Stephen Grenville writes:
Nicholas Stuart is right in spotting an error in The Guardian’s Indonesia Quiz, but he misses the best part of the British connection in only mentioning their presence at the end of WWII. Much more interesting is the presence of the British during and after the Napoleonic Wars. In particular, Raffles was in charge of Java, and later Bengkulu, before he founded Singapore. Traces remain today: his wife’s grave in Jakarta; the Bogor gardens (which he founded, and where there is a touching monument to his wife [pictured]); and he rediscovered Borobudur. The main street of Yogyakarta, Jalan Malioboro, is surely named after the Duke of Marlborough.
And to test our knowledge of Indonesia by asking us about tree kangaroos is just plain unfair.
I was glad to see the riposte on The Guardian's questions about Indonesia. I wasn't going to bother you with my own reaction to the question about Britain and occupation/colonisation, but the inner historian has got the better of me.
Britain effectively administered the Dutch East Indies as a colony during parts of the Napoleonic wars, when Stamford Raffles was appointed lieutenant governor and wrote his magnificent two volume 'History of Java'. He later represented Britain for a short period in Bencoolen, Sumatra.
If as I assume 'colonising or occupying' Indonesia include the islands before its current statehood, the British invaded Java in 1811 and ruled it until returned to the Dutch in 1814 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The founder of Singapore, Stamford Raffles, was appointed as Lieutenant Governor of Java.
Photo by Flickr user Mark 75.