By M. C. Ricklefs
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Additional info for A History of Modern Indonesia: c. 1300 to the Present
In the second half of the sixteenth century, two new powers emerged in the interior of Central Java, which had not been the site of a major kingdom since the tenth century. The districts of Pajang and Mataram (where are located the present-day cities of Surakarta and Yogyakarta respectively) were extremely rich agricultural territories.
This population must be fed, which meant importing food supplies, the closest source of which was the north coast of Java. Timber had to be imported to build ships and houses. Although the city was never conquered by an Indonesian power, it had from time to time to be defended against Banten in the west and Mataram in the east, both of which were hostile. All of these considerations meant heavy expenses. And they would also almost inevitably lead the VOC into its catastrophic involvement in the internal affairs of the kingdoms of Java.
But the Dutch did one thing the Portuguese had not done: they established a permanent foothold in Java. This was to make their involvement fundamentally different from the Portuguese, and was to lead ultimately to the Dutch becoming a land-based colonial power in Java. 24 A HISTORY OF MODERN INDONESIA In the late sixteenth century the United Provinces of the Netherlands (the most important being Holland and Zeeland) were under considerable pressure to expand overseas. The Dutch war of independence against Spain, which broke out in the 1560s and was not finally settled until 1648, had already brought important changes.
A History of Modern Indonesia: c. 1300 to the Present by M. C. Ricklefs