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The United East India Company (VOC) on Ambon 1605-1788

Debriefing reports and instructions drawn up by the governors of Ambon for their successors in the 17th and 18th centuries

Edited by G.J. Knaap

This edition of debriefing reports and instructions passed on by governors of Ambon to their successors in the 17th and 18th centuries came about as a result of work carried out by the Ambon Studies Commission (Commissie Ambon Studies). When this commission was established one of the first goals it set itself was to enhance existing knowledge about the history of the Ambonese or Central Moluccan Islands during the Dutch colonial administration. The first step in this direction has been taken with the publication of these reports.

These debriefing reports and instructions were general reports written during the regime of the United East India Company (VOC) by consecutive governors from a specific area when they transferred command to their successors. The reports were compiled personally by the governor and provided his successor with a complete update on a whole range of issues.

The thirty exit reports featured in this edition originate for the most part from the collection entitled Overgekomen Brieven en Papieren [Trans. Incoming Letters and Papers] that belonged to the VOC’s Amsterdam office. At the time of processing these documents it was decided not to reproduce the texts in full but to make summaries of the less relevant passages. The documents contain annotations and references to other related correspondence in the VOC archive which is considered relevant. Finally, the general index and glossary provide additional information about individuals, words and terms.

To facilitate research in the VOC archives, an online general VOC glossary has been compiled based on separate glossaries (explanations of terms) that were published in the Dutch series Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatiën (RGP).