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International Journal of Law and Management

The Johor-VOC Alliance and the Twelve Years Truce: Factionalism, Intrigue and International Diplomacy (1606–13)

Peter Borschberg
National University of Singapore
Abstract :

Using published and unpublished documents of Dutch, Portuguese and Malay provenance, the present study explores how news of the Twelve Years’ Truce in December 1609 negatively impacted politics and commerce at the court of the Kingdom of Johor. Since 1603, Johor had emerged as one of the principal allies of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in the region of the Singapore and Malacca Straits, and after 1606 it had proven itself as a worthy ally in the company’s war on the Iberian powers across Southeast Asia. It will be argued that confusion resulting from the news of the truce on the ground in Asia exacerbated factionalism at the court. The Johor ruler, Alauddin Riayat Shah III, and especially his younger sibling Raja Bongsu, were incensed and evidently felt they had been left to carry on the struggle against Portuguese Malacca on their own. Unable to continue the war effort without Dutch funds, subsidies and ammunition, the pro-Portuguese faction at the Johor court brokered a peace with the Estado da Índia in October 1610. This deal led to the fall of Raja Bongsu’s pro-Dutch faction at the court. This essay provides the political and historical backdrop to the writing and revision of theSejarah Melayu, or Malay Annals, in or around 1612.

Keywords :
Diplomacy, Dutch East India Company (VOC), treaty agreements

Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2016 14:50

Last Modified : 28 Mar 2016 14:50

Official URL:

Volume 2009, Number 8, - 2009 , ISSN 1552-6275

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