Waiting for the "Just King": The Agrarian World of South-Central Java from Giyanti (1755) to the Java War (1825-30)
Students of Javanese society have long recognized that the Java War (1825-30), the bitter five-year struggle against European colonial rule in Java, constituted a watershed in the history of modern Indonesia. In his recent textbook, Professor Ricklefs has characterized the year 1830 as "the beginning of the truly colonial period in Java", arguing that the Java War marked the transition point between the "trading" era of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and the years of "colonial" exploitation ushered in by Johannes van den Bosch's well known "cultivation systems". In military and political terms, the costly Dutch victory over the javanese made them, for the first time in their three and a half centuries of involvement in the archipelago, the undisputed masters of Java. At the same time, scholars of Javanese Islam have suggested that the defeat of the Javanese leader, Dipanagara (1785-1855), and the religious ideals for which he fought (most notably his goal of strengthening the institutional position of Islam in Javanese society), temporarily undermined the morale and self-confidence of the Islamic communities in Java. Specialists in the history of the central Javanese principalities (vorstenlanden), especially those interested in cultural developments, have also seen the Javanese failure in 1825-30 as a setback to the vitality and independence of the Javanese cultural tradition, a time when Javanese society began to turn in on itself and lose something of its strength and flexibility.