The embassy of Sultan Alauddin of Aceh to the Netherlands, 1601– 1603
Jean Gelman Taylor
This chapter examines how presentation is managed when ambassadors are sent in place of the royal personage. Sultan Alauddin mounted instead a royal tour by proxy in which he was embodied, and concealed, in his gifts and in the humbler persons of his placeholders. Abdul Hamid, Alauddin's chief ambassador, was designated head of the embassy. In Aceh, Alauddin's proposal of a partnership between sovereign states has entered mythology, forged during decades of armed resistance to Indonesia's central government. The envoys presented Maurits with Alauddin's letter and a copy that had been carried on the second Zeeland ship in the convoy to the Netherlands as surety against mishap at sea. The Sultanate of Aceh and the Republic of the Netherlands were pivots of global trade and communications. The seaboard provinces hosted commercial companies that financed trade and navigation science, and outfitted fleets for long-distance voyages.
Royal tours of the 1800s and early 1900s, and since, have created much documentation, perhaps the most obvious record contained in newspapers and magazines, newsreels and then radio and television broadcasts. Tours expressed and promoted royal and imperial authority, though in some instances they revealed resistance against expansionist designs. The royal visitor was the central actor in a tour, but was surrounded by an entourage of other people and a store of paraphernalia that played essential roles. This book examines how presentation is managed when ambassadors are sent in place of the royal personage. Sultan Alauddin of Aceh mounted a royal tour by proxy in which he was embodied - and concealed - in his gifts and in the humbler persons of his placeholders. Prince Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh, provided a template for later royal tours in three ways. First, he pioneered a new relationship with the Royal Navy as a training institution for British princes. Second, his lengthy visits paved the way for similarly ambitious global tours. Alfred's tours cultivated a range of trusted support staff. Imperial citizenship and even Britishness were embraced by non- English and non- British subjects of the queen. One young prince who was present in Britain at some of the most glittering events was Thakur Sahib Bhagvatsinh, a Rajput who ruled Gondal. The book also discusses Kaiser Wilhelm II's tour, King Sisowath and Emperor Khai Dinh's tour to France, the Portuguese crown prince's tour of Africa, and tours during Smuts's Raj.
The ethnic rivalry between the British and the Boers is one of the major narratives of South African and British imperial history. This chapter talks about the 'Cape Dutch' and De Zuid-Afrikaan does not intend to uproot this traditional narrative completely, but rather to interrogate and problematise it. In the cases of the Cape Dutch and the Irish Catholics of New Zealand, so-called 'outsiders' were themselves the authors of imperial culture and citizenship. Much recent and important work has identified the investment and contribution to the British imperial project by the Scottish, Welsh and Irish who administered, fought for, evangelised in and settled the British empire. The invention of Afrikanerdom during the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries was as much a response to the cultural potency of a British loyalism as it was a function of opposition to British injustices.
With an eye to recovering the experiences of those in frontier zones of contact, Savage worlds maps a wide range of different encounters between Germans and non-European indigenous peoples in the age of high imperialism. Examining outbreaks of radical violence as well as instances of mutual co-operation, it examines the differing goals and experiences of German explorers, settlers, travellers, merchants, and academics, and how the variety of projects they undertook shaped their relationship with the indigenous peoples they encountered. Whether in the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas or Africa, within Germany’s formal empire or in the imperial spaces of other powers, Germans brought with them assumptions about the nature of extra-European peoples. These assumptions were often subverted, disrupted or overturned by their own experience of frontier interactions, which led some Germans to question European ‘knowledge’ of these non-European peoples. Other Germans, however, signally failed to shift from their earlier assumptions about indigenous people and continued to act in the colonies according to their belief in the innate superiority of Europeans. Examining the multifaceted nature of German interactions with indigenous populations, the wide ranging research presented in this volume offers historians and anthropologists a clear demonstration of the complexity of frontier zone encounters. It illustrates the variety of forms that agency took for both indigenous peoples and Germans in imperial zones of contact and poses the question of how far Germans were able to overcome their initial belief that, in leaving Europe, they were entering ‘savage worlds’.
Nineteenth-century German literature and indigenous representations
Widely considered the first female German author, Sophie von La Roche’s, Erscheinungen am See Oneida (1798), vividly recounted the fascination, expectations, and disappointments of a young man travelling through the Northeastern United States describes in his letters home. Thirty-five years later, Austrian writer Charles Sealsfield (Carl Postl) condemned the archaic lifestyle of the Oconee that was ostensibly impeding the American expansion West, which he compared to the monarchies of Europe in his 1833 novel Der Legitime und die Republikaner. With different underlying reasons, both authors evoked images of savagery and primitiveness that championed the necessity of the colonization of North America’s Indigenous peoples, yet both authors created Indigenous characters that cause the reader to contemplate who really was the ‘savage’. This chapter explores the authors’ descriptions of indigenous America to analyze the use of pre-conceived European notions of North American indigeneity that engaged with and demarcated issues of gender, race, and colonization.
Framing German frontier encounters historiographically, this chapter offers an overview of the current literature on German imperialism. It argues for a portrait of frontier encounters that stresses heterogeneity, but rejects particularist arguments that position German approaches to indigenous peoples as uniquely sympathetic. Rather, it sees Germans firmly meshed within a pan-European project of imperial expansion that engendered both violent and non-violent frontier entanglements.
Colonialism in the photographs and letters of the young cosmopolitan Carl Heinrich Becker, 1900–2
The orientalist Carl Heinrich Becker (1876-1933), heir of a fortune his father had made Indonesia, is known as the inventor of “Islamwissenschaft” and as the liberal Prussian minister of education and science in the Weimar-Republic. Unknown are the nearly 500 letters and 200 photographs from a 2-year travel through Egypt, Sudan, Palestine, and Turkey. This chapter illustrates how during this journey through British and French colonies the young German scholar developed his concept of a culturally and economically based study of “the Orient”.
German investigations of Australian Aboriginal skeletal remains, c. 1860
German perceptions of Australian Aborigines in the nineteenth century have been described as more empathetic than those of British colonisers. While this appears to be true for many Germans in Australia, this chapter shows how physical anthropologists in Germany conveyed a different notion of the Australier through their investigations of human difference. Measuring the skulls and bones of Australia's indigenous peoples, they purported to merely gather the physical "facts", they nevertheless frequently linked their findings to allegations of inferior mental capacities and "uncivilised" cultural or social practises – based on (among other sources) their compatriots' encounter narratives. By ignoring or reinterpreting the latter’s often more positive impressions, German physical anthropologists manifested a "savage world" in Australian Aboriginal human remains. They thereby aligned their often ambivalent skeletal data with the already existent European racialist notion of the "low standing Australian race".
The accumulation of empirical material illustrates a determined attempt to know the Indian landscape and village life in order better to exercise economic and political authority. This chapter highlights the more systematic, centralized, totalizing and abstract bodies of knowledge based on fundamental discourses of race, caste and criminality. Until the late eighteenth century orientalist interests in ancient language and culture had prevailed. With the expansion of British control and the attendant demands for an efficient and informed administrative system, however, new types of knowledge were necessary. Equally, and to an extent autonomously of imperial exigencies, the survey represented a new mode of observation akin to that taking place in the metropolitan context. There were continuities with previous knowledge producing processes, but in surveys the accumulation and commodification of observable materials as a scientific enterprise to know India was quite novel.
That the German Social Democratic Party, led by August Bebel, was strongly critical of the conduct of Germany’s war against the Herero and Nama peoples in South-West Africa is well documented. The party’s spokespeople condemned human rights abuses in the colonies, as well as the financial costs of the colonies to the German taxpayer. Less well explored are Social Democrats’ views of the colonized peoples themselves. This paper will examine the views of Germany’s South-West African subjects in the Social Democratic press, with particular focus on the illustrated satirical paper Der Wahre Jacob. Broadly similar to the celebrated magazine Simplicissimus, Der Wahre Jakob had a genuine mass circulation, and it is safe to assume that most party members saw its visual material, and perhaps also read the texts. This paper will consider the representations of Africans in such media in the context of visual representations of Africans more generally in Germany in this period.