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Jatinegara, Witness of the Greatest of Napoleonic War in Asia

“The war of Jatinegara will pass 200 years in August 2011. Will this always be the biggest forgotten war of Napoleon in Asia? “

Being the center of trading activity and pulse dense and chaotic transport is a usual sight of Meester Cornelis, also known by the current name, Jatinegara. Interestingly, the density and activity in the area that is located in east Jakarta has been around for a long time, even its history, the situation is already there from the time of Dutch occupation of hundreds of years ago.

History also recorded previous important events that occurred in the area of lush teak forests. From being the center of prince Jayakarta’s guerilla until great trading in religious teacher Meester Cornelis’ era. However, something’s always forgotten, Napoleon’s greatest war in Asia.

Dutch East Indies under Napoleon

Although it’s still being debated, it should be recognized that before Indonesia was once known as the Dutch East Indies empire, it had fallen into the hands of France’s de Jure or legally. Thus, indirectly, Indonesia existed under the grip of Napoleon, the famous French leader. Indirect submission was a result of the defeat of Netherlands by Napoleon war in Europe.

because of that, Indonesia was automatically dragged into the Napoleon war in the Asian zone. Not surprisingly, Indonesia quickly became the target of the British soldier raid which was then the great enemy of France based in Malaya (now Malaysia and Singapore).

Evidence of the influence of Napoleon in homeland is the emergence of a military figure named Daendels, the originator of the Panarukan Anyer Post Road. Daendels is a Dutch-born but loyal cult of Napoleon, he received direct orders from Napoleon to keep Java from British attack. But until Daendels was called to come home by Napoleon for take part in invasion to Russia, the raid from British troops never happened.

The British attack happened when Daendels was replaced by Jansen, whose war capabilities isn’t as good as Daendels.

The Forgotten War

The landing of British troops in Cilincing, North Jakarta, 200 years ago was a very easy landing, because Jansen ran back toward the south without using perfectly the war facilities that had been prepared by Daendels. Finally the French troops gathered in Jatinegara, who was then completed by military barracks and forts.

In Jatinegara, eighteen thousand people combined forces of France, the Netherlands and the local army fought against twelve thousand people British troops.

The Two major forces then continued to attack and defend for 10 days. At that time, 10 days was a long time for a large-scale warfare. Many considerations can determine the time the war victory, not only weapons and troops, but also morale became a factor of victory.

Interestingly in this 10-day war, the British and the French were very polite and understanding. They “both knew” when to choose the hours of starting the war and take a break in the middle of the war. They would begin the attack as both sides prepared for battle at 9 am and stopped the war at 8 pm.

After the troops won in the moral conscious and the number, the British troops became more aggressive and successfully besieged French troops who already split and ran to Bogor.

One thing that’s interesting to be noted in history is the pride of the French forces. The remaining French troops who did not want to be shameful state prisoners prefer to blow themselves together in amunitions warehouse. As a result England won without capturing any of the French soldier.

Since the explosion at the warehouse and the British victory, Jatinegara has been a silent witness of 10-day war.

Different Fate of War in Trafalgar, Waterloo and Jatinegara

Although the timing of Jatinegara battle was close to the battle of Waterloo and Trafalgar in the Europe zone, its fate is never the same as the two wars in Europe.

Jatinegara War disappeared without leaving any meaningful legacy of trace. There is no monument to remember the story of this war, no attempting to make Jatinegara war stories as tourist spot, and nothing has been made for making Jatinegara as one of interesting place to visit.

No wonder our neighboring countries are able to attract much more foreign and local tourists because they can maximize the little things they have.

Will the war Jatinegara remain to be the forgotten war after 200 years?

Ask about it seriously then it will happen … just like Harry Potter movies that recently came in to the country.


Felix Kusmanto

Source: Kompasiana

Translated and rewritten for Good News From Indonesia by Cindy Frishanti
Edited by Farah Fitriani

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This post was posted by:

cfrishanti - who has posted 3 posts on Good News From Indonesia.

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One Response to “Jatinegara, Witness of the Greatest of Napoleonic War in Asia”

  1. Felix Kusmanto says:

    Thanks for sharing this article.

    Hope it will be useful for everyone.



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