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Batavia during 17th century is the biggest port city in south east Asia, the main port of Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) to control trade in Asia. From Batavia spices, copper, and silk were sent to Europe.

Batavia during 17th century is the biggest port city in south east Asia, the main port of Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) to control trade in Asia. From Batavia, spices, copper and silk were sent to Europe. (Source: UPT Kota Tua)

Prosperous port city, well organized, and clear river water… Tom Pires on his book Suma Oriental described about Kalapa, a city port of a Hindu Kingdom in Java Island.

Pires was on the voyage of four Portuguese ships sail from Malacca in Malaya peninsula to Java led by de Alvin in 1513. Pires also notes that a port in the estuary of Ciliwung river, later known as Sunda Kalapa, was well governed as there were port master, judge, and port treasurer (mangkubumi).

Sunda Kalapa ruler was Sanghyang Surawisesa whose father Sri Baduga Ratu Jayadewa the king of Pakuan pajajaran, had had him sent to Malacca in previous year to request for help from Alfonso d’ Albuquerque to encounter the coming influence from Islamic Kingdom of Demak and Cirebon. According to Pires, Kalapa administrator only permitted small numbers of Islamic merchant vessel to enter the harbour. But Jakarta historian, Ridwan Saidi, said there was significant numbers of Moslem merchant lived peacefully along with their Hindu host in Sunda Kalapa.

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