The economic influence of both India and China attributed to the swaths of sea known as Southeast Asia. Merchants traveled back and forth, leading ships filled with valuable and exquisite goods. They once had kept to themselves but later emulated what the British had done in India – turned peoples against each other through manipulation. They exercised the use of their advanced technology and superior weaponry in conquering lesser communities.
In the early 1600s, a Dutch governor-general of the Dutch East India Company worked to control numerous islands and what is now known as Indonesia. His name was Anthony van Diemen, and he worked to politically strengthen the company’s grip on the valuable Spice Islands. After signing a deal with the sultan of Ternate, an island near the Moluccan Sea, control over the profitable lands increased. Several more examples of grasping various lands led to an output of extremely valued goods, such as nutmeg and other spices. The Dutch introduced the coffee plant to Java lands and forced plantations to specifically cultivate this legendary coffee beans. The dark and rich flavor of the coffee elicited by the beans is still known to us today, as some people still label the drink as “java”. As the control over these areas increased, profits began to rise, and the Dutch East India Company found themselves achieving great success.
Following Britain’s forceful actions in India, they began to move towards the eastward Burma. The Burmese fought against the British in a series of three Anglo-Burmese Wars over a span of sixty years. Finally, Burma was conquered by the British in the late 1800s and became a crown colony. The British governed the people and made reforms, such as abolishing the previous monarchy and increasing education. They also exploited the famed Burmese rice, making immense profits from plantations on Burma’s soil. Through the export of other goods and leading a country that exported nearly half of the world’s rice at that time period, Britain benefited greatly whilst the Burmese people suffered. In Malaya, Britain controlled Singapore’s busy port and integrated more Asian goods into their economy.
Britain’s trade along with the trade of the Dutch East India Company brought extreme profit and the cost of the people. From pushed plantations creating Dutch coffee beans to rice trades from the unhappy Burmese people, these two companies proliferated their profits from the Southeast Asian area.
“Dutch East India Company, Trade Network, 18th Century.” Dutch East India Company, Trade Network, 18th Century. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2017.
“South East Asia: Malaya.” South East Asia: Malaya. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2017.
“History Of Burma.” History of Burma. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2017.