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Undergraduate Research Journal

Abstract

This essay will explore these extraordinary circumstances. What role did the clergy play in the Dutch colonial intervention on Formosa? How and for what purposes did the VOC employ missionaries? In order to answer these questions, I will especially look at the interaction between the ecclesiastical staff and the VOC-government. This paper will frame the interactions between the Formosan native populations, the Dutch clergymen and the colonial government as a complex political microcosm that was characterised by several conflicts of interest. It suggests that the dual function of the clergy, both as missionaries and civil servants, was a powerful stimulant to the development and expansion of Dutch control beyond the limits of trade alone. Despite continuous conflicts, the collaboration between the clergy and VOC leaders served the Dutch imperial mission as a whole. This mission, although focused primarily on trade, came to include more and more “civilizing” interventions as the missionaries gained more power – a process to which conversion into Christianity was central

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