward
The author's familiarity with the area shines through and his sources (and quotes) range well beyond the standard euro-centric works - few other authors quote from the local sources (e.g the Bugis History "Tufat al-Nafis") and this adds to the fascination & depth of the book
It isn't really a coffee-table book but it would look good left there
As i live in Indonesia in the Past 29 years, Now i understand what the Duch did in the 300 years of occupation of Indonesia. A must read book, so you can understand what kind of Colonialist were the Duch.
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