Diemen, Anthony van


Diemen, Anthony van
born 1593, Culemborg, Neth.
died April 19, 1645, Batavia, Dutch East Indies

Dutch colonial administrator who consolidated the Dutch empire in the Far East.

He joined the Dutch East India Company and served in Batavia from 1618. As governor-general of the Dutch East Indian settlements (1636–45), he enabled the Dutch to gain a monopoly of the spice trade in the Moluccas, conquer cinnamon-producing areas in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), seize the key Portuguese stronghold of Malacca, and capture all of Formosa (Taiwan). By 1645 he had established the United Provinces of The Netherlands as the paramount commercial and political power in the East Indies. Van Diemen also initiated the exploring expeditions of Abel Janszoon Tasman and Frans Visscher (1642, 1644).

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▪ Dutch colonial administrator
born 1593, Culemborg, Neth.
died April 19, 1645, Batavia, Dutch East Indies

      colonial administrator who as governor general of the Dutch East Indian (Dutch East Indies) settlements (1636–45) consolidated the Dutch empire in the Far East.

      After an unsuccessful business career in Amsterdam, van Diemen joined the Dutch East India Company, serving in Batavia from 1618 and becoming governor general in 1636. To strengthen the company's rule in the Moluccas, he signed a treaty with the Sultan of Ternate in 1638, which freed the Company for a war of conquest (1638–43) and resulted in a Dutch spice monopoly in the area. Also in 1638 van Diemen intensified the Dutch attack on the Portuguese empire in Asia with an invasion of Ceylon. By 1644 the Dutch had conquered Ceylon's cinnamon-producing areas and had established posts on India's Coromandel Coast.

      Meanwhile van Diemen had succeeded in seizing the key Portuguese stronghold of Malacca (Melaka) (1641; now in Malaysia) on the trade route between India and China, and in 1642 the Dutch captured all of Formosa (Taiwan), driving out the Spaniards. Under his rule, advantageous treaties with the East Indian princes of Acheh (Atjeh) and Tidore were signed, and commercial relations with Tonkin (Vietnam) and Japan were established. By the end of van Diemen's administration, the United Provinces of the Netherlands had become the paramount commercial and political power in the East Indies.

      Van Diemen completed the construction of Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch pattern of his predecessor, Jan Pieterszoon Coen, including a Latin school, Protestant churches, an orphanage, and a hospital; he also introduced a legal code known as the Batavian statutes. Van Diemen initiated the exploring expeditions of Abel Tasman (Tasman, Abel Janszoon) and Frans Visscher in 1642 and 1644 on which they discovered Tasmania (originally Van Diemen's Land), New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, and the northern coast of Australia.

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Universalium. 2010.

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