DUTCH SHIPS BEFORE THE BANDA ISLANDS
“Rade de Banda” lithograph made by Léon Jean-Babtiste Sabatier after a drawing by Louis Le Breton, printed by Lemercier, Benard et Cie. in Paris in 1846. Coloured by a later hand. Size: 20,6 x 40,7 cm.
The Dutch conquered the Banda islands (part of the Moluccas) in the 17th century to control the production of nutmeg and mace. At the time nutmeg was expensive in Europe. It was an ingredient of quack drugs against the plague, and the Dutch monopoly was very lucrative.
The local people, who were of Melanesian descent, were murdered in 1621 by the Dutch under Jan Pieterszoon Coen and replaced by slaves from Madagascar and Indians. Fort Belgica on Banda Neira, one of the fortresses built by the VOC (on the right of the view), was the largest European fortress in Indonesia.
Louis Le Breton (1818-1866) was a surgeon employed by the French Navy. In the years 1836-48, he took part in a number of long expeditions, including the voyage around the world of Dumont d’Urville aboard the Astrolabe. During this and later travels, he made drawings and watercolours of several cities, including Sacramento, San Francisco, New Orleans and Boston, Rio de Janeiro, places in Oceania, New Zealand and Africa, as well as this view of the Banda Islands. His watercolours made while traveling with the Astrolabe, were exhibited at the Salon de Paris in 1841-1848.
Price: Euro 675, –