“Amok!” Mutinies and Slaves on Dutch East Indiamen in the 1780’s

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In September 1782, a violent and partly successful mutiny of Balinese slaves shocked the Dutch East India Company (VOC). This article will reconstruct the history of the mutiny of the Mercuur, tracing its significance in the context of slavery, labour, war, and the series of ‘‘Asian mutinies’’ that occurred in the 1780s. The revolt of the Balinese sheds light on the development of amok as a tradition of resistance. The purpose of calling amok cannot only be explained as a direct, impulsive response to perceived injustice or violation of codes of honour. It functioned as a conscious call to arms, signalling the start of collective and organized resistance. The Balinese mutiny was both similar to and different from other European and Asian forms of revolt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 109-130
JournalInternational Review of Social History
Issue numberS21
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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