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Fort Vicroria copy.jpg


“Gezicht van het fort Victoria, gelegen aan de baaij van het eiland Amboina, gouvernement der Moluksche eilanden 1818”

Watercolour on paper, 36.5 x 55.4 cm


In 1816 the Dutch navy returned to Indonesia to restore Dutch rule over Indonesia after seven years of English rule. This was not received with much joy on some of the islands of the Indonesian archipelago. In May 1817 the population of the island of Saparoea rose in revolt under their leader Thomas Matulesia. They killed the Dutch governor van den Berg, his wife and three of his four children. The six-year-old Jean Lubberts miraculously survived the massacre and lived in the jungle for six months with the help of the freed slave of his parents, Salomo Pattiwaal. In October 1817 a squadron of three ships, including the “Evertsen” under command of Maurits Ver Huell, with fresh troops arrived and suppressed the uprising. The twelfth of November the little boy Jean Lubberts was discovered in the jungle and taken aboard the “Evertsen”. Together with Matulesia and other leaders of the rebellion, they sailed to Ambon where Matulesia was tried and executed. In March 1818 Jean Lubberts sailed on the “Evertsen” from Ambon to Soerabaja where he was lodged with his grandmother. Of all these and other events Maurits Ver Huell (1787-1860), a naval officer, collector of naturalia and self-taught draughtsman, made many drawings and watercolours. He also described these events in his memoirs Herinneringen aan een reis naar Oost Indiën, published in 1835. Over a hundred of his watercolours were later donated to the Maritime Museum Rotterdam. For a watercolour of the island of Mauritius by Ver Huell see Uit Verre Streken, March 2015, no. 18.

Just to the right of the ship (the “Evertsen”?), the well-known water gate of fort Nieuw Victoria can be seen and on the left some Dutch naval officers are being carried ashore.

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