Koninklijk Nederlands-Indische Leger (KNIL), the Royal Dutch Indies Army

 Updated: 02/02/2010

The Netherlanders had to fight against many revolts in Netherlands Indies for what purpose they maintained a colonial army. 1819 achieved this colonial army a force level of 13,286 soldiers (7,820 Europeans and 5,466 locals).
After the revolt of the Sultan Palembang (South Sumatra) was suppressed in 1825 with a lot of trouble and high losses, a next revolt broke out in Central Java guided by the Prince of Diponegoro. This revolt which was named later on the Java War lasted five years. By this the colonial army was enlarged to a forced of more than 24,000. A continuous crisis developed too on Sumatra. The revolt of the Muslims, guided by the Padris (the ingenious), could become suppressed only in 1845.
After the end of Java War 1830, the colonial army occurred as an independent army; the combination of armed forces in Netherlands was lifted. The rating "Royal" was loaned this army later hardly six years. At the beginning was the Royal Netherlands Indian Army (KNIL) a kind Foreign Legion, existing from Germans, Belgians, Austrians and even Africans of the Gold Coast that then still appertained in Netherlands.

The surface of the colonial administration area became the 19th century larger and larger in the process so that the maintaining of rest and arrangement required a greater and greater military strength. The force level of the KNIL was almost 36,000 in 1916 and on their climax in 1940 more than 76,000 soldiers. Too the relation between Europeans and locals varied. Up to the German unification in 1870, the relation was almost balanced, according to 1921 conducted the relation between European to local 1 for 4.

About the history of Dutch Indies





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