Swiss Mercenaries in the Dutch East Indies
‘Swiss Mercenaries in the Dutch Indies’ reveals profound effects of colonialism not only on the colonies themselves, but also on the social, economic and cultural landscape of the European hinterland.
Between 1848 and 1914, around 5,800 Swiss Mercenaries enlisted in the Dutch Colonial Army (KNIL) to fight in the Dutch East Indies, now modern-day Indonesia. This book traces the paths of these mercenaries beyond the boundaries of the Dutch Empire, shedding light on the intricacies of nineteenth-century military labour markets. It delves deep into their social backgrounds, motivations, intimate relationships, and their role in the violent expansion of the colonial empire. In doing so, it unveils the profound impacts of Dutch colonialism, not only on the colonies themselves but also on the social, economic, and cultural landscape of the European hinterland.