After dealing with life, medical issues, and a bout of COVID, I am back - I have put aside the War of the Americas AU for awhile and will be presenting the following new project:
Dominion of Nusantara (the East Indies) 1822-1950:
Official name: Heerschappij van Nusantara (HvN)
Established: March 17, 1822 (“Foundation Day” – celebrated as a national holiday)
Official languages: Dutch, Malay, Javanese
Flag: Horizontal tricolor of blue, white, and orange with the national motto “Welvaart, Ijver, Vrijheid” (“Prosperity, Diligence, Freedom”) in black centered on the middle (white) stripe.
Government: Constitutional parliamentary democracy.
Unit of currency: Gulden (abbrev. Gn)
Demographics and Economy:
Population (1950): 67,457,017
GDP (PPP): 202.4 billion Gn (112.4 billion USD)
GDP: 196.8 billion Gn (109.4 billion USD)
GDP per capita (PPP): 3,000 Gn (1,667 USD)
GDP per capita: 2,918 Gn (1,621 USD)
Government budget: 30.9 billion Gn (17.2 billion USD)
Military expenditures as % of GDP: 1.30%
Military budget: 2.56 billion Gn (1.42 billion USD)
Exports: 2.18 billion Gn (1.21 billion USD)
Imports: 1.34 billion Gn (0.74 billion USD)
Navy (August 3, 1825): Koninklijke Nusantara Marine; KNM (Royal Nusantara Navy)
Naval Ensign: National flag in the canton (upper hoist quarter) with a white field and red symmetric cross.
Naval Prefix: Koninklijke Nusantara Schip; KNS (Royal Nusantara Ship)
Marines (May 15, 1826): Koninklijke Nusantara Korps Mariniers; KNKM (Royal Nusantara Marine Corps)
Army (September 20, 1833): Koninklijke Nusantara Landmacht; KNL (Royal Nusantara Army)
Revenue-Marine (June 14, 1845): Koninklijke Nusantara Maritieme Ontvangstendienst; KNMO (Royal Nusantara Maritime Revenue Agency) – disbanded 1919
Air Force (March 11, 1915): Koninklijke Nusantara Luchtmacht; KNLu (Royal Nusantara Air Force)
Coast Guard (February 7, 1919): Koninklijke Nusantara Kustwacht; KNK (Royal Nusantara Coast Guard)
Following the disastrous end of the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-1784), the economy of both the Netherlands and previously powerful Dutch East India Company had been devastated, with the latter dissolved by January 1, 1800. Within six years, the Batavian Republic (as the Netherlands were then known), had become a French puppet state under Napoleon known as the Kingdom of Holland. Thus control of the important colony of the East Indies passed to the French Empire and administered by the Dutch.
As the Napoleonic Wars wore on, the British moved against the East Indies as part of their campaign against the French Empire. By 1811, the British had successfully occupied Java and several other important Dutch East Indies ports gaining control of the area, which they held for another four years.
1815: Control of the East Indies is returned to the Netherlands following the end of the Napoleonic Wars under the terms of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814. Two years later, the Dutch had regained full control of Java and other parts of the archipelago and began rapidly expanding their rule over other independent polities within the East Indies beginning with Sumatra.
1818: Emiel Thijssen, a young merchant and son of an expatriate Dutch father and Javanese mother, seeing the growing resentment in his adopted homeland among the indigenous peoples living under Dutch rule and fearing potential uprisings, embarks on a bold effort to gain independence for the East Indies. Working with the leaders of major East Indies ethnic groups such as the Javanese, Sudanese, and Malay, as well as the emigrant and expatriate Dutch population, Thijssen begins building support for a (hopefully) peaceful split with the Netherlands government through the creation of a self-governing sovereign nation and convenes a constitutional convention in the township of Surabaya in June of 1819.
1819: In September, the Surabaya Convention adopts the name “Nusantara” for the proposed nation at Thijssen's suggestion. The name originated from a Kawi (Old Javanese) word meaning “collection of islands” or “archipelago”, which Thijssen choose to honor his mother’s heritage.
1820: Thijssen travels to the Netherlands with a draft of the proposed Nusantara constitution and meets with government officials who are initially resistant to the idea.
Part I (1822-1903):
1822: After two years of often heated negotiations, a compromise agreement is reached. The East Indies will be allowed self-rule and the creation of an independent military in exchange for the new “dominion” remaining loyal to the crown and accepting Dutch parliamentary oversight of foreign policy as well as the power to amend the proposed constitution. In addition, the Netherlands would be granted “most favored nation” status in regards to trade.
The finalized Articles of Dominion are signed on March 17th, creating the Dominion of Nusantara (Dutch: Heerschappij van Nusantara; HvN). By November of 1823 the new country’s constitution has been adopted. The capital is established in Batavia on the principle island of Java – ironically in the former colonial governor’s headquarters – and parliament is called January 5, 1924. This First Parliament is the only one in the country’s history to be appointed and not elected and in turn appoints Emiel Thijssen as the new nation’s first prime minister.
1823: Thijssen’s controlling faction in Nusantara parliament is organized into the country’s first political party – the Yayasan (Foundation) Party.
1824: The Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 is signed between the UK and the Netherlands. The treaty addressed issues arising from the earlier Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, reaffirming British control of the Malay Peninsula while requiring it to surrender all claims to Java and Sumatra in Nusantara. In exchange, the Netherlands agreed to surrender all Dutch territory in Malaysia and India to the British. The three parties affected by the treaty (UK, Holland, and Nusantara) are guaranteed free and unrestricted trade and would cooperate in the suppression of both the slave trade and piracy throughout the region.
Meanwhile, the first indigenously built Nusantara merchant ships enter service with a number of companies, most of which had already been established by Dutch interests after 1814. Surabaya becomes the earliest center for shipbuilding in Nusantara and many ships are constructed of native teak wood in addition to imported hardwoods.
1825: The first branch of the Nusantaran military – the Koninklijke Nusantara Marine (Royal Nusantara Navy) – is formally established on August 3rd. A year later, the first warships to enter service with the new navy are commissioned. KNS (Koninklijke Nusantara Schip - Royal Nusantara Ship) Java
and KNS Sumatra
are two ex-Dutch merchantmen converted to 36-gun frigates using surplus armaments purchased from the Netherlands.
1826: The Koninklijke Nusantara Korps Mariniers (Royal Nusantara Marine Corps) is established on May 15th and the first detachments deploy aboard the Java
by the end of the month.
1827: The expansion of Nusantara’s government presence into the remaining unorganized territory of the islands of Sumatra and Java begins. By 1828, the government formally claims the western half of New Guinea but doesn’t establish a permanent presence there until 1898.
1830: The first large ironworks in Nusantara – the Ruysch Works – is established.
1831: A new class of heavy frigates; the 44-gun Halmahera
class, enters service. Four; Halmahera, Nias, Sumbawa
, and Taliabu
, are built – the last commissioning in late October of 1833. After the introduction of the Timor
class of steam frigates they were placed in limited commission until being retired in late 1872.
1833: The Koninklijke Nusantara Landmacht (Royal Nusantara Army) is established on September 20th, replacing the previous island militia units created shortly after the country’s founding.
1834: KNS Oyo
, the first of a class of 18-gun sail corvettes, is commissioned. She is followed into service by Ayung, Wera
, and Kumu
, during 1834 and Toru, Solo, Laki
, and Cisadane
1836: The founding Yayasan Party loses control of Nusantara parliament in the general elections held this year in favor of the new Coalitie (Coalition) Party and Emiel Thijssen is replaced by Jan Ngurawan as prime minister. Ngurawan immediately proposes and Parliament passes a sweeping program of infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals.
1845: The Koninklijke Nusantara Maritieme Ontvangstendienst (Royal Nusantara Maritime Revenue Agency) is created June 14th. It will be disbanded following the Great War and replaced by the Royal Nusantara Coast Guard. The new service’s first revenue cutters are the eleven brig-sloops of the Ijver
class which remain in commission from 1846-1877.
1853: The Nusantara Naval Academy is established in the coastal city of Bengkulu on Sumatra. The first class of graduates receives their commissions four years later. In March of 1855, the old frigate Sumatra
is assigned to the Academy as its first training vessel.
1855: Year the Sumatra and Java frontiers are generally considered closed as Nusantara governmental control and representation in parliament is by now found throughout the islands. Improvements to local infrastructure are on-going, however.
1858: KNS Timor
– the first of six steam frigates to join the Nusantara Navy – is commissioned. She is followed by Seram, Flores, Yamdena, Buru
, and Madura
. All are in service by the end of 1859. The new ships’ engines – purchased from Morgan Iron Works in the US – were built to merchant ship standards and although of high quality, were underpowered for naval use. As a result, these ships proved to be disappointing in service which leads to their early retirement after the introduction of the Ayung
class steam corvettes the following decade. The poor performance of these ships persuades the government to begin investing in locally produced engines, boilers, and ancillary machinery for future military and civilian ships.
1860: Emiel Thijssen dies at the age of 71. Known as the “Father of Nusantara”, he is considered a national hero by his countrymen still today and was widely respected for his principled leadership abroad during his time as prime minister.
1861-1865: During the American Civil War, both the Netherlands and Nusantara were officially neutral but despite this, the KNM actively pursued Confederate ships operating in their waters, capturing several blockade runners and in November of 1863 narrowly missed capturing the CSS Alabama
as she passed through the Strait of Sunda. The frigates Seram
attempted to intercept the faster Confederate raider and did exchange fire, although neither side suffered any serious damage before the Alabama
escaped. Nevertheless, after this incident, Confederate ships gave Nusantaran territorial waters a wide berth for the rest of the War.
1862: First large enclaves established throughout southern Borneo. Due to the large iron deposits found there, many of these enclaves are devoted to mining and the establishment of additional ironworks.
1864: Parliament passes the Naval Act of 1864. This first of its kind legislature is intended to address shortcomings in the current navy, particularly in light of the Alabama Incident the previous year. The Act calls for a class of steam corvettes and gunboats to be built to support and eventually replace the frigates.
In September, construction begins on KNS Surabaya
in her namesake shipyard. She is the first of the gunboats called for by the 1864 Naval Act, and the first Nusantaran naval ship to use indigenously produced steam engines. She commissions in November of 1866. Completion of the rest of the class of eighteen proceeds quickly with the last two; KNS Palembang
and KNS Malang
commissioned in March of the following year.
1865: The first railway line in Nusantara opens on the island of Java. It is built to standard gauge allowing for the widest availability of locomotives and rolling stock, which must be purchased through foreign sources.
1866: The crews of the Confederate ships (mostly civilian blockade runners) seized during the American Civil War are repatriated back to the US.
1871: The last of twelve steam corvettes called for by the 1864 Naval Act commissions. The Ayung
class is barque-rigged but mounts powerful locally produced engines and is among the fastest of their kind in the world; quickly replacing the Timor
class frigates in frontline service.
1872: The Naval Act of 1872 calls for a class of “coast defense” monitors for the first time as well as a class of armored corvettes to be built. In addition, the Act calls for the establishment of additional naval bases and stations and an expansion of the government shipyards in Surabaya to permit the construction of larger ships. Although local armaments manufacturing is discussed, the time and costs involved are deemed prohibitive and the issue is tabled for the time being – meaning Nusantara must rely on foreign ordnance for the foreseeable future.
1874: The expansion of the Surabaya Navy Yard is completed. In September, construction begins on KNS Bratan
, a twin-turret breastwork-type monitor. The first of four such ships, the Bratan
is noteworthy as not only the first armored ship built for the Nusantaran Navy, but also the first such ship built locally (except for armaments, which are purchased from the UK). These ships represented a huge leap in both naval architecture and industrial capacity for the country and naturally took a long time to design and build – not commissioning until 1879-1880.
1877: The KNS Mesuji
is commissioned. She is the first of the so-called “1872” composite (wood over iron framing) armored corvettes and is followed by eight sister-ships over the next eighteen months. They prove to be successful as well as long-lived, with the last active member, KNS Permali
, finally decommissioned in August of 1908.
1878: The first railway on Sumatra opens with a line from Bandar Lampung to Palembang. This line is extended to the provincial capital of Pekanbaru during the late 1890’s and finally to the port city of Medan by 1918.
1879: The metric system is officially adopted by the Nusantaran government – including the military – although the Imperial (UK) system remains in casual or common use in many regions of Nusantara.
1881: KNS Woyla
– a Mesuji
class corvette – is destroyed by a magazine explosion while anchored at Surabaya – killing over two hundred of her crew. This is the worst peacetime accident in the Nusantara Navy’s history and leads to more stringent safety and training standards throughout the service.
1883: In an effort to modernize the Navy, the Naval Act of 1883 called for the acquisition of six modern steel-hulled cruisers (two armored, four protected) as well as a new class of corvettes/gunboats. As the country’s existing shipyards had little experience with large armored warships the Navy Procurement Board approached major British and Dutch shipyards for assistance. Britain submitted designs for both the proposed armored and protected cruisers while the Dutch declined, sighting prohibitive costs and lack of shipyard availability – but suggested the German firm of Germaniawerft instead. Meanwhile, the new gunboats would be built locally save for guns – which would have to be purchased abroad.
Nearly a year would pass while the Board debated with the final decision being in favor of the British for both new classes. However, literally hours before the contracts were signed, Naval Minister Martijn Adelmund stepped in and overruled the Board – giving the contracts to Germaniawerft. The British naturally cried foul at this, but the Netherlands government supported the decision. The subsequent discovery of payoffs from Germaniawerft to Prime Minister Salikin Irodikromo and several member of his cabinet including Minister Adelmund caused the first serious political scandal in the country’s history and brought down the government with a parliamentary vote of no confidence in February of 1884.
1884: Following the ouster of Irodikromo as prime minister and the loss of a majority by the Coalitie Party, a special election saw a new party; the Kamerdikan (Freedom) Party gains a slight majority and appointed Pieter Dasai as prime minister. Dasai was immediately confronted with seriously damaged diplomatic relations with Britain and Holland – which had referred Germaniawerft on good faith – over the so-called “Procurement Affair”, and so sent his Minister of State, Hendrik Staal, to Europe to try and smooth things over. As for the 1883 Naval Act, it becomes the only such act in Nusantara history to be rescinded. The Admiralty is incensed of course but can do little until a new act is passed by Parliament.
1885: A special naval procurement act is passed by Parliament to replace the provision in the cancelled Naval Act of 1883 calling for the construction of a new class of steel-hulled gunboats, which were always intended to be produced locally. Construction on the first; KNS Balikpapan
, begins by January of 1887.
1887: The Naval Act of 1887 is passed by Parliament. Essentially a revisit of the cancelled 1883 Act, the new plan still called for the acquisition of two armored cruisers and four protected cruisers, however as relations with the Netherlands and Germany were still poor only the UK re-submitted designs and then only after lengthy negotiations with Minister Staal convinced the skeptical British that Nusantara was serious about the proposed agreement.
1888: The keels for the armored cruisers Aceh
are laid down in the Pembroke and Chatham yards in the UK. These ships were essentially identical to the Royal Navy’s Orlando
class armored cruisers.
1890: Shipyard availability and design revisions delay the start of the new protected cruisers as the Apollo
class on which the Nusantara ships were now based were still under construction and only begin to be launched in the summer of the year, thereby clearing the slipways for the new construction.
1891: The last Balikpapan
class gunboat; KNS Tarakan
, is commissioned. These twelve vessels are the first steel-hulled ships in the KNM and the first to be built locally. They are larger, faster, and more heavily armed than their predecessors of the Surabaya
class, and most remain in service until the 1920’s.
commission into the Navy. Although they will be the only foreign-built armored cruisers to be built for the Nusantaran Navy, they quickly prove to be excellent additions vindicating the Procurement Board’s original decision. They remain in service until the mid 1920’s.
1897: The last of the four Kapuas
class protected cruisers built in the UK is commissioned in June. Along with her sisters; Barito, Sepik
, and Mahakam
– all named for Nusantara rivers – the new ships were another welcome addition to the fleet, well-built and liked by their crews. The last of this class in active service, KMS Sepik
, is retired in 1925.
1898: The major naval battles of the Spanish-American War – particularly the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines in May and the decisive Battle of Santiago in Cuba two months later were watched intently by Nusantara Naval Intelligence and their reports to the Admiralty spurred debate in the Navy Ministry as to the navy’s current limitations. It was realized for the first time that Nusantara’s territory itself could be threatened and the existing navy would be unable to cope with such a threat. With the Spanish Empire crushed the US was the new player in the Western Pacific while the British had control of the Malay Peninsula and indeed, control of the Indian Ocean. France, and to a lesser extent Germany, also had territorial possessions in the region, plus there was the emerging power of Japan to consider.
Although these “threats” were considered minimal as Nusantara had good relations with most of these countries and also had reached out to the Japanese Empire for the first time – establishing diplomatic relations the previous August, it was still thought prudent to expand the Navy to better protect the nation’s interests – particularly her trade – and so in late October, the Parliament passed the Naval Act of 1898 which called for a strengthening of the navy by acquiring additional cruisers as well as a small group of battleships to form the core of a standing battlefleet.
1899: KNS Karmozijn
, the first of a group of six torpedo boats, is laid down at Surabaya – all are in service by the 1901. They are followed by a second group of nearly identical boats; the Azuur
class (10) in 1902-03, and a third modified group; the Indigo
class (10) of 1905-06, giving Nusantara a force of twenty-six in all. They are very successful in service but become obsolete very quickly and are replaced by true destroyers starting in 1910, but a few remain in service into the early 1920’s.
1900: The keel for KNS Marapi
– the first Nusantaran battleship – is laid down in Portsmouth Dockyard in the UK. A modified version of the British London
class, the lead ship is followed over the next three months by two sister-ships; Sundoro
, all named for Nusantaran volcanic mountains. Although the original plan was for five battleships, the costs were prohibitive and the class was cut to three vessels, all of which commissioned during 1903.
1901: The Cipinang
, the first of a class of six protected cruisers, is laid down in the UK. Envisioned as “trade protection cruisers” the new ships are based on the British Pelorus
design and are not intended for duty with the main battlefleet, but rather as patrol vessels or to protect Nusantara’s rapidly expanding merchant fleet. Only the class ship is built abroad, the rest of the class are built by local shipyards, with all six are in service by mid-1904. Cipinang
thus becoming the last Nusantaran warship ordered through British shipyards (although British naval architects were heavily involved in the design of the later Mamberamo
class light cruisers).
1902: A second naval shipyard opens in Tanjung Priok, Jakarta Province. The first ships built there are four of the Azuur
class torpedo boats.
1903: KNS Ijen
, the last of the Marapi
class battleships to enter service, commissions in October. With these first true capital ships, Nusantara is recognized as an emerging naval power by several European nations as well as the US, but still lags behind the other emerging nation in the Western Pacific – Japan, who in the span of only two years, would cement her place as the dominate force in the region and a potentially serious rival to Nusantara.
Java and Sumatra - sail frigates:
The first warships commissioned into the Nusantaran Navy, KNS Java
) and KNS Sumatra
), were converted from Dutch merchantmen and were often listed together in contemporary records, but were not a “class” as such, as they had been originally built at different shipyards to different merchant designs. Rated at 36-guns, they were armed with surplus weapons purchased from the Dutch Navy, which was still downsizing following the Napoleonic Wars. Intended as stopgaps until purpose-built ships could take their place, neither was considered completely successful as during reconstruction they had to have their hulls shored up for naval use and once armed were much heavier as a result. Unsurprisingly, they were slower than other nations frigates and handled poorly even in light seas.
was severely damaged in a grounding accident in 1842 and was removed from active service, becoming a receiving ship before being broken up in 1853. Sumatra
was re-classed as a training vessel in 1855 and assigned to the Nusantara Navy Academy. Renamed Avontuur
, the ship was extensively rebuilt beginning in 1864 and emerged from the yard re-rigged as a barque with a reduced main battery of 16 Dahlgren 20-pounder rifles. Re-commissioned in August of 1865, Avontuur
served for another fifteen years before being retired in 1880.
In commission: 1826-1855
Displacement: 1,230 ts
Dimensions: Length (w/l) 47.3m, beam 12.2m, draft 6.1m
Propulsion: 3-masts, full-ship rigged; 3-masts, barque-rigged (Avontuur
after 1864-65 rebuild)
Performance: 10-11 knots; 11-12 knots (Avontuur
after 1864-65 rebuild)
Armament: 18-22 x 24-pdr MLS, 16-20 x 18-pdr MLS and/or 32 pdr carronades
Coming up: more sailing warships and the first steam-powered vessels