The First Invasion of East Timor: The Unknown Portuguese Conquest of the 17th Century – a seminar by Assoc Prof Hans Hägerdal (Mon, 13 February 2012)

Speaker: Assoc Prof Hans Hägerdal (School of Cultural Sciences, Linnaeus University)
Date: Monday, 13 February 2012
Time: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Venue: AS3, Level 6, SEAS Seminar Room (06-20)

The Portuguese colonial enterprise in maritime Asia, the Estado da Índia, was severely weakened in the course of the seventeenth century. Due to competition with their Dutch rivals, the VOC, and interior problems of administration and resources, the far-flung Portuguese ’empire’ dwindled and had lost nearly all its strongholds in Southeast Asia by the time that peace with the Netherlands was negotiated in 1661-63. There was nevertheless one area that saw a significant expansion of Portuguese authority. This was Timor and its adjacent islands. This process has been insufficiently elucidated in the printed scholarly literature. During the better part of the seventeenth century the authority of the local Portuguese group was expanded through a long series of advances, often in deadly rivalry with the Dutch VOC. Drawing from recent, extensive research in colonial archives, this lecture discusses the economic and strategical factors at work in this process, and the local political culture that enabled the Portuguese mestizo population to dominate large areas without substantial support from the Estado da Índia.

About the speaker
Hans Hägerdal is one of the premier Asia scholars of Sweden. He is an Associate Professor of History at Linnaeus University in Växjö, and has written extensively on East and Southeast Asian history, in both English and Swedish. Among his publications are Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Lombok and Bali in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (2001), and as editor, Responding to the West: Essays of Colonial Domination and Asian Agency (2009). Prof. Hägerdal is known in Sweden for his popular books on Vietnamese and Chinese history, Vietnams Historia (2005) and Kinas History (2008). He has also conducted research at IIAS in Leiden, Netherlands, and the Centre for East and Southeast Asian Studies in Lund, Sweden. His book Lords of the Land, Lords of the Sea: Conflict and Adaptation in Early Colonial Timor, 1600-1800 (2012) has just been published by KITLV Press.