17th-Century Burma and the Dutch East India Company 1634-1680

by Wil O. Dijk

  • Published:
  • Pages: 366 pp.
  • illustrated
  • Series number: 102
Available from NIAS Press in Europe

Broadens, indeed transforms, our understanding of 17th-century Burmese trade and political economy. Wil Dijk has unearthed and explored exceptionally rich Dutch sources that no one suspected existed.

• Broadens (indeed transforms) our understanding of 17th-century Burmese trade and political economy.
• To date, research on precolonial Burma has relied overwhelm-ingly on Burmese language sources, with European materials considered of marginal value.
• Wil Dijk has unearthed a veritable treasure trove of exceptionally rich Dutch sources that no one suspected existed.

Seventeenth-century Burma was rich in resources and for a while experienced peace and security. As a result, foreigners flocked to the country’s shores. The Dutch East India Company had one of the most active foreign operations in Burma during this period. Its vast archives discuss trade, but also contain detailed information about the people and places that VOC officials encountered in Burma. Wil Dijk’s account of this period opens a new window into Burma’s past. This is, in short, an impressive piece of scholarship.

The book is accompanied by a CD containing a range of appendices.

author image not supplied

Wil Dijk is a Dutch academic with a Burmese background.   She left Asia around the time of the Second World War and eventually studied Japanese at Leiden University.  Her book comes from her work on her doctoral disseration.

Wil Dijk is a Dutch academic with a Burmese background.   She left Asia around the time of the Second World War and eventually studied Japanese at Leiden University.  Her book comes from her work on her doctoral disseration.

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by Mike Charney, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
From journal:
H-Asia, December 2009

“The book […] represents the most complete survey of VOC material (at the Dutch National Archives in The Hague) on any mainland Southeast Asian country. The book is thus extremely well documented and much of this documentation is available in the form of a CD-ROM in the rear pocket of the book.”

“The book […] represents the most complete survey of VOC material (at the Dutch National Archives in The Hague) on any mainland Southeast Asian country. The book is thus extremely well documented and much of this documentation is available in the form of a CD-ROM in the rear pocket of the book.”

by Bertil Lintner
From journal:
The Irrawaddy, February 2007

"An invaluable contribution to the study of Burmese history.

… No one could be better suited to write about a little-known, yet important, chapter in Burma’s history."

"An invaluable contribution to the study of Burmese history.

… No one could be better suited to write about a little-known, yet important, chapter in Burma’s history."

by Tilman Frasch
From journal:
Internationales Asien Forum (International Quarterly for Asian Studies) Vol. 39, 3-4, 2008

"Dijk’s book is a solid economic history and fills a major gap in the history of Euro-Asiatic trade."

"Dijk’s book is a solid economic history and fills a major gap in the history of Euro-Asiatic trade."

by Donald M. Stadtner
From journal:
Journal of Early Modern History Vol. 11, 4-5, 2007

"The context of Dutch-Burma relations has remained in the shadows until the appearance of this new book.

"The context of Dutch-Burma relations has remained in the shadows until the appearance of this new book.

…This book will not only appeal to those interested solely in Burma but to the growing number of scholars pursuing the broader issues surrounding European expansion.  The book is also blissfully untouched by the heady modern jargon that too often is a substitute for clear thinking and disciplined research.

…This book will make a solid addition to many scholars’ bookshelves across a number of disciplines."

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