Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Balinese Revolt

11 September 1782
Javanese auxiliary troops of the Dutch East India Company, aquarelle by Jan Brandes (1779-1785)
Public domain

In September 1782 a group of 79 Balinese slaves on board the Dutch East India Company ship Mercuur, sailing between Java and Sumatra, managed to take hold of the ship, revolting against shipboard hierarchy and violence. On board its ships the VOC employed European and Asian labour in mixed crews. Besides slaves as company trading 'cargo', they were also often on board as the possessions of individual VOC employees. Sometimes these slaves were put to work at sailors' tasks. The Balinese swashbucklers' siege lasted five days. In the early morning of 11 September, the ship's crew launched a counterattack on the mutineers. A fire took hold of the ship and both slaves and crew were forced to jump off. The VOC tried to hush up the events.

Read more?  Matthias van Rossum, 'Mutinies and Slaves on Dutch East Indiamen in the 1780s' in IRSH Special Issue 21 (2013) Mutiny and Maritime Radicalism in the Age of Revolution