Chapter 2



(1777 – 1839)

 The Townships of Montrado and Mandor

With the founding of their “assembly halls”, the fourteen allied kongsis of Montrado and the Lanfang kongsi of Mandor with its allies entered a period of  development and affluence previously unknown in West Borneo, and probably never equalled since. The years 1776 to 1807 were a time of, as far as we know, relative peace. The Chinese institutions were strong enough to expand into new territories like Landak, and to withstand simultaneously the demands of the sultans and the raids by the Dayaks. They even resisted successfully, during a long period, the colonialist rule of the Dutch. The last scarcely made their presence felt at the beginning of this period, and retired from the scene altogether in 1791, to return only twenty-seven years later, in 1818, under Commissioner J. van Boekholtz (see Chapter Three).

What was life like in the Chinese settlements during those years? How was the  economy gradually developed and diversified, and how did the relationship with the Malay and Dayak neighbours evolve? It was certainly not that of a highly refined Chinese society, and  also not a model of peace and order, yet contemporary observers and later scholars have been unanimous in acknowledging the accomplishments, over a relatively short period, of the Chinese “republics”. Much was done in the way of maintaining law and order, fair government, and encouraging education, not to mention economic development. Many new regions were explored and their sediments exploited, but during the period under consideration in the older settlements mining was gradually replaced by other pursuits such as farming and manufacturing.

Our search for sources has produced only a few descriptions by Europeans. The account given by G. Earl, an English “country trader” from Singapore who visited Singkawang, Sambas, and Montrado in 1834, is especially noteworthy.[1] Four years after Earl, in 1838, it was the turn of W.J. Pohlman and E. Doty, two American missionaries, to visit Montrado.[2] We shall also make use of the detailed descriptions by W.A. van Rees, although they date from a later  period (1854). Many of his observations are of such a general nature that they are also applicable to earlier years, and therefore are of use here. The same holds for the more succinct accounts of Van de Graaf (1844) and Von Faber (1861). The descriptions by J.J.K. Enthoven (1903) are not relevant to this study as these are from a period when the mining townships were already very much in decline.

As far as possible, I have tried to put together all the information at my disposal and to reorganize it under certain headings, such as the townships and their environment,  the life of the miners and their organizations, the government, the relationship with the Dayaks (notably through marriage), the relationship with the Malays, the family ties among the miners and with the people back home, the religious organization and the festivals, and finally the self-representation of the Chinese inhabitants.

Earl noted that “the capital”, Montrado, consisted of a single street, three-quarters of a mile long, which ended in the governor’s house, “a building detached from the town, which may be distinguished from the others by its superior size, and by a tall young tree, with a bushy top, erected in front, like a flag-staff “.[3] Montrado at that time must have been fairly similar to Singkawang, which  he found:

      to consist of a single street of low wooden houses, the front rooms of each being shops for the sale of grain, meat, groceries, &c., or rooms appropriated to opium smoking. The court-house , which was detached from the town, contained one large room for the transaction of public business, and several smaller apartments which were occupied by the Kung Se (kongsi) and their families. It was surrounded by a low turf wall, with a gate opposite the town, near which several long jingles, or swivel guns, carrying balls of about one pound weight, were placed, muzzle up, leaning against the wall.[4]


      Subjecting the population to a closer inspection, Earl remarked that, at Singkawang, “The male population, with the exception of a single Malay thatcher, was exclusively Chinese.... The shops were taken care of by the women, many of whom were Chinese, though the majority were Dayaks, the aboriginal inhabitants of the island.”

Four years later, Pohlman and Doty visited Montrado. Being less commercially oriented, they had more of an eye for their surroundings. They have left us a unique eyewitness report of the site of Montrado, where they found no less than twenty thousand inhabitants.[5] They say that the bazaar of Montrado consisted of a single street which was intersected by several shorter streets at right angles. The streets were very narrow, being not more than ten or twelve feet wide. There people could find the usual articles of Chinese manufacture, such as cotton cloth, silks, teas, tobacco, shoes, and the like in the shops. The shops also afforded a supply of fruit, vegetables, fresh pork, beef, venison, and salt fish. There were also many blacksmiths, tailors, coopers, and other tradesmen in the market. The whole scene was alive of bustle and activity. [6] The missionaries stressed what they termed “the happy condition of Montrado”:

     As a general thing, these Chinese are in better circumstances, and in other respects superior, to the Chinese as a body, which we have seen in other places. This in a remarkable degree is the happy condition of Montrado. This is a point in our route towards which we have looked with no little anxiety, as we were told it would be dangerous to proceed here, owing to lawless banditti of Malays on the borders of the two residencies of Sambas and Pontianak. On arriving here, our fears are dissipated by learning there is a good road, well travelled, and perfectly safe.

       The two also visited Mandor (“Ka-mandor”).[7] They found Chinese coolies to carry their luggage and “faithful and willing Dayaks” to act as guides. Their principal source of concern came from “the deceitfulness and double dealing of the Malay guides and coolies”. They found the road between Montrado and Mandor very good, “lying through successive and beautiful valleys, in each of which is a settlement of industrious cultivators of the soil.” It took them three days to reach Mandor, and they were well received thanks to a letter of introduction from the headman of Montrado. The next day (November 22, 1838) they were taken on a tour of the place:[8]

     After breakfast, we were furnished with two guides, who conduced us through the village, and to two mines now in operation; one of them is very large, employing 150 men. Ka-mandor lies on a branch of the Pontianak river, about seventy miles from the sea. It is situated in a more mountainous region than any place we have seen, excepting Sambas, and everything around us presents a different aspect. There is one principal street, about a quarter of a mile in length, with others running parallel and some at right angles. The houses are in good order, and well built. Most of them are constructed of wood, and covered with shingles. The streets are unusually wide for a Chinese village, and remarkably neat and clean.

We were somewhat surprised at the small number of inhabitants. Compared with Montrado, we were reminded of the deserted towns in America, during the prevalence of the cholera. Instead of being literally crammed, as is generally the case, so that one can scarcely move without treading on his neighbour, the dwellings are larger than usual, and few, if any, inhabit each. A satisfactory explanation of this is given us in the fact that most of the mines are exhausted, and the people are resorting to other places where their toil will meet with a surer reward. It is now about sixty years since Ka-mandor was founded. The Kap-tai informed us that there are 2000 persons in the village, and about 4000 residing within his jurisdiction. Three village schools are sustained. ... The Chinese here are the same as those at other places. They call themselves Canton men, but speak the Kheh (Hakka) dialect.


From Mandor they went by river to Pontianak, and their description of the trip also is worth mentioning here:

      All things being ready, the boat was loosened from her fastenings at 9 o’clock, and we departed with many good wishes from our friends. The current of the river is rapid, and rendered more so by recent and abundant rains. The mere force of the stream carried us along with great rapidity for about twenty miles. At first the river was so narrow that the branches of the trees met together over our heads, forming a natural screen from the rays of the sun. All the skill and strength of the men were required in order to avoid contact with trees, branches, and other obstructions, and especially to accommodate the boat to the numerous short windings of the stream. We have been astonished to witness the agility and precision of the men, in the use of their forked and spiked poles, by which they at the same time both guide and give additional impulse to the boat. Four and a half hours’ progress down the river in this manner brought us to an establishment belonging to the kap-tai of Ka-mandor, which is a custom-house. Here we stopped for a short time to obtain certain requisite documents. From this place, the river became wider, the current less rapid, and the poles have been exchanged for oars.

       At the bazaar of Mandor, houses and shops were built around the ting and the quarter developed into a veritable “China Town”. In its heyday the kongsi administered more than 20,000 people, of whom the majority consisted of miners. The non-mining population was engaged in farming, handicrafts, and trade. The miners had to hand over gold to the kongsi, by way of tax. The farmers had to hand in grain and pay a household tax. Traders did not have to pay duties on commodities that were exported, but imported goods were taxed.[9]

Thirteen year later, during the “kongsi war” when the Dutch were occupying Montrado, Van Rees, a captain of the colonial army, was stationed there. His description, although biased, does not fundamentally undermine the rosy picture left by Doty and Pohlman, and gives a number of interesting details. Describing the zongting, he says that the building was fortified and functioned as a townhall, and it included a “fine church” (temple) and residence of the highest leadership. The inhabitants were proud of it and all the general assemblies took place in it. Of the bazaar he writes that:[10]

       One in ten houses is certainly occupied by an opium seller, and that his sales are brisk can be observed at every hour of the day, as one sees always smokers who can be distinguished by their yellow, dull eyes, sickly faces, and skinny bodies. Equally numerous are the shops for offering paper and joss sticks ... Also remarkable is the number of barbers who exercise their important work of shaving the head, rubbing the eyes, and cleaning the ears preferably on the street. Gambling dens are also manifold, ordinarily so much frequented that the gambling tables are placed under the galleries and even on to the streets like the tables before the coffee houses in the capitals of Europe. This adds considerably to crowdedness and impedes the community from going about its business. Groceries, vegetables, and fruit shops, as well as carpenter and goldsmiths, the latter showing very little skill in their handiwork, and tailors can be seen at every step. There are a great many schools, but churches (temples) are rare. The apothecaries, who also practise medicine, inhabit the most decent houses. Like the soothsayers they enjoy a certain respect among the population. A great many cesspools and pigsties, which exude not very agreeable smells, surround the bazaar.

      Above the front door of every house are pasted five coloured prints, which represent gods. On every door are square orange-coloured papers inscribed with a few characters. In each living room, similar inscriptions are found without fail, just as there is always an altar adorned with gilded paper, candles, and offerings. On it one finds an ugly statue of some god or saint, surrounded by cups of weak tea and burned out joss sticks...a wooden lantern with red silk, panels of cotton or gauze, and an eternally burning oil-lamp, which throws a faint light on the this beautiful scene and which burns to the eternal glory and worship of the idol.

      With the exception of the plethora of opium dens and gambling houses, Van Rees’ description of Montrado could fit any township in China. All this creates the impression that, even after the terrible war, Montrado could boast of  being a very lively and well-developed Chinese settlement. Its economic strength and its government were both inextricably part of the mining industry. With that in mind, we shall now shift our attention to the latter.


The Life of the Miners

       There were two kinds of mines: the first sort was the so called “kongsi-mine” under the administration of the kongsi. These were by far the most important and will shortly be discussed in detail. But before doing so, we should also say a few words here about the second type, the private mines, which were exploited by groups of individuals working on a small-scale site. Such a private venture, called shansha, characteristically employed ten to twenty-five workers. In principle all the workers were shareholders and participated in the profits. As a rule, there were one or two shareholders who were appointed as mine administrators. These were usually wealthy merchants who purchased the shares of the miners at a risk, and supplied them with food and tools. Every four months the gold dust was harvested, and divided among the participants. Unfortunately lack of documentation makes it difficult to determine the exact workings of such private enterprises.

      Whether they worked for a kongsi corporation or in a private venture, the life of the miners was very hard indeed. Ritter has left us a description of their daily toil:[11]

      They generally live in large sheds, made of timber and alang-alang grass. Most of them are unmarried men. Their working day starts at four in the morning and ends at sunset. They rest from eleven to one p.m. and during that time no one can been seen at the mines, as everybody is asleep. To disturb this sleep would give rise to great annoyance and those who dare to do so will not escape without a goodly measure of blows. In times of war they stop working and all take part in the campaigns. (...) The miners are the roughest and most intractable part of the population, as most of them are virtual strangers to family life.


       Some of the mines which fell within the compass of the kongsi system were the larger ones known as nams. [12] The Jielian, Santiaogou, and Xinwu kongsis employed some eight hundred miners at the time when the Heshun zongting was established. There was also a Liu family mining enterprise which consisted of five hundred workers at Minghuang. It seems logical to deduce that there must have been a larger number of headmen at these mines than at the private mines. Generally speaking, a large mine might be run by the following administrators: two chiefs (huozhang 伙长) of the miners who oversaw of mining activities; three treasurers (caiku 才库), being one a bookkeeper, one a cashier, and one a storekeeper; and eight foremen or gully supervisors (dinggong 鼎工).

Van Rees provides a detailed description of the mining organization and its significance. He acknowledges that it was the miners who in the first place, thanks to their associations (“verenigingen”), took the first step towards creating a democracy in Montrado, that at times took the form of an oligarchy which greatly developed the wealth and potential of the region, so much that, says Van Rees, the Dutch government was forced to intervene (!).[13] He also seeks the origin of the mining associations (kongsis) in the advantages of  the shared, communal tasks of digging canals, building houses, mounting guard, providing food, all jobs which are more easily done in the framework of an association. Indubitably the isolation of the sparsely inhabited territories forced the miners to opt for solidarity. Once a group of miners had formed an association, they elected, normally for the period of four months, a number of officers. These were the just mentioned huozhang (fotjong), in Malay also named jurutulis (djoeroetoelis). These organized the work and were in charge of the discipline, the administration, the correspondence, and the general running of things. Next in the line-up were the foremen. According to Von Faber,[14] the dinggong were in fact mining engineers, and each mine would have at least one or two. They were also in charge of the irrigation works, because these demanded constant attention and labour, especially in times of heavy rainfall. All the men, including the leaders, the engineers, and the cook, took part in the heavy work in the mine. The work of each miner was duly recorded in writing for every hour!

When the initial capital provided by the members of the association proved insufficient, loans would be underwritten, generally at very high interest rates. Once the tools had been bought, the necessary rice and other foodstuffs had been collected and a shelter had been built, the work could start. Usually, the leaders hired a cook, and the whole group paid towards the services of a barber, who would come once in a while to shave the whole group and normally serviced five or six mines in a given region.

      Although far from being the lap of luxury, life in the mines was good and food was normally plentiful. Van Rees says that work started before sunrise, and the only pauses for rest occurred for eating. Before starting in the morning there would be a full meal with rice. At 9 a.m. the miners would eat a kind of porridge made of peanuts boiled in water and drink tea. At 1 p.m. they would have another full meal with dried fish and meat, and at 6 p.m. they had the last full meal for the day. No work was done after this repast. The miners would be served fresh pork only once a week. Tobacco was provided on a daily basis as were regular doses of opium, without which the heavy work in the mines could not have been endured. A certain amount of pocket money would also be advanced on the sums still to be earned.[15]

      Von Faber gives a rather different account than Van Rees. Von Faber reports that the working day of the miner was nine hours, divided into shifts of  two hours or less. A normal period of work was twenty-eight days, after which one or two rest days were allowed. There were meals five times a day. (Two meals with rice and vegetables and dried meat, and three times with rice gruel.) Only after the gold was washed and won, were chickens, pork, and wine bought for a festive meal. Gold could only be won and washed in the evening, lest it start to float and disappear. Only if all the gold could not be washed in one night, would the work be continued the following day. On the evening the washing began, a black dog was sacrificed and its blood mixed in the water that served to wash the gold. The collection of golddust that remained after the washing in the irrigation canal was called “lifting”. After the “lifting”, the golddust was carefully washed again by hand (“panning”) in wooden bowls. After headmen commenced with “panning”, no word would be spoken before three or four bowls of golddust were washed. Once the lifting had been done, Chinese women were allowed to come and wash the sand once more so as to retrieve whatever gold might  have been left over. This second washing done by the women was called xi shawei 洗尾沙. Von Faber describes how they looked, clothed in dark blue trousers and a long jacket of the same colour, their hair bound with a vivid red cloth and topped by a small miners hat. [16] They came in procession, each carrying a staff and a wooden bowl, and singing Chinese shan’ge 山歌. When the women were finished, the Dayaks might also give it a try and extract whatever gold might still be present in the sand.

The miners had to obey the given orders punctiliously. In general, says Van Rees, these small communities were proud of the perfect order that they maintained.

      The period of a mining campaign could vary according to the amount of ore available, the luck of the dig, and other contributory circumstances. Festival days were generally observed so that the miners could go to town and join in the celebrations. Accounts were settled and engagements discontinued or renewed before Chinese New Year, or four months before or after that date. Once the mine had yielded its riches and the gold had been washed, a general settlement was made: the original participation money was returned with interest, the amount of work performed paid out, and each worker had a share of the profit. The foremen and the cook earned somewhat more, and the leaders obtained a larger part of the profit. Van Rees gives estimates of the amounts thus earned. At the end of the operation each miner received around sixteen to twenty guilders after the costs for food, and other living expenses, had been deducted. [17] If there had been a particularly rich yield, they could get as much as forty to sixty guilders. It is difficult to say whether these sums are the same as those given by Graaf [18] who states that every four months the mines in Montrado yielded about seventy taëls of gold – at one hundred guilders the taël. The five mines of Dagang in those years therefore yielded a total of more that one thousand taëls, that is more that one hundred thousand guilders. Each of the workers in these mines received wages amounting to approximately one hundred and eighty guilders a year. Von Faber’s data correspond with those given by Van Rees. According to Francis (1832), the annual return of a large mine could be estimated at 600 to 900 taëls gold. The value of the taël being calculated at the time at approximately sixty-four guilders the taël, this return amounted to a global value of  38,400 to 57,600 guilders. As an example of the payments and division of profits, he provides the following data:


Table 4: Costs of production in a large mine (guilder)




Payment (month)

Total (year)

















Lodging and Tools








Source: Francis, 1842: 23-24.


Earl also tells us about the profit of the gold-mining: [19]

     The gold-dust is put into small paper packets, each weighing a taël, or two Spanish dollars. The dust belonging to the kongsis is always better cleaned than any other, and bears a distinguishing mark, a stamp or chop upon the papers in which it is enveloped: the punishment for the adulteration of dust thus warranted, being the loss of the right hand of the offender. (The gold dust is often adulterated with a glittering sand called passir B’rni or Borneo sand, from the place whence it is produced.) The gold is from seven to nine touch (eighteen to twenty-one carats), the dark coloured metal being esteemed the best. 

He says that the revenues of the mines of the kongsis were spent in the following way:

      1) In the first place the shareholders were paid; the shares of the mines were usually in the hands of the somewhat wealthier older miners or other rich people; people who had made important contributions to the welfare of the mines also qualified to obtain shares.

      2) General expenditure on the wages of the miners, food, and the tools necessary for the exploitation of the mines; newcomers were also provided with food and rooms in which to live, they received their fee only after their work in the mine started to yield any results; only when they had worked in the mine for a number of years and had proven themselves to be serious about their work, could they be recommended by the older miners to receive any of the shares.

      3) Part of the revenue was added to the common fund supervised by the kongsi; each kongsi had its own treasury of common funds and a financial administrator responsible for its management. [20]

Von Faber indicated that sometimes the miners found the remnants of ancient ships and porcelain (from their cargo?) in the ground, but these were discarded, because they were considered to be without any value.[21] 

      The life of the miners was no doubt a very harsh one. The Hakka men were accustomed to hard manual labour, but mining in tropical West Borneo must have been exceptionally demanding. The use of opium, while in the long run detrimental to a person’s physical condition, certainly allowed the miners to withstand the pain and hardships of their work. The money they earned was partially spent in keeping themselves alive and buying opium – by far the most expensive commodity – and partially  was also sent home to the family in China. Only after many years of toil could a xinke aspire to a better life. Once enough money had been set aside, miners could turn to other pursuits, such as farming, manufacturing or trading. One of the happy prospects before them in that case was the possibility of acquiring a wife. Most often this would be a Dayak woman, who could be obtained either as a concubine or a regular spouse. If the girl was of Chinese, or even of half-Chinese descent, only marriage would do. The price of a bride varied from one to four taël of gold (between approx. eighty to three hundred guilders). [22] In each case, the miner would not only start a family, but enter into a family relationship with his wife’s relatives as well, even if she was a Dayak. The relative lack of discrimination towards the Dayaks is one of the more remarkable features of the Chinese society of West Borneo, although, as we shall see below, there were also many problems, especially in the early period of their relationship.


Relationships with the Dayaks and the Malays


      Dayak, meaning “inhabitant of the inland”, is a generic name for Borneo’s indigenous inhabitants, who in fact belong to a great variety of ethnic groups. Although through its representatives in Borneo, the Dutch colonial government often expressed its interest and concern for the Dayaks and its wish to protect them from the exactions of the Malays and maltreatment by the Chinese, it did very little indeed to find out more about them. Veth quotes Van Kervel (1847) to the effect that the oppression of the poor Dayaks by the “Allied Chinese” was such that they “sadly wished for the former days of  prosperity to return” , [23] that is to say, they hoped that the Dutch would come to liberate them! Veth criticizes this judgment as too tendentious. He describes how, after many years of hardship and after having sent much of their earnings back to their families in China, the miners sometimes succeeded in securing a relative affluence which enabled them to settle as merchants, artisans, or farmers, and to marry and found a family. Veth reports how the exemplary conduct of the Dayak women as wives and mothers was praised. The fairness of their skins surpassed that of the Chinese and they were often very pretty.[24]

The question of with whom among the Dayaks the Chinese came into contact, then fell into conflict, or finally entered into alliance and brotherhood is not clear. Even today, after thorough scientific investigation, the ethnicity of the Dayaks who inhabited the west and north-west of West Borneo has not been well established. Nowadays they are called the “Land Dayaks” (Bidayuh) and are supposed to have come from the south-west of the island during the eighteenth century, roughly at the same time as the Chinese. The term Land Dayak is a very vague term used in order to distinguish these people from the Sea Dayaks, the Iban. There are different groups of Land Dayaks, but their unity seems to lie in the fact that they speak languages which are closely related to each other. Although subjected to intensive Muslim proselytizing (before being pushed even more actively into Christianity by the Dutch), at the time of the Chinese kongsis the Land Dayaks still lived in longhouses and engaged in head-hunting. This characteristic was duly noticed by early Chinese travellers such as Xie Qinggao, who wrote:

      The Dayaks are very evil and violent. They enjoy killing. When they obtain a human head, they hang it above the door of their house. Those who have many [of these] are considered to be capable [men]. [25]

       Xie Qinggao first associated the Dayaks with the Li people of Hainan. He reported that the Chinese men who arrived in West Borneo invariably took these “Li” women as wives, as, he says: “In the mountains are a great number of lizi . [...] When the Chinese first came to this area, they married only the daughters of these Lizi. Only later, when the population had grown, did they start to arrange marriages among themselves and rarely did they have Lizi women for their wives. [26] Xie did not fully approve of these marriages, and he continues by saying that: “For a number of generations many Chinese have taken [indigenous] wives and had children by them. Their women are licentious. The modesty or shame are unknown to them. Only in their dress, eating and drinking habits do they bear some slight resemblance to Chinese.[27]

      Women had to be bought. Normally, writes Van Rees, young mineworkers did not have the necessary means to buy one, and only after having laboured for many years in the mines and earning enough money to settle as a merchant in a bazaar or a port city, could they enjoy marital bliss. As we have already seen, the price of a bride was one to four taël of gold. Wealthy Chinese could indulge in polygyny whereas poor ones often were forced to share one wife.[28] Dayak women were trained by their Chinese husbands to keep the shops and engage in business, and these women shared in the profits. If a woman earned enough money, she could buy back her own freedom.[29] Dayak women seemed to have entered Chinese society with a great deal of self-confidence, and retained a number of privileges, such as that of having a lover.[30] Van Rees also notes that:

       Each woman has a lover (kendak) who normally tries also to gain the friendship of the husband. The latter knows  how to profit by this situation, closes his eyes when necessary, and feels twice as happy when his business prospers and his house is better kept. Women may be indifferent to the unfaithfulness of their husbands, but that of their lovers provokes their jealousy mightily, causing dramatic scenes. Those who do not have a kendak take the opportunity to find one on certain festival days, when women have the right to stay outside for the whole night, without owing their husbands any explanation of how that night was spent.[31]

      W.J. Ritter points out that in his time – the 1820s – the Chinese population of West Borneo was more than 60,000, and the proportion of men to women was only ten to one. He confirms that most women were of Dayak descent. [32] The British merchant, G.W. Earl, also tells us that when he visited West Borneo in 1834 the Chinese still often intermarried with Dayaks, and that many Dayak families were established among them. He goes on to remark that the conduct, both as wives and mothers, of the Dayak women who married with Chinese men was very highly spoken of. [33] The great pioneer Luo Fangbo also had a Dayak wife.[34] According to the Chronicle of the Lanfang Kongsi, Luo’s wife greatly helped her husband to establish Lanfang kongsi:

      Luo Taige’s wife [35], a virtuous woman, assisted him doing all she could. When there was a famine, she offered  her jewellery to Huang Anba 黄安八, a man who had come from Zhenping [36], in order to go to Pontianak to purchase provisions and  implements [for the kongsi].

       When the Chinese kongsis became more and more powerful, some Dayak tribes placed themselves under the protection of the kongsis. After having identified the Dayak as head-hunters, Xie offers an interesting observation on the restrictions imposed on the movement of the Dayaks owing to the threat of being slaughtered by rival tribes when entering their territory:

      All of them live in one [clearly delimited] area, which they do not dare to transgress. Each time they move slightly [outside of this area], they will decimate each other. Although they are strong and large in numbers, they are afraid of the Malays, the Dutch, and the Chinese. They do not dare to wage any battles against them. They are afraid, that – when their large armies come they will have no place to flee to. [37]

      Earl writes that: “A small Dayak tribe, under the protection of the Chinese, is established within a few miles of  Montrado. The Chinese often intermarry with them, and many Dayak families are established among them, it being the custom of the former when they marry Dayak women, to take the parents, and sometimes the whole family under their protection.”[38]

Enjoying such mutual advantages, little by little, the Chinese and the Land Dayaks achieved a high degree of integration. Dayaks were – and still are – called “Lo-â-kia” (Mandarin Lao’azi 唠阿仔) by the Chinese in West Borneo. The derivation of this term is unclear. The word lao is also used in many place-names such as 唠唠 (Lara), 打唠鹿 (Montrado), and 乌唠由 (Malaju). It does not seem to have a pejorative meaning. The term “barbarian”,  fanzi 番子, is used exclusively for the Malay.

Children born of a Dayak mother were educated in the Chinese way. The sons became known as bantangfan 半唐番, “half-Chinese barbarians”, a term which is written as “petompang” by Veth.[39] Ritter notes that these petompang surpassed their fathers in valour and courage (the Chinese being invariably portrayed by the Dutch as utter cowards). Consequently these petompang, even when they tended to be looked down upon in times of peace, were highly appreciated in times of war. [40] The result of all this, as Commander Andresen was to learn to his cost, was that the Dayaks were unwilling to fight the Chinese except on certain occasions when some kind of conflict had arisen between the two groups, but not for the cause of the Dutch and their Malay allies. [41] Gradually the Chinese even came to consider the Dayaks to be of their own race. Earl has reported the legend which was transmitted in order to explain this remarkable belief: [42]

       The Chinese suppose the Dayak to be descended from a large body of their countrymen left by accident upon the island, but this opinion is entertained solely on the faith of a Chinese legend. If they can prove their paternity to the Dayaks, they must extend it to the whole race inhabiting the interior of the larger islands in the Archipelago. They say that many hundred years age a monstrous serpent existed in the interior of Borneo, which possessed a talisman of inestimable value, and that the sovereign of the Celestial empire, coveting so valuable a treasure, dispatched a large fleet, with an immense body of men, to steal it from its lawful owner. The serpent was found asleep, and the men were stationed in a line extending from the sea-coast into the centre of the island, so close to each other that the talisman could be passed from hand to hand, until put on board the junks: but all these admirable arrangements were rendered of no avail by the clumsiness of the person appointed to steal the talisman, for the serpent awaking and seeing what was in the wind, raised such a dust that the junks were blown off the coast, and the long line of “Celestials” were left to colonize the country.

       This legend is comparable to other Chinese legends, like, for instance, the expedition that Qin Shihuangdi (246-210 BC, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty) launched under the guidance of Xu Fu to the islands of the Immortals in the Eastern Ocean, to seek the drug of immortality for him. Some people afterwards believed that the Japanese were descended from Xu Fu and his companions. The important message of this legend is that the Chinese in West Borneo recognized the Dayaks as being of the same origin as themselves.

      We have seen in Chapter One that there is a long history of Chinese presence in Borneo. One of the results of this relationship was the presence, in every Dayak dwelling, of huge Chinese jars (martavan), sometimes dating from the Song and Yuan  periods. These jars had a religious function, inasmuch as it was said that they were the place where “the dragon”, who protects the household and insures its prosperity, resided. This notion of the presence of “a dragon” related to the fortune of a dwelling is of course also found in Chinese geomancy. In any case, towards the end of the kongsi period, in 1847, Van de Graaf noted that more than one thousand Dayaks lived in the township of Montrado. They were treated, says the author, with generosity and hospitality; they were allowed to sit at the festive banquets and enjoy all kinds of freedom in the houses of their Chinese hosts. As a result, one rarely found a Dayak in the vicinity of Montrado who did not speak Chinese. [43]

     The Chinese did not feel much sympathy towards the Malays. In their eyes, the Malays were not really merchants, but above all robbers and pirates. Schaank reports that the traditional name given to the sultan of Sambas by the Chinese miners was simply “Robber Chief” (zeitou 贼头·). [44] The Hailu has the following appraisal of them: [45]

       This people is keen on its profits and eager to kill...When their men go to sea to trade, they take all their possessions. Their wives and children remain at home. They leave only a small amount of food. When the boat returns, they send a messenger to announce this at their home. Their wife must come to the ship in person to welcome them, only then will they return home. If their wives do not come, they assume that  they have forsaken them, and they will forthwith hoist the sails and be gone, never in their lives to return again.

       Today the Chinese on West Borneo call the Malays: “children of barbarians” huan-â-kia (Mandarin fan’azi 番阿仔), even although the Malay language has become the general medium for the intercourse with the population of the Archipelago. We have no record of any Chinese having a Malay wife or entering into kinship relations with the Malay noblemen. This may stem from the Chinese aversion to Islam, but there must have been an accumulation of other incompatibilities as well, uppermost among them being the orthodox practice of the Islam faith that was prevalent in West Borneo at these times. Finally, Dutch policy did not promote inter-racial relations as it aimed at keeping the two populations apart. Among the Dutch authors on West Borneo, Veth is certainly the most outspoken critic of the Malays. He sees them as a bastard race, the result of mixed blood between Malay, Javanese, Indians, and Arabs, and calls them therefore: “so-called Malay, a race of gamblers, opium-smokers, and pirates, whose leaders often divide their time between their wives, their fighting cocks, and the oppression of the poor Dayaks. The small states which were founded by these so-called Malays are in an advanced state of decay from the material as well as from the moral point of view.” [46]

      No Malays appear to have lived in the Chinese settlements, and there were no mosques there. On the other hand, each major Malay sultanate had its Chinese merchant quarter, the Chinese “kampong”. However prejudiced the mutual relationship may have, there is no evidence that the Malay sultans ever, at least in West Borneo in these pre-modern times, availed themselves of their numerical and military superiority in order to undertake to the wholesale slaughter of Chinese merchant communities, the way the Dutch had been known to do in Java. The often strained relationship did not prevent the Chinese paying their taxes to the Malays, nor the latter from continuing to trade with the Chinese. In times of conflict, the Malay sultans often tried to incite some Dayak tribesmen to attack the Chinese, but this method steadily lost its efficacy as the Chinese became stronger and better organized, and also developed what Veth calls “ties of brotherhood” with the Land Dayaks.[47]


The Government

       It has often been noted that the development of the strong Chinese organization of the federal zongting was primarily due to the necessity of the miners to defend themselves against the depredations of the Malay sultanates. Regardless of the reasoning behind this, the autocratic oppression, cruel exploitation through taxes and corvée labour, excessive demands for tribute, and a host of other wrongs, were already familiar to the Hakka immigrants from their home country. Therefore, the tradition of organizing themselves into all kinds of associations and brotherhoods so as to be able to withstand abusive practices of their superiors was already part of their tradition. At this point it is useful to see what the government of the Chinese “republics” was actually like.

As we have seen, the ting of Montrado was the seat of the government of the federation. We have no map, but from information gathered from the different descriptions we know that  the main building included conference rooms, a hostel, and a prison  with cells for the detention of offenders. Its annex included a temple with an altar to Dabogong and to Guangong. Veth produces a drawing of the ting of Mandor with the general layout of the place in 1822. [48] The main hall opposite the entrance was a sanctuary dedicated to Dabogong. A painting of him was hung on the north side of the hall. Partitions erected on the three other sides allowed for six separate rooms, which could be used by the captain and the registrars. Buildings on the east and west sides of the main hall contained meeting rooms and storerooms. In front of the buildings, but within the stockade, there was a wide courtyard where crowds of people could gather. Next to the fortified ting, there were barracks that could provide accommodation for two hundred and fifty miners.







Fig. 4. The Lanfang zongting (“kongsi huis”)  at Mandor,  c. 1822 (after Veth)


      In Montrado, separate from the ting, two other large fortified buildings are often mentioned. These were the Shangwu and the Xiawu, the upper and the lower house, both of which were kongsi houses of Dagang. Before 1822, Santiaogou also had a big kongsi house in the township of Montrado. When Santiaogou was at the head of the federation under Zhu Fenghua 朱凤华, the business of the zongting was conducted in his own kongsi house.

The high chiefs were originally called “big brother” (dage or taige) in Mandor and “uncle” or “brother” (bo or ge) in Montrado. Only later, under Dutch influence, were these titles changed into “Jiatai” in Mandor and into “Captain” in Montrado. There is no clear record regarding the election procedures, but from the context it appears that at the bottom of the system elections were held at the village level for the position of “elder” (laoda). In Montrado there were also elected representatives of the different kongsis, who were called tingzhu. These tingzhu were appointed by the kongsis themselves. Thanks to Schaank’s discussion, we know that shortly after the Heshun zongting was established, each of the participating kongsis was allowed  to delegate one tingzhu, which means there must have been fourteen tingzhu in the early period. He goes on to explain that the Shangwu and Xiawu mines of Dagang kongsi were not allowed to send one representative each to the zongting until 1820 when Dagang had become much more influential. [49] The laoda and the tingzhu formed the council of the zongting and together they elected its officers (see below). They took part in the election of the bo, but for this and other essential decisions the council was enlarged by the inclusion of statutory members. These members were the notables of Montrado (that is to say: the rich merchants of the bazaar) the main shareholders of the mines, the proprietor of the liquor distillery (jiulang), the priests of the main cults, and other such men. This party could be quite influential, hence the reproach that Montrado’s democracy was dominated by an oligarchy.


Table 5: Headmen and subordinates of the Heshun zongting




Zongting dage, bo


Entrusted with the running of the general headquarters, his main duty being to preside at the meetings and discussions between leaders of the different kongsis and the ketou and laoda (see below). In the beginning, the holders of this office were called “uncle” (bo), and after the 1820s the Dutch imposed the title of ‘captain’. They were paid 50 guilders per month, and were lodged and fed in the zongting, and received a free allowance of opium.



Beginning 1776, the fourteen kongsis of the Heshun zongting alliance each sent a tingzhu (deputy) to reside at the zongting in order to assist the zongting dage in the daily administration. Together with the latter, they decided on the different levies of taxes that were sometimes imposed on the members of the community. Their salary was 40 guilders per month and were also given free food and lodging and free opium.



Title given to the secretaries of the zongting, since they were literate. In addition to being in charge of the correspondence, the secretaries received the guests who visited the headquarters. They tended to be more or less permanently employed and thus remained in place even when the different “Great Brothers’ changed. Therefore their position, although subaltern, was very influential. They earned 12 guilders a month.



Entrusted with the guardianship of the important places and harbours, they were also charged with the levying of the taxes on exported and imported goods, as well as with the organization of the defence of the zongting. Later they became district heads, such as of Singkawang and Pamangkat etc.



The commander of the kongsi army. In the Lanfang kongsi, junshi also acted as the deputy-headman of the zongting.



There were two kinds of jiulang (arrack-distillery): the kongsi-jiulang and the private-jiulang. The former also levied the taxes from the farmers in the kongsi territory.



There were more than four elected fushous ( headmen of the temple) in each large temple. They took charge of the festivals of the community and administered the common interest. The fushou managed the common affairs of the village-collaborating with the laoda and the ketou.



The powerful merchants in the township of Montrado and the holders of the shares of the gold-mines. Their influence could dominate the important decisions of the zongting.



Elected village headman.

      In Mandor the situation was slightly different. There were elected futouren 副头人 (assistant headman) but no tingzhu. Here the mandate of  dage was limited to people originally from the Jiaying prefecture. In both places  the great general assembly took place on the anniversary of the tutelary deity Guangong. The upper chief officiated on that occasion, performing the main sacrifice. In the following days of discussion, his mandate could be criticized and either renewed or replaced.

The only detailed information we have about the everyday administration of the zongting is from Montrado. The daily tasks of the main office were handled by its chief and an assistant known as “dating xiansheng 大厅先生 or “kongsi xiansheng 公司先生, who was employed as secretary. This was a very important function, and most outsiders, including the Dutch, would normally conduct their business with him. As a result, the “Sing Sang” as they were called, were seen as often as important, if not more so, than the upper chief. One “Sing Sang” who became especially important was Zhu Fenghua, the head of Santiaogou, since he remained the principal leader of that kongsi after it had withdrawn from the Heshun federation. Besides the secretary, the permanent staff of the zongting consisted of a bookkeeper, who was responsible for its property, a clerk responsible for in and outgoing mail, and a cook.[50] The important decisions concerning the zongting and the fourteen kongsis – like matters concerning taxes, the allocation of financial support, and the punishment of offenders against the law – were all decided upon by the headmen of the zongting in conference with the tingzhu and ketou, plus the elders (laoda).

      The administrators mentioned above all received a salary. The headman of the zongting, for example, received fifty guilders per month, as well as some special perquisites: he enjoyed free meals, and his opium was supplied without cost. The dating xianshen received twenty guilders per month, and a tingzhu forty guilders. At Singkawang, Sungai Raya and other of strategic importance, zhazhu were appointed by the zongting. They were responsible for military affairs as well as the collection of duties from imports and exports. It was a profitable position. At the bazaar of Montrado and at other marketplaces there were also arak distilleries which fell under the aegis of the zongting. Apart from being engaged in the business of distilling, their chiefs also represented the kongsis in the collection of grain and taxes from the farming villages within the jurisdiction of the zongting. Each locality had its temples. As a rule there were four “temple-headmen” (fushou 福首). They were responsible for the organization of temple meetings and celebrations. They also took care of the common funds, and in consultation with the elders arranged all kinds of matters of daily life in the villages. In addition to all this, in times of war, the zongting appointed a chief commander and assistant commanders. [51]

      The temple-headmen, financial administrators, and foremen were all appointed for only four months. After this term was up, new elections were held. Their names had to be reported to the kongsi. All of the administrators, including the headmen of the zongting and kongsis,  had to be elected by the general assembly. Only Chinese who were born in the Chinese homeland were eligible.

      We have seen that the leadership of Mandor was restricted to people from Jiaying. Less formal, but similar criteria of common origin also played a role at Montrado, not at the level of the zongting leadership, but within the different member kongsis. The larger associations and kongsis were founded on a common dialect (Hakka, Chaozhou, Hokkien). Moreover Schaank shows that the members of Dagang kongsi were mostly from the Wu, Huang, Zheng families from Lufeng and Huilai. The members of Santiaogou also hailed from Lufeng and Huilai, but the majority were from the Wen and Zhu families. There were therefore a number of factors which played a role in the  election of the heads of the kongsi and the heads of the mines. Based on the material presented by Schaank, we can assume that the most important positions of each kongsi were taken up by members of these large family groups. It was, for instance, stipulated that the headmen and financial administrators of the mines of Dagang kongsi had to come from the Huang, Wu, and Zheng families; of the eight foremen, two had to be from the Huang family, two from the Zheng family, two from the Wu family, one had to be from the Guan ¹Ù family. For only one of the positions of foreman there was no stipulation based on the surname of  the candidate. The Wu, Huang, and Zheng families enjoyed various privileges. On the one hand this was related to the fact that they were the founders of the Dagang kongsi. On the other hand, these families provided the largest number of members. The Guan family did not count as one of the larger families of the Dagang kongsi, but according to tradition, at one time when the yields of the Dagang mines were disappointingly low and the kongsi found itself in financial difficulties, a man named Guan Mingbo 官明伯, the chief of a large distillery, supplied funds and helped the kongsi to extricate itself from its trouble. Accordingly his heirs obtained the above-mentioned privileges.[52] All this is reflected in some degree in the choice of the bo of Montrado.

      Below is a list of these chiefs. This list shows moreover a few other facts. First of all, we see the dominance of the Dagang kongsi under the leadership of Liu Zhengbao around 1814-1818. Secondly, we see that the terms of office, especially for the period dealt with in this chapter, are all fairly long, on average more than six years per person. Liu Zhengbao served twice. As we shall see later, he returned to China in 1818 and during his absence, the place of headman was occupied by members from the Santiaogou kongsi who were natives of Fujian. They attempted to transform the alliance so as to strike a better balance between its Fujian and Guangdong components and in order to establish the enduring hegemony of Santiaogou. This had far-reaching results. The ensuing rift between Santiaogou and Dagang, which finally came out in the open on the return of the powerful Liu Zhengbao, gave the sultan of Sambas, not to mention the Dutch colonial government, an opportunity to meddle in the Montrado kongsis’ affairs. In their eyes, Liu Zhengbao, and his colleague Liu Tai’er 刘台二 (“Captain Demang”) of Lanfang were the two principal leaders of the Chinese in the West Borneo minefields and it is no doubt due to their pre-eminence that their portraits have been preserved in the Dutch archives.[53]


Table 6:  List of the successive headmen of the Heshun zongting






           Main Events


Xie Jiebo




establishment of the Heshun zongting


Wen Sancai



±  1807

the conflict between Jielian and Dagang


Liu Guibo



± 1814

the clash between Kengwei and Dagang


Liu Zhengbao



- 1818

the beginning of the encounter with the Dutch authorities


Hu Yalu




after three months’ leadership he was dismissed by the public


Zhu Fenghua




the conflict between Santiaogou and Dagang


Liu Zhengbao




the expansion to Lara, Sepang, Seminis, Pamangkat etc.


Luo Pai 




the removal of Manhe to Landak


Li Debo






Wen Guanshou




the conflict between Kengwei, Xinwu and Dagang


Xie Xiang 




the war with the Dayaks of Landak


Zhu Lai




the growth of the power of the miners party


Wen Guanshou





Guan Zhiyin




re-established a good relationship with the sultan of Sambas


Zheng Hongren




the kongsi war


Xu Qibo






Huang Jinao




the end of the Heshun zongting

       As we have seen, the succession of the government of the zongting was organized in a different way at Mandor, where there were fewer or sometimes no contending kongsis. The head of the administration of the kongsi was the dage. He was seconded by an assistant headman (futouren). The administration of the bazaar of Mandor and all villages was supervised by an Assistant Headman and Elder and Younger Brothers (i. e. the laoda and the weige 尾哥). At Mampawa, and possibly in some other localities, an extra Second Younger Brother (erge 二哥) was appointed. The assistant headman received a salary, while the Elder and the Younger Brothers did not receive any payment. It was considered to be a great honour to hold these positions and the men who held them were usually men with high prestige and even greater wealth.


Table 7: List of the headmen of the Lanfang kongsi





                           Main Event


Luo Fangbo



established Lanfang kongsi at Mandor, 1777


Jiang Wubo



the war with the Panambahan of Mampawa


Jue Sibo



conflict with the Dayaks of Landak


Jiang Wubo




Song Chabo



expansion of the mining in Landak


Liu Tai’er



under the influence of the Dutch authorities


Gu Liubo



conflict with the Panambahan of Landak and decline of the kongsi


Xie Guifang





Ye Tenghui





Liu Qianxing



battled with the Landak Dayaks


Liu Asheng



expanded the mining to the region of Landak


Liu Liangguan





Liu Asheng


the collapse of the Lanfang kongsi, 1884

Sources: The Chronicle of the Lanfang Kongsi and A History of Pontianak.

      Luo Fangbo laid down a set of rules for those who wanted to qualify for the position of headman. It has already been noted that the position of dage could only be held by a man who was born in the capital of Jiayingzhou. The assistant-headman of the zongting should be a native of Dapuxian. The headman at the other localities could be elected by the inhabitants of their village or township. The one stipulation was they had to be immigrants who had come directly from the Chinese mainland. The reason given for all these conditions was that at one time, when the wife of Luo Fangbo handed over her jewellery to Huang Anba – a man from Zhenping district – to buy food for the kongsi, he took the whole treasure with him and returned to his native district in China. This infuriated Luo Fangbo so much that, he decided to exclude candidates who did not hail from his own native place. In addition to this, it is said that he arrived at this decision because he had a constant yearning for his home in China.

      In the early period of the 108-year history of the Lanfang kongsi, the leaders strictly obeyed the rules set by Luo Fangbo. At the time of the fifth zongting dage, Song Chabo 宋插伯, however, the Dutch colonial government started to levy poll taxes. From then on, the leaders had to accept the rules imposed on them by the Dutch. One big change was that the Dutch had to approve of the new headmen after they had been elected by the members of the kongsi.

      Earl was quite convinced the Chinese were the lawful owners of the land. In consequence, he calls the head of the zongting “the Governor”. The person he met was Luo Pai, who had been in power for eight years and must have been very popular. Earl never thought, even in 1834, of asking permission from either the Dutch or of the Malays before entering into trade relations with the Montrado zongting. When someone told him at the end of his visit that the Resident of Sambas had expressed some annoyance about this, he said: “I was sorry that my journey to that place had given him uneasiness, but the Chinese territory being a free state, the Dutch having totally failed in the attempt to establish their authority there, I did not think it at all necessary to ask his permission.”[54] 



      All authors agree that one of the achievements of the Chinese republics was to have brought a state of law and order to West Borneo. Veth, to start with, basing himself on the reports of Ritter, Van de Graaf, and Van Kervel (to whom we shall turn presently) gives the following overall appraisal:

The administration of law is left to the subservient kongsi governments, each in its own district, with the exception of certain special cases, when the great kongsi (i.e. the zongting) has to pronounce the judgment. The cook of each association is at the same time its executioner. The punishments are cruel and barbaric to the highest degree. The normal punishment for theft is to cut off an ear. For second offence the second ear is cut and when someone avails himself for the third time of the possessions of another, his throat is cut. Whoever abstracts gold during the mining is considered an even more dangerous thief and is immediately, without any form of process, put to death. Whoever is discovered at night in the vicinity of the mines not belonging to the miners who on watch, loses part of an ear and is branded on the face. Many other cruel ways of maiming and torture are to be found in their lawbooks, such as the crushing of the fingers between wooden clamps, exposure in the burning sun, putting people into heavy chains, public flogging, and outlawing, which gives anyone the right to throw stones at the condemned or to stab him with knives. Torture is also used to make people confess. This great severity at least has the result that the right of property is observed more strictly than is often the case in more enlightened societies.[55]

       A comparison with the penal code of the Qing dynasty, the Daqing lüli ´大清律例, shows that the legal system of the zongting was not borrowed from that source but evolved on its own. How it came into being and what its antecedents were is difficult to say. Presumably the customary law of the mining associations in China may have served as an example, perhaps expanded by regulations which governed traditional lineages.

      Schaank describes in more detail the evolution of the administration of law among the miners. In the beginning, punishments were decided upon by the members of the group to which the criminal belonged. Later this responsibility was taken over by the leaders of the kongsis. When the Heshun federation was founded, the zongting itself emerged as the major legislative and judicial body. Most punishments were converted into fines to be paid to the kongsis or were in the form of forced gifts to the temples. The death penalty normally consisted of decapitation, after which the body was thrown into a river; hence the execution often took place near a bridge. At Montrado there was a bridge which was therefore called  “Decapitation Bridge” Xirenqiao 犀人橋. The executioner was appointed by the zongting and received a salary. Sometimes a relative of the criminal demanded to be allowed to mete out the punishment. In the initial years, the justice may have been very impartial, but this changed later. Great families had the advantage over smaller ones, native-born Chinese over bantangfan, those who worked at the kongsi mines over those who were private entrepreneurs. Graft played a noticeable role. For instance, Schaank says the murder of a full-blood native-born Chinese was invariably punished by death and even for the death of a Chinese belonging to the smaller families the indemnity to be paid was no less than 720 guilders. For the killing of a bantangfan however, the bloodmoney was only forty-eight guilders and half a pack Chinese tobacco. The tobacco roughly corresponded to the salary of the grave-digger.[56]

      Only Van Rees produces a fairly complete list of the laws of the Montrado zongting. From this list we can see that they not only deal with criminal cases, but with other legal matters as well. He notes, for instance, that all inhabitants had to show respect for the zongting and its leaders. Someone who entered the ting with the head covered or with an open umbrella was punished by three years of forced labour! Those who appeared before the heads of the ting without letting their plait hang down (but had it wound around his head as workers did) was to be punished by beating or forced labour. He goes on to quote eighteen such laws from what must have been a fraction of the total. Here follows a translation:[57]

– Whoever attacks a person on the highway and robs him of his possessions will be punished by the amputation of one ear and be forbidden to remain in the kongsi any longer.

–  Burglary with theft is punishable by death, unless what has been stolen can be returned. In that case the culprit will be set free, after his ear has been cut off. Petty thefts are punished by caning, and if repeated by the same person, by the amputation of one ear. If the thief is discovered and killed, the case will rest. Accomplices will be punished by caning and be forbidden to remain in the kongsi.

– If the Dabogong is robbed and the criminal is found, the latter will be punished by caning and the amputation of one ear.

– In the mines, the gold must be raised with all present. Should this rule be trespassed upon (by washing the gold at night with the aim of stealing it), the death penalty shall apply.

– If an inferior beats a superior, the case will be made public at the bazaar, and the instigator punished by caning.

– Should there be a brawl and people are hurt or wounded, and a medical doctor is required, the costs should be borne by the opposite party; if death ensues, a penalty of ten taël gold (720 guilders) is to be given to the relative of the person killed.

– In the case of murder; the murderer must be executed by the same weapon with which the murder was committed, after having first paid the costs of the funeral.

– When money is borrowed, interest can be demanded; if the borrower becomes insolvent through no fault of his own, then the lender should give the borrower time until the latter is capable of paying twice the sum.

– If someone is entrusted with the transportation of money or goods and it is discovered that he has embezzled some of them, then this case shall be made public at the bazaar, and the criminal be condemned to fivefold reimbursement of what was embezzled and to caning.

– Should a house burn down, the proprietor will be caned (in order to teach him to be careful). Arson with premeditation is punished by death.

– The posting of libellous writing on walls or trees is punished by caning and dismissal from the kongsi.

– The punishment for fraud is similar to that for theft.

– Children of the female sex are obliged to remain in the home of their parents until they are married.

– When rape has occurred, the author of the crime will be punished, according to the circumstances, by dismissal from the kongsi or the death penalty.

– In wedlock, a wife shall be submissive towards her husband and follow him wherever he goes. The man may not maltreat the woman.

– A woman is not allowed to abort her first pregnancy in any way whatsoever. If she commits abortion, her case will be made public at the bazaar and she herself caned.

– A woman should not commit adultery. If she attempts to have a relationship with another person, then this woman can be obliged to return the sum of her purchase to her husband; if she is surprised during the act and both parties are killed, then the case will rest.

– If it is discovered that a woman has poisoned her husband, so that he dies, then she will be buried alive. If the reason for the poisoning was adultery and the adulterer can be found, then he will undergo the same punishment.

       We have little information about how the system was applied. There are few cases quoted in the “Verwikkelingen” in order to show how utterly absurd the Chinese jurisdiction was and how it contravened the Dutch rule of law. [58] For instance, in 1845 a Dutch officer witnessed an execution by beheading in front of the kongsi house of that place of a thief who had stolen goods from the kongsi of Pamangkat. Another case cited is that of a boy of twelve or fourteen years was stoned in 1848 because he attempted to poison his mother. Schaank tells of a case, at an even later date (1853), where a Chinese of the Gu family wished to marry a lady of the Xie family, with the members of the latter family being against the marriage. Thwarted, the woman lost her reason and her lover was accused before the kongsi of Lumar. The kongsi condemned the lover to the payment of half a taël of gold to the Xie family, and he had to provide golden ornaments to the value of a quarter of a taël to be contributed to the kongsi temple. The lover did as ordered, but the Xie family was not satisfied. They found that the gift to the temple should be half a taël. When Mr. Gu protested, the kongsi government became angry at him, called him an unfilial son and told him that it would be better he were to commit suicide. The next day he was awakened by the bookkeeper and expelled. [59] Schaank also mentions the extraordinary custom which allowed persons who felt that they were ruining themselves through gambling, drinking, or opium smoking to ask the kongsi to issue a poster which announced that so-and-so had promised to mend his ways and that all were asked to keep an eye on him. Should he break his vow, he would be obliged to give offerings to a temple, and so forth. In this way a person could put himself tutelage.

      We have these more or less precise indications only for Montrado. Very little has survived from Mandor. The laws of the Lanfang kongsi were framed by Luo Fangbo. They were simple and plain: 1. murder and rebellion were punished by a public beheading; 2. brawling and theft were punished by beating with a cane or by being flogged; 3. to engage in a quarrel was punished by a fine of red silk or candles.[60]


Defence and Military Service

      Earlier we saw that the necessity of defending the Chinese corporate enterprise forced the development of federations of kongsi, or zongting, to be formed for defence against outside enemies. The first enemies are generally said to have been the Dayaks who, with or without the support of their Malay overlords, tried to defend their mining deposits against the Chinese immigrants. In a later stage, the federations or individual kongsis had to defend their holdings against each other: the Heshun Alliance against Lanfang on the one side, and the part of the Heshun zongting under the sway of Jielian, led by Santiaogou and Dagang, on the other etc. Finally, the Chinese mining communities, especially those of Montrado and Mandor, took up arms against the Dutch when the latter, from 1819 onwards, attempted to reinstate their authority in the region and levy taxes from the Chinese.

      Defence, mobilization, and armed conflict were therefore very much a part of the daily life of the Chinese mining communities, and so too must have been military training. Traditionally, in China, every boy in his respective village community would learn the fundamental martial arts of handling swords, spears and various types of cudgels. They were then enrolled in the local militia in divisions of one hundred and eight warriors, each under the authority of the local temple committee and under the patronage of the local deity. Although these peasant armies defended their villages and regions against robbers, and occasionally against government troops, they were also used in time of conflict between villages and lineages (xiedou 械斗). Such local militias were infantry formations, as horses were only used by commanders. Bows appear to have not been an important part of their armament, and cross-bows even less so. It is not clear whether they were never used or if they had been replaced by elementary fire weapons. [61]

      The military organization of the kongsis were in many respects similar to those of the Chinese homeland. All men had to serve in the militia, and all had been trained in the handling of weapons. Divisions were always one hundred and eight men strong, and stood under the protection of the tutelary deity of the community. Based on the illustration in Veth (vol. I, Plate III) of the fanions used by the Chinese, we can still see that they were inscribed, either with the name of the alliance – in this case the Heshun zongting – or with the name of the patron deity – in this case the Sanshan guowang. Before and after each military action, offerings were made in the temple and the deities were consulted by way of divination, often through a spirit-medium.

      Whenever a conflict occurred, all men would be mobilized and all other activities, such as mining and farming, stopped. Arms would be distributed from the armories of the kongsis, to each soldier according to his ability. The bantangfan were known for their marksmanship with the Chinese rifle or musket. Other fire arms, the so-called “lillas”, were small cannons made of bronze and probably originated in India; these were handled by two men. One carried the gun on his shoulder while the other loaded, aimed and fired it. When fired from behind a rampart, lillas were supported by a forklike stand. They fired bullets made from pieces of iron cut from iron staffs imported from India or Thailand. These staffs were of different diameters, from a few millimeters to two centimeters. Large lillas measured between two and three meters in length and could fire bullets of up to one pound. Some heavier cannons, of Arab origin, are also reported.

      During the more than thirty years of armed conflicts between the Dutch and the Chinese (approx. from 1819 to 1854), the armament of the Chinese did not evolve much. Only at a later stage were some heavier armaments bought from Singapore, and captured Dutch guns were also used.

      The fundamental Chinese strategy never changed much either. The Chinese praticised a kind of positional warfare in which the major aim was to conquer the adversaries’ fortresses. These fortresses varied greatly in size and importance. The kongsi houses themselves were, apart from being temples, hostels, armories, treasure houses, salt and opium storages, and administration centres, also fortresses. They were defended by lillas and larger cannons. The townships were defended by stockades (zha). Similar stockades were sometimes built on the frontiers of different mining territories, such as the one built by Santiaogou on the mountain range that separated Lara from Montrado, something reminiscent of the Great Wall! But the most common fortification was the ying , more often called benteng (or benting) by the Dutch authors from the Malay word for stronghold. These ying were built in strategic places, a large one on the forepost of the front called dazhongying 大中營[62] and many smaller ones to give support from the rear. The army would take position in these fortresses, and from there launch attacks on the enemy. The latter would likewise move up to the front and construct similar fortresses. Through repeated short battles and pursuits, a war of attrition was fought where by one party attempted to encircle the other, besiege its fortresses and force it to surrender. Much was invested in psychological props like insults, war cries,  massive beating of gongs, etc. 

      Bentengs were square, usually measuring some thirty to forty meters on each side. They were partly entrenched and had strong earthen walls and palisades. Depending on their size, each would be protected by sixteen or twenty-four lillas. These could be equipped rather quickly by placing smaller, removable lillas inside of the larger ones. [63] Beyond the walls, the place would be defended by sharp bamboo stakes partially hid in the ground and covered by alang-alang grass, and by fall-pits. The fortress would have only one gate, situated in the rear. Bentengs could be constructed in a few days, and in some cases even in a few hours, by massive labour in which all soldiers participated.

      Their traditional weapons and an even more traditional strategy, made that in spite of their numerical advantage, the Chinese were none a match for the Dutch colonial army. The latter would be allowed to advance unmolested to the place of battle and would then attack immediately, without first making fortifications, something for which the Chinese were unprepared. Also, by continuing their attacks following the conquest of the first benteng, the Dutch army made breaches in the defensive fortification, which then made the other fortresses loose heart and flee. Only when the Dutch found themselves besieged inside a fortress, the Chinese did occasionally win.

      Another serious drawback for the Chinese was the fact that war was considered a universal duty in which all should participate. This meant that all economic activity would come to a standstill, therefore weakening the homefront and rendering any long campaign impossible. Several times in the war against the Dutch, a promising situation would have to be abandoned because the rice had to be harvested and the fields prepared for new sowing, forcing the Chinese to demobilize the army.

      Only at the very end, when Montrado was subjugated and the zongting organization dismantled, did the “secret society” of the Triad resort a kind of guerrilla warfare. If this kind of strategy had been used earlier the Dutch troops could have been attacked during their marches through the West Borneo jungle. Occasions for this would have been numerous, as when the Dutch troops were fording streams, and while hauling their artillery (completely useless, as the walls of Chinese bentengs were solid enough to withstand it)[64] with all their luggage and ammunition being carried by none too courageous Malay or Dayak carriers. In that case, the Dutch would never have stood a chance.


Religion and Education

       In Chapter One, we have already discussed the temples, their deities, the fenxiang network as well as the high status of the Taoist priests, and therefore will not return to these subjects here. Most important was the worship of the Sanshan guowang, as these deities were the patrons of the miners. The anniversary of the Third King, worshipped in the Shangwu, was the greatest festival at Montrado. A short description left by Van Rees [65] notes that the celebration lasted several days. He mentions that there were theatre performances in front of the temple, also a large procession took place, participants in which carried a large paper image of “a giant” and a paper boat with many oarsmen through the township. Theatre was a major form of entertainment and Van Rees vividly describes the scene: the surrounding food stalls, the festive atmosphere, and the crowds of spectators from all walks of life and of every age who sometimes travelled from far inland for the occasion. He notes that the plays were performed “in the language of the court”, and that the majority of the public did not understand that idiom, but that the clowns sometimes performed funny acts in the spoken language, to the great amusement of the crowd.[66] This description fits the so-called luantan 亂彈 or huabu 花部 genre of Chinese theater, which became popular during the eighteenth century, especially in temple festivals.[67] The luantan  repertoire was predominantly that of wuxi: military pieces based on the great sagas of the Three Kingdoms, the stories of Tang and Song famous warriors and also of the Shuihu zhuan. Luantan was normally performed in guanhua, the language used by the officials at court and in their administrative dealings in Ming and Qing times, but the parts spoken by the servants and the clowns were usually in the local vernacular of the place where the play was performed. If  the theater group performed at Montrado and other Chinese townships in West Borneo was indeed luantan, then it would be likely that the theater troupes came from outside, most probably from Singapore, for these occasions. Singapore theater troupes have been traveling to the Chinese communities of North Sumatra for performances at religious festivals until the 1960s. Schaank tells us that the festival day was on the twenty-fifth of the second moon, but that in Montrado the festivities began on the eighteenth, as there were not enough  theatre troupes available to play at all the temples were the saint was worshipped. As we saw earlier, the main temple of the Sanshan guowang was at Budok.

      The other festivals mentioned are those well known in China: Yuanxiao 元宵, qingming 清明, duanwu 端午, pudu 普度 (or zhongyuan 中元), and so forth. Von Faber provides the whole list, twenty years before the famous description by De Groot of the festivals of Xiamen. [68]Von Faber also tells us that in addition to these “static” festivals there were the Taoist dajiao 大醮 that were celebrated whenever the occasion called for them, as well as large-scale funeral rites.[69] All this indicates that Montrado must have had a seizable number of Taoist priests.

      Similar detailed descriptions for Mandor are lacking. An interesting eyewitness account of a visit to Mandor by Haccoû in 1830 recounts a festival that took place on September 28 and 29. These dates correspond to the twelfth and the thirteenth day of the eighth lunar month of that year, that is to say, the second festival of Guangong. This was an important date for the renewal of alliances, and the moment when the newly arrived xinke could enter the kongsis. The laoda were also elected on this day. All this was of course a mystery to Haccoû, who just noted what he saw: [70]

      It was on the night of September 28 and 29 that we were continually disturbed in our sleep by the incessant salvoes of rejoicing fired by the Chinese of Mandor; the feast was to be celebrated in the presence of Captain Nipo, who intended to enter the fraternity or to unite with the people at Mandor. The day before some five to six hundred Dayaks from the surrounding localities had arrived, and the same night a crowd of Chinese from Senaman, Guniet, Mamee and elsewhere, who spent the night at the gambling house at Mandor, wasting their money. I put on my cloak and walked into the Kampong. My eyes beheld a strange scene and truly worthy of the brush of the immortal Rembrandt. The entire Kampong was lit up like a garish fire, on all sides there were huge lamps burning or pans with oil in which [floated] five or six wicks; in front of nearly all the houses they had erected their gambling tables, but most of these were  especially close to the kongsi house, where by the light of an incredible number of the aforementioned lamps some two hundred Chinese were playing at various tables, uttering the most ghastly cries, and displaying as many different characteristics to the eye of the observant spectator. – I have, however, no matter how hard I tried, never been able to gauge their game of cards.

From there I entered the kongsi house, where the major [H.A. Henrici] and Van Ende were also present. I forced my way through the crowd and found myself a small spot close to the Dabogong. Three or four tables with piles of roast geese, chickens, or ducks, of which several were painted completely red and others had been mangled in different monstrous ways, stood at different distances from the Dabogong. The captains of the surrounding localities and the heads of the Chinese at Mandor, all swathed in cloaks and wearing on their heads round and upwardly tapering bonnets made of bamboo openwork, walked around the tables in procession, and offered a piece of the larded chicken or duck to the Dabogong each time they passed in front of the main altar. The dishes from which pieces had been taken were all returned to the kitchen, where the fare, cut up into small pieces, was prepared for breakfast.

The procession lasted for about one hour. Then they all gathered together inside a building of the kongsi house. And it was here, as Captain Nipo later told me, that the heads pricked each other in the arm, caught the blood that flowed in small cups and each had to take a small taste from this, by which the fraternity and the oath of mutual loyalty and friendship was established. I was not able to see this, as no European was allowed to be present at this ceremony.

We returned to our house and slept a few more hours. However, we were woken up as early as six o’clock in the morning in order to be present at the remainder of the festivities. From all sides people poured into the kongsi house and seated themselves in circles on the floor. Soon large mats were brought, and one would have to see for oneself the enormous amount of dishes that were brought in, and one would be even more astounded by the sheer animal greed to which a man can surrender himself, as I have witnessed here.

      I will therefore pass over in silence the gluttony of the Chinese, as this will seem to be too utterly incredible to many, and soon I left in disgust a place at which I had seen man so much debased.

Not far from the kongsi house itself, a shed had been erected. Here a number of Dayaks had assembled who, standing together in several groups, awaited the time at which Chinese would have ended their meal, and they on their turn could feast on the leavings. Which is another proof of the changes of fortune and the uncertainties of this world. The Dayak, the original inhabitant of Borneo, the rightful owner of these rich lands, is overruled by the gold-thirsty Chinese, and is not allowed to reap the fruits yielded by the fertile hereditary lands of his forebears.

      Haccoû evidently felt sorry for the Dayaks, in the same way as many other of his fellow-countrymen did. Time and again the protection of the Dayaks against the less than fair treatment they received from the Chinese provided an argument for the wars waged on the kongsis “so as to return West Borneo to its native inhabitants.” This way of looking at the situation is not only rather hypocritical – after all the Malay treated the Dayaks under their control as slaves and extorted from them all kinds of taxes –  but is of course self-serving. As we have seen earlier in this chapter, the relationship between Chinese and Dayaks was certainly not without discrimination, but the boundaries between the two ethnic groups were by no means marked by the kind of “apartheid” which characterized the Dutch colonial regime. In fact they tended over time towards co-existence and integration. This is incidentally also Veth’s conclusion.[71]

      The offering ceremony in honour of Guangong, the patron saint of the ting in Montrado, must have been a very solemn ritual. This and other rituals, especially that of the jiao type, were politically important.[72] Equally important politically must have been the Shrine of the Loyal Servants, the Zhongchen miao. Here the spirit tablets of those who had been leaders or priests of the community were placed, along with those of people who had performed meritorious deeds in the service of the community or had suffered a glorious death on the battlefield. The shrine still existed in Schaank’s time and from the inscriptions on the spirit tablets he was able to reconstruct a great deal of Montrado’s history, such as the dates of the important battles (see below under “conflicts”).

      In a description of the situation in West Borneo published in 1851, General-Major H.J.J.L. Ridder De Stuers, a high Dutch official, attempted to give a positive evaluation of the contribution of the Chinese mining communities to the development of that part of the island. After having mentioned the innate capacities of the Chinese to colonize new territories even under the dire circumstances which prevailed there at the time and their faithfulness to Chinese civilization, which ensured that from the second generation onwards, their descendants were brought up as Chinese, De Stuers makes an important remark on the schools:

      The establishment of a school in each village, however small, is one of their first preoccupations. One will look in vain for a Chinese who cannot read or write, and nevertheless they have no school inspectors, and do not hold commencement addresses! Truly a remarkable nation! which we in many respects might wish to study. [73]

      The colonial official’s admiration smacks of gross exaggeration and is reminiscent of that old European tendency to adulate or to execrate China. Be that as it may, other authors confirm that there were in fact many schools in the mining districts and that literacy there was at quite a high level. [74] One of the most interesting testimonies is that of Doty and Pohlman. 

      Montrado contains a great number of children, for whom there are but four schools. We noticed several boys of the ages of ten, twelve, and fourteen who read pretty well, and whom we supplied with books. This we consider as an indication that some attention is paid to education, although the number of schools is very inadequate for the population.[75]

      On Mandor they wrote:

      Three village schools are sustained. The demand for books on our route has been so urgent that we have retained only a few for this place. As we find several Chinese tracts lying around, there seems to be less need for an abundant supply at this time. Among a parcel of books and Chinese writings in our room, we have found a copy of  Milne’s Sermons and a portion of the Scriptures, which are much marked up, and appear to have been studied as well as read. [76]

      We have seen elsewhere that the literacy among the Hakka miners was relatively high. This is also borne out by the few letters and other documents from the hands of the kongsi miners that have come down to us, and which invariably show good calligraphy and a fluent style. For most of these writers, the skills of literacy might well have been acquired on the Chinese mainland, the most evident example of such an educational level being of course Luo Fangbo himself, capable as he was of writing poetry and essays. Indubitably the style of the classical language of the Chronicle of the Lanfang Kongsi is excellent. Many other examples could no doubt be cited once the documents that are still available among the Chinese population of West Borneo or in the Indonesian archives have been collected and seriously studied.

      What concerns us here, however, is not so much the degree of literacy among the immigrant miners, but the fact that they thought it to be their duty to create and finance schools for their half-Chinese, half-Dayak offspring. The duty to create schools for their children, even if they were halfcast, was certainly a sign of their commitment to Confucian values, a commitment also expressed in the earlier-mentioned institution of the Zhongchen miao.



       As the materials above show, Montrado and Mandor were indeed places where a certain degree of prosperity and happiness existed. But there were also problems. Mines did not remain productive forever. With the population growth their exploding, increasingly more mines had to be opened and gold-bearing lodes had to be found. Even with a very adaptable population of Hakka Chinese, the development of new means of livelihood such a agriculture and manufacturing could not be achieved overnight, hence the necessity for  geographic expansion to new mining grounds became imperative. Inevitably this became a source for renewed conflicts with the other population groups of Borneo, the Malays and the Dayaks. It of course also caused confrontations between the kongsis themselves. In this section we will deal with the conflicts between the Chinese and their Malay and Dayak neighbours, as well as among themselves in the period when the Dutch were virtually absent in West Borneo. The Dutch re-establishment of authority and its impact on the mining federations will be explored in the next chapter.

A. The Battles of Lanfang

       The first serious inter-Chinese conflict may well have been related to the establishment of the Lanfang kongsi or Lanfang zongting by Luo Fangbo in 1777. As we have seen, the history of that early period is very poorly documented and almost all our information has been handed down in the Chronicle of the Lanfang Kongsi which, in view of the deification of its founder, is decidedly hagiographic. In one story, Luo Fangbo goes to war against the Montrado. While he was still establishing himself, Luo Fangbo pacified the Dayaks at Mandor and then defeated Liu Qianxiang, the rival leader established at Minghuang. After defeating Liu Qianxiang, Luo Fangbo went to war with Montrado though the Chronicle does not give us a date. Liu was allied with Montrado, and Schaank reports that his spirit tablet was kept at the Montrado Zhongchen miao. All this must therefore have taken place in the years that followed the establishment of the zongting of Lanfang. We have seen that, according to the Chronicle, Luo led his troops to the hills surrounding Montrado and from there observed the township. The geographic configuration suggested to him the form of a caldron, and from this he deduced that the place could only be taken “once the caldron had started to boil”; in other words, the time for destroying Montrado had not yet arrived. He therefore led his troops back and abandoned his plans. Schaank is no doubt right when he supposes that Luo Fangbo was in fact defeated by the allied command of Montrado, something which the oral tradition there confirmed, and which he noted himself. [77] There are in Schaank, as well as in De Groot, a few references to a place on the hills surrounding Montrado which was called “Lanfanghui dong”, “The Hill of the Lanfang Association”. This gave some grounds for assuming that the place name indicated that a Lanfang hui had been established on that hill before the Lanfang kongsi and zongting was founded by Luo Fangbo, but I think this was not the case. Settlements, be the mining townships or agricultural colonies, were never situated on hills but always on the plains, because of the necessity of having ample water resources. It therefore seems to me that this hill must have been the place where the Lanfang hui was defeated. In fact it was believed that the spirit of the deceased Liu Qianxiang led the Montrado soldiers to victory. The same tradition held that in his attempt to attack Montrado, Luo was helped by one of the kongsis of the Heshun alliance, that of Xin Bafen. This attempted treason would have dire consequences for this kongsi in later years. In fact, although occasionally Mandor and Montrado would co-operate or help each other against the Dayaks or the Dutch, the relationship between the two “republics” was never truly cordial, a fact that weakened the Chinese presence in West Borneo and was assiduously exploited by the Dutch.

After the attempted conquest of Montrado, peace seems to have returned to the Chinese communities for several years, at least as far as their mutual feuding was concerned. For the ever belligerent Mandor, the problem of growth and expansion manifested itself at an early stage in conflicts with the sultanate. In 1790, having undergone a steady growth after it consolidated the zongting in Mandor, the Lanfang kongsi now had a population of twenty thousand and it began to flex its muscles. The local Malay heads saw their monopolies of agriculture and commerce slipping out of their hands. The regular land taxes were decided to the advantage of the kongsi. To make matters worse,  as soon as Mandor started being exhausted like its counterparts in Montrado, the Lanfang kongsi began to search for new mining sources in Mampawa in the north, Pontianak in the south, and Landak in the east. In contrast to the fourteen kongsis of Heshun, Lanfang was not rent by keen internal competition and confrontation, but it did meet opposition from and was harassed by the Malay rulers and the Dayak tribes on whose territory it had established itself. This problem had existed there even since Luo Fangbo established the Lanfang kongsi. As we shall see, the kongsi’s later decline was partly due to the wars with the Dayaks of Landak.

      As a result of all these circumstances, Lanfang adopted a relatively flexible strategy in dealing with other groups. The most important fact to remember is that the kongsi was a pure Hakka community, since only those Hakkas who were from Jiayingzhou and Dapuxian were entitled to be the members of the Lanfang kongsi. In problems with outsiders, it stood shoulder to shoulder with the kongsis of Montrado. It joined them in the fights against the Malays and the Dayaks, and lost no time in playing a role in the internal conflicts within the Heshun zongting. Finally, the Lanfang leaders chose to collaborate with the local Dutch authorities when the Dutch entered this area, and used this alliance as a political protection shield. 

      From beginning to end, the expansion of Lanfang into Mampawa met with resistance from the Panambahan of Mampawa, who incited his Dayak subjects to oppose any incursion. The confrontation deteriorated badly in the last decade of the eighteenth century. Jiang Wubo, who succeeded Luo Fangbo as the headman of the zongting in 1795, was described as a hero renowned for his military prowess against the Dayaks. He was said to have cut off eighteen Dayak heads in one blow with a eighteen-pound sword. He was, it was also said, “as dreadful as a tiger to the local Dayaks.” The saying went that: “The Dayaks fear Jiang Wubo as if he were Zhang Wenyuan [displaying his power] in Xiaoyaojin”[78]. During his term of office, the nearby Dayak tribes were therefore too scared to harass Chinese settlements. 

      Jiang Wubo went back to his native town Jiayingzhou in 1799. His successor, Que Sibo, was a head without military talent, which encouraged the Dayak of Mampawa to resume their confrontation with the Lanfang kongsi. Que Sibo had to deal constantly with harassment from the Dayaks during his four-year term of office. When Jiang Wubo returned to Mandor from China in 1803, Que Sibo immediately offered his post to him and asked him to handle the Dayaks. The account given in the Chronicle is as follows:

      “You came back just in time. Encouraged by the Panambahan, the Dayak now wreak havoc on us. You should give me a hand ( to stop them)”, said Que Sibo. Jiang Wubo brought soldiers to Maodunliniao 冒頓黎鳥[79] next day and stayed there for one night. The day after, they arrived at Yuanyishuxia 原議樹下[80] and set up tents in the bay. When a boat drifted down the river, the man in the boat was ordered to land and was identified as Dayak. The Dayak was too afraid to say where he was going when he was asked. He was scared out of his wits when Jiang Wubo shouted at him. After quite a while, he finally answered “to Mampawa”. “You tell the Panambahan to come to meet me tomorrow. Otherwise, we will destroy Mampawa.” The day after, the Panambahan came to the meeting. “The Dayak  cause so much trouble, how can you sit by and watch? If this occurs again, you will be held responsible for them.” Jiang warned. The Panambahan kept on saying “yes” as he walked out. Hereafter, the Dayak ceased their harassment.

      Jiang Wubo resumed his office as headman of the Lanfang zongting and held it for eight years, as to the Panambahan of Mampawa and the Dayak tribes they made no more trouble for thirty years.

During this period, Lanfang set up many villages around Pontianak. The major economic activities in these new Chinese settlements were agriculture, livestock husbandry, breweries, and small-scale trading businesses. In contrast to their experience in Mampawa, the Chinese were relatively successful in their expansion in this region. They only needed to pay the ruler of Pontianak a small amount in harbour taxes for their ships, and a small amount in rice import taxes. Mostly, the taxes were paid under the guise of  presents and no further obligations were required.[81] Under such conditions Pontianak very much became a “Lanfang” town, and, as we shall see, the Jiatai of Mandor was consulted whenever the Dutch Resident had any problems with the Chinese of West Borneo. There were two Chinese settlements in Pontianak. Located on the left bank of the Pontianak River, the bigger of the two was a Hakka settlement which was adjacent to the Dutch settlement. The other one, situated along the Landak River and facing the residence of the Malay sultan, was a settlement of the Hokkien and the Hoklo.[82] Most local people in Pontianak engaged in commerce and ship-building for a living, but the Chinese also planted rice and sugarcane and were engaged in fishing. In this way they grew relatively richer than the other groups in this region. Mandor henceforward offered a picture of relative stability and prosperity, marred only by the continuous conflicts it had with the Malay sultanates and their Dayak subjects, stemming from its exploitation of Landak.

B. Montrado, the First Split

       The picture was very different in Montrado, where the alliance of fourteen kongsis proved to be difficult to maintain over an extended period of time. In fact, there were continuous conflicts between the allied kongsis. As was only to be expected, the relationships between the fourteen varied from very close, to distant and even hostile, and these situations also tended to alter over time. Schaank reports that in 1776 the most influential kongsis were Santiaogou, Jielian, Shibafen, Xinwu, and Dagang. Their feuding started fairly soon after Wen Sancai became dage in 1807. Dagang and Jielian fell out over auriferous lands situated near the Shangwu of Montrado. Jielian had occupied the foremost position among the kongsis of the alliance. It rallied around it a number of other wealthy kongsis, such as Lao Shisifen, Xin Bafen (the one which co-operated with Luo Fangbo), Lao Shisifen, and Xin Shisifen (ordinarily called “Xinwu”, the “New House”), whereas Dagang could count on the support of Santiaogou, Shi’erfen, and Kengwei (see the table of the Montrado kongsis in Chapter One). Soon, however, Kengwei succeeded in convincing Xinwu to come over to Dagang’s side.

A recently discovered Chinese manuscript on the history of the kongsis of Montrado deals with the conflict between Dagang and Jielian. This “History of the Land of Montrado” is a remarkable source because it reflects the way in which the events were perceived by the Chinese themselves. It begins as follows: [83]

       Let me now report on the region of Montrado: formerly the Jielian kongsi was the most powerful. Moreover, it had an alliance of mutual assistance with the Xin  Bafen kongsi and likewise with the Lao Shisifen kongsi. It also received the support of the Xin Shisifen kongsi. Because of this, its men were numerous, and it was strong and prosperous. Later these four kongsis united against another four kongsis, which were the Dagang kongsi, the Santiaogou kongsi, the Shiwufen kongsi and the Kengwei kongsi. After this situation had gone on for two years, the Dagang kongsi, in conjunction with the Kengwei kongsi, gave Xin Shisifen a copper platter. The last-mentioned agreed that they would change their allegiance and join the attack against the three kongsis: Jielian, Xin Bafen, and Lao Shisifen.

       The immediate cause of the attack seems to have been the following: Jielian possessed a large water reservoir (pagong) near the villages of Boqiexia and Sanbasha, south of Montrado. It was now reported to Dagang that Jielian was preparing to divert water from this reservoir to the adjacent mines of Dagang so as to flood them. Hearing this, Dagang immediately mobilized four hundred men who to went Jielian’s pagong in the middle of the night and diverted its waters in a way that not Dagang’s, but Jielian’s mines were flooded. Now an open conflict erupted and, in the words of the “History of the Land of Montrado”:

       Dagang also forged an alliance to join forces with three additional kongsis: Shiliufen, Shisanfen, and Jiufentou. There were then seven large kongsis altogether. As a band they attacked Jielian and its two allies. These were heavily defeated forthwith. The victors seized possession of all the gunpowder, flintlocks, and other goods of the three defeated kongsis and divided them equally among themselves. Thereupon they established peace and there were no more problems.

       The Jielian kongsi disintegrated and some of its members escaped to Pahang 巴亨. Dagang subsequently annexed the mining area adjacent to it. The Lao Shisifen kongsi was disbanded and its mining fields were integrated into the Xinwu kongsi. Commemorative tablets for the fallen soldiers erected in the Zhongchen miao of Montrado show that the fighting took place during the eleventh lunar month of the year 1807.[84]

C. The Elimination of Xin Bafen

        Now that Dagang and Santiaogou had eliminated the most powerful of the kongsis, the Jielian, they set about eliminating also its allies. Among them was Xin Bafen, a kongsi composed of people from Haifeng and thus Banshanke in origin. As we have seen, it had once attempted to help Luo Fangbo in his attempt to conquer Montrado and this had not been forgotten. Dagang obtained the active support of Santiaogou, but the other kongsis preserved their neutrality. A leader of Santiaogou called Zhu Fenghua, also a prominent figure in the later history of the Chinese in West Borneo, was appointed military commander and put at the head of the troops. Xin Bafen could only count on the overt help of Jiufentou.

      This conflict, which began in 1808 and for which we have only Schaank’s testimony, lasted for a full six months. This gives us reason to suppose that, whereas in the beginning the sympathy of most of the allied kongsis had been on the side of Dagang since it had been wronged by Jielian, now at least some of them must have attempted to help Jielian’s allies (and perhaps what was left of Jielian itself) so as to counter the rising hegemony of Dagang and Santiaogou. During the hostilities, which saw some very heavy fighting, the bazaar of Montrado went up in flames. Finally, at the end of 1808, Dagang and Santiaogou emerged victorious. Xin Bafen and Jiufentou were annihilated and their names obliterated from the list of the Heshun alliance. Schaank reports that their territories were divided under Dagang, Kengwei, and Xinwu.[85] Lao Bafen and Shisanfen were also dismantled in the same year. Dagang took over the mines of Xin Bafen while Xinwu and Kengwei divided up those of Shisanfen.

      Jielian and Xin Bafen had both been the protectors of a number of kongsis in Lara. [86] These kongsis now were dispersed, and Dagang took possession of their territory. This made Dagang the sole most powerful force in Lara, something which was to have far reaching consequences.

D.  The Politics of Zhu Fenghua

         What is remarkable about this redistribution of territories following the victory over Xin Bafen is that shock waves of its repercussions were more far-reaching than the initial destruction of Jielian itself. One incomprehensible fact is that Santiaogou, although it took control of the operations under its commander Zhu Fenghua, apparently was not allowed any new territories in the redistribution of lands following the victory. Santiaogou did not share in the spoils, yet one of its chiefs had been the commander of the troops and led the troops to victory over Xin Bafen, the erstwhile ally of Jielian and of Lanfang. This seems so illogical that we must consider that perhaps when Schaank collected these facts from the oral and written tradition of Montrado, some facts must have been distorted during the more than seventy years that had gone by since the events in question had occurred. Since the eighteen-twenties, after all, Montrado had been under the rule of Dagang. The natural tendency for the local people would be to amplify the role of Dagang at the expense of the former greatness of Santiaogou. Despite the probable lapse of memory, that greatness must have been real, otherwise the military command would not have been given to a person of Santiaogou, nor would this kongsi have been able, in later years, to make several of its members, including the famous Zhu Fenghua, head of the zongting. It is not surprising then that after Jielian had been expunged, it was Santiaogou which assumed the position of the most powerful kongsi, probably by absorbing most of it. It must also have been Santiaogou, and its commander Zhu Fenghua, who arranged the distribution of the spoils of the victory among the lesser kongsis, Xin Bafen and Jiufentou. Being itself very powerful already, it distributed these to its allies such as Dagang, Kengwei, and Xinwu. This is, of course, only an educated guess, but it is quite certain that, for this early stage, the role of Dagang was exaggerated by Schaank’s informants.

Whatever the real situation might have been, the two-year long conflict changed the overall arrangements of the Heshun zongting. By the end of 1808, there were only seven kongsis left in Montrado: Dagang, Kengwei, Santiaogou, Manhe, Xinwu, Shiwufen, and Taihe. This marked the beginning of the so-called Era of the Seven Kongsis of Heshun. In fact however, only Santiaogou and Dagang possessed real power. When Liu Guibo, a member of the Xinwu kongsi, succeeded Wen Sancai as the head of the Heshun in 1814, he attempted to build a new power base by integrating Kengwei into Xinwu and thus creating a third powerful unit. But this move was opposed by the other kongsis. Thus thwarted, Liu Guibo became so scared that he did not dare  to venture out the ting for ten days in a row and finally resigned.[87] 

Liu Guibo’s successor was the aforementioned Liu Zhengbao, a miner from Dagang.[88] When Liu returned to China in 1818, Hu Yalu from Santiaogou took his place. Hu was a sword-smith, which means he was not a miner but an artisan from the bazaar, and he was of Fujian origin. His term of office was very short, because he also tried to alter the power structure of the Heshun alliance. Once he assumed office, he changed the title “Heshun” to “Guangfu”, which implied an alliance or an equal relationship between Guangdong and Fujian. Many traders and artisans, especially in the coastal cities, were of Fujian origin, and this, plus the fact that Hu himself was an artisan, leads one to assume that his move was aimed at uniting the rich bazaar party of Montrado with the apparently increasingly agriculturally minded Santiaogou. This action was received with such strong hostility, that the sword-smith had to resign after he had been in office for only three months. After this, a verse recounting this story was widespread in Montrado: “The Dagang people had no eyes (i.e.: they were ignorant of the danger ahead) and thus the Heshun was dumped and changed into the Guangfu” (Dagangren wumu, qi Heshun gai Guangfu 大港人無目, 棄和順改廣福).[89]

      Hu Yalu was replaced, in 1819,  but by the earlier mentioned Zhu Fenghua of Santiaogou. This is a sure sign that Dagang indeed “had no eyes” and that Santiaogou’s influence was waxing. As we have seen, Zhu Fenghua had won his spurs as the army’s commander during the 1808 conflict with Xin Bafen, and had since become the highly respected secretary of the zongting, entitling him to the respectful form of address, xiansheng (“Sing Sang”). During his term of office, Dutch authority returned to West Borneo. It was he who met the first Dutch representatives such as Muller and Prediger. These officials, of whom we shall say more in the next chapter, visited the zongting in November 1818, when Hu Yalu had already been dismissed after three months in office (after Chinese New Year). Zhu was therefore, while still only secretary, the caretaker and consequently the most powerful person in the zongting. The Dutch authorities gave this “Sing Sang” the title of Jiatai (“Great Captain”), a name that until then was only used for the chief of Lanfang at Mandor.[90] From that time he is known in the Dutch sources as “Kapitein Chinees Sing Sang”. Schaank remarks that Zhu is the only official of Montrado ever to have received this title. Zhu Fenghua also maintained an excellent personal relationship with Mohamad Ali-Tsafiudin (1815-1828), the reigning sultan of Sambas. This friendship would help him very much during the events that followed (see Chapter Three).

      All this, in addition to the already strong position of Santiaogou, led Zhu Fenghua to aspire to greater power than that of an ordinary elected dage, destined to exercise his leadership for a period of only a few years and always dependent on the “parliament” of the zongting. Hence he attempted to be nominated, certainly with Dutch and Malay support, Jiatai for the duration of his life, just as that was the case for the leaders of Lanfang in Mandor. Here he went too far. The entire alliance, with the exception of his own kongsi and the two smallest kongsis of Shi’erfen and Taihe, turned against him. Fearing for his life, Zhu Fenghua first no longer dared to exercise his mandate from the ting but ruled from the kongsi house of Santiaogou in Montrado.[91]  Finally, in 1820, he fled to Sambas, where he had earlier founded a representative office and hostel of the Montrado zongting, and where he settled himself under the protection of the sultan of Sambas.

For this very important development we again have only the testimony of Schaank’s informants, but this event seems too important, not to mention too characteristic, to have been invented. In the following chapters we shall see that the Dutch authorities were unhappy with the democratic system of Montrado which gave them no established individual partner to be cajoled into becoming the ally of the colonial rule with money and privileges. On the contrary, the democratic policy brought them face to face with an unruly parliament of Hakka miners which did not tolerate any infringement of their sovereignty. This prompted them, as we shall see, to make very great efforts to impose some kind of “regent” on the Montrado republic in the person of Zheng Hong 鄭宏, who was to experience the same fate as the “Kapitein Chinees Sing Sang” Zhu Fenghua.

Veth gives a different account of the reasons that made Zhu Fenghua flee to Sambas. His version is based on the reports of Assistant-Resident Muller in Sambas. He claimed the people of Dagang grew jealous of Zhu because of his great authority. Another reason given was the competition for good mining territory. Both parties had their sights set on the rich sediments of Sepang. When the conflict broke out, Santiaogou was backed by only the two smallest kongsis, and hence Zhu was forced to flee. It is probable that this version is the one that Mr. Zhu himself told the Assistant-Resident when he got to Sambas. [92]

Whatever the truth may have been, the republic of Montrado was again without a president. The remaining four kongsis, now that Santiaogou, Shi’er fen, and Taihe had been disqualified, sent a message to Liu Zhengbao in China asking him to return to Montrado and take over the government. Liu obliged and returned to West Borneo, but did not get back before 1821. Hence he was elected dage on the following Chinese New Year, that is in the beginning of 1822. Again according to Muller, Liu did not come alone but was accompanied by a group of soldiers who had deserted and former pirates who had served under the infamous headman “Sen-ti-pai” [93]. These terrible toughs were, Muller says, of  gigantic proportions and strength. The poor members of Santiaogou were no match for them and the sultan of Sambas also could only watch the terrible goings-on, being utterly helpless to do anything about them. [94]

After Zhu had left Montrado for Sambas, Dagang finally emerged as the most powerful kongsi. For the time being, the Santiaogou kongsi was not disbanded nor was it persecuted. It remained stationed in Montrado, and, as Liu Zhengbao was later to report to Tobias, Dagang even protected the property and the salt of Santiaogou against those who wanted to profit from the absence of its leader. During the preceding years, the mining ventures had expanded far outside the region of Montrado eastwards to Lara, and northwards to Pamangkat (gold, copper, and agriculture) and to the north-east to Seminis, Sepang, and Lumar. The new mines in Lara had been put into operation by Dagang, Kengwei, and Xinwu; in Lumar they were operated by Shiwufen. Both Dagang and Santiaogou wanted to dig in Sepang and Seminis, regions which were situated far nearer to Sambas than to Montrado itself. 

What must have happened can be reconstructed as follows: we have already seen that one of the reasons for the flight of Zhu Fenghua to Sambas was said to have been the conflict with Dagang over the mines in Sepang. Zhu now went to obtain from his friend, the sultan, the exclusive rights to the mine in Sepang, promising that “after the war” he and his two brothers, the Pangerans Bindahara and Tommogong, would each receive one-twentieth of the yields of the mines of Dagang.[95] The mention of the brothers is important, inasmuch they had fiefs in Lara, and that therefore the war to be waged on Dagang was not only to be limited to Sepang, but was to encompass Lara as well. Zhu and his fellow members of Santiaogou said that Dagang had attacked “their” mines in Lara. In fact Santiaogou did not have mines in Lara, but a kongsi related to them, the Xiawu kongsi (not to be confounded with Dagang’s Xiawu house at Montrado) was active in this area. They also warned that soon a host of thirty thousand Dagang miners, after having conquered Lumar and Seminis, would arrive to attack Sambas, a rumour that was not based on any true evidence whatsoever. Thus, and against the orders that had been given by Tobias who at that time had returned to Batavia, the sultan prevailed on the Resident, Van Grave, to launch a military expedition to halt the “Dagang invasion”. The Dutch detachment, fifty-four men strong under Lieutenant Von Kielbeg, spearheading an army of Santiaogou braves, took to the road in May 1822. Apparently they did not meet any dangerous opponents on their march to the south, either at Seminis or at Sepang, or indeed at Lumar. Finally they arrived at Bengkayang, the main township of Lara. Here they encountered armed resistance from Dagang, which had put up a number of bentengs. The Dutch attacked one of them, and Von Kielbeg was promptly shot in the knee, a wound from which he soon died. Dagang thereupon spared the Dutch soldiers, who could return freely to Sambas where they arrived on the 31st May. Those of Santiaogou were thoroughly routed and fled to Seminis. [96]  

Discouraged by these events, Santiaogou decided to leave Montrado. Its members did so by stealth, slipping away at dead night, during the festival of Duanwujie, which in 1822 fell on 23rd June. The Chinese manuscript the “History of the Land of Montrado” describes this as follows:

       Who could have known that several years later the members of the Santiaogou kongsi, suddenly in the dead of night, without any reason, would collect their gold and steal away? They then secretly ordered those under their sway living in Baimangtou 白芒頭, Banyaoya , Shuilonggui 水壟珪, and Sibale [97] to follow them and flee. At Gunung Penaring 大凹[98] they built two stockades, dividing up their soldiers to guard them so that all people passing by could be captured. As a result, nobody dared to pass.

       Gunung Penaring is a mountainous range that marks the border between Montrado and Lara. Santiaogou in fact fled to the earlier-mentioned Xiawu kongsi of Bengkayang, which, because of its relationship to Santiaogou, was sometimes called “Little Santiaogou.” By taking over Lara, Santiaogou chased away the smaller independent kongsis Zanhe, Yuanhe and Shenghe which fell under Dagang’s protection. Their members fled to Montrado. The remaining four kongsis of the zongting at Montrado now had no other choice but to first dismantle the kongsi house of Santiaogou and then to try to dislodge their enemy from Lara. The Chinese text continues therefore by recounting: [99]

        When later on the people of the Dagang kongsi found out about this, they convened the four kongsis[100] at the ting for deliberations. Who could have known that they would find out that the Shiwufen kongsi and the Shiliufen kongsi had also joined the others in the fight? Every household of the four kongsis now had to prepare its weapons and together they raised a large army. They marched straight to Serukam, where they pitched camp. Then they ascended Gunung Penaring and attacked the stockades of the enemy.

Who could have known that the mountain roads of Gunung Penaring would be steep and difficult to pass for the anxious heroes? After fighting for several days without cease, many soldiers were wounded, but the stockades could not be conquered. There was nothing they could do about it! Therefore they asked local people to guide the soldiers along paths from other places. They now mounted an attack on two fronts via the mountain ridge. After the two big stockades of the enemy had been destroyed, they pursued the enemy with their combined force straight to the bazaar of Lara, where they set up camp. They again moved their soldiers down to the water reservoir (pomian 坡面) of Bayan 把煙 and built a big stockade to serve as their large central camp. They planned what to do next and discussed destroying the large stockade of the mine houses of the Santiaogou kongsi and the Little Santiaogou kongsi at Xiawu.

         So at last Dagang and its allies from Montrado prevailed, and it was not long after that Santiaogou left Xiawu for good. Montrado occupied Lara, but soon the Dutch returned and dislodged them, and thereafter placed a garrison in that town.

          Thus ends the history of the Chinese kongsis during the period of the absence of Dutch authority. From then on, the conflicts would be no longer be between themselves or with the Dayak subjects of the Malay sultans, but predominantly with the Dutch colonial government. The main actors for this drama have now appeared on the stage: Montrado is still strong and prosperous but diminished by the departure of some of its major members, especially Santiaogou. The Heshun Alliance has shown itself to be fervently attached to its political system, its autonomy and its land, besides having a great propensity to internal conflicts. From 1822 on, its main opponent will be Santiaogou and its chief, “Sing Sang”, friend of the sultan of Sambas and soon friend of the Dutch, representing the “good Chinese” to whom the Dutch government pledges, and will continue to pledge time and again, to protect and to reinstall their “rightful” possessions, which have been “given” to them by the sultan of Sambas, the vassal of the Dutch government. This curious political situation will be the main cause for the future “kongsi war” and will ultimately  result in the final destruction of Montrado. When this war took place in the 1850’s the Lanfang kongsi of Mandor, never a true democratic policy, stood by watching from the sidelines and tried to maintain its neutrality.

      Passing what has been described in review, it may be said that the conflicts and the divisions between the kongsis themselves in the end were detrimental to the survival of the great “republic”. Even when the Dutch had started to curtail their autonomy and had already once destroyed the bazaar of Montrado, the few remaining kongsis of the alliance, Dagang, Kengwei, Xinwu, and Manhe continued to feud and to fight each other (1837). Finally, in a protracted process of  intrigue and fighting, vividly described in another Chinese text, the Xianshi gushi 先時故事 (The Tale of Former Times), in 1839 Dagang eliminated all the others and, for some time, remained the sole kongsi at Montrado. These events took place within the context of the ongoing conflicts with Santiaogou and the Dutch, and will be studied in the next chapter. A complete translation of the original Chinese text of the Xianshi gushi is provided in the Appendix 3.


[1] G. Earl, Eastern Seas, pp. 199-342.

[2] E. Doty and W.J. Pohlman, “Tour in Borneo”, pp. 283-310.

[3] Which he calls “Montradok”. See Earl, Eastern Seas, p. 284.

[4] Earl, Eastern Seas, p. 210.

[5]  On the numbers of inhabitants of the mining districts as reported by different authors, see Chapter 3.

[6] Doty and Pohlman, “Tour in Borneo”, p. 303.

[7]  We do not know why Mandor is referred in this way. Kielstra does the same.

[8] Doty and Pohlman, “ Tour in Borneo”, p. 307.

[9] The Chronicle of the Lanfang Kongsi.

[10] Van Rees, Montrado. Geschied- en krijgkundige bijdrage betreffende de onderwerping der Chinezen op Borneo, naar het dagboek van een Indisch officier over 1854-1856,  ‘s Hertogenbosch 1858, p. 44.

[11] Ritter, Indische herinneringen, pp. 125-126.

[12] Francis, “Westkust van Borneo in 1832”, p. 23.

[13] Van Rees, Montrado, pp. 76-77.

[14] M. von Faber, “Schets van Montrado in 1861”, in TBG 13 (1864), p. 462.

[15] Van Rees, Montrado, pp. 82-83.

[16] This miner’s hat is only mentioned here. We do not know what it looked like. See Von Faber, “Schets van Montrado in 1861”, pp. 464-468.

[17] Van Rees, Montrado, pp. 83-84.

[18] Van de Graaf, “Over de goudgraverijen in de afdeeling Sambas”, TNI, IX, D.II, p. 397.

[19] Earl, Eastern Seas, p. 287.

[20]  Schaank, De Kongsis van Montrado, pp. 75-76; Earl, Eastern Seas, p. 286.

[21] M. von Faber, “Schets van Montrado in 1861”, p. 466.

[22] Van Rees, Montrado, p. 51.

[23] Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol.I, p. 517.

[24] Ibidem, vol. I, p. 318.

[25] Quoted from Feng Chengjun’s Hailu Zhu, 1955, p. 53. Hailu or “Records of Overseas [Regions]”, by  Xie Qinggao 谢清高. See Appendix 1.

[26] Quoted from Feng Chengjun, Huilu Zhu, p. 53.

[27] Hailu Zhu, p. 51.

[28] Van Rees, Montrado, pp. 51-53.

[29] Ibidem, p. 54.

[30] M. von Faber, “Schets van Montrado in 1861”, p. 475.

[31] Van Rees, Montrado, p. 53.

[32] Ritter, Indische herinneringen, pp. 115-116. The remark applies to the Chinese in the mining districts and the sex ratio includes the Dayak women.

[33] Earl, Eastern Seas, p. 259.

[34] I visited Luo’s hometown in Meizhou (the former Jiaying zhou) in 1996. Even today, the old house where Luo Fangbo spent his early years still stands. When Luo Fangbo went to Borneo, he left his former wife and children at home. Descendants of Luo Fangbo still live in the small village which is named Xinancun 西南村.

[35] Taige , elder brother. When Luo Fangbo became the leader of Lanfang kongsi, he was respected as a Taige of the Hakka people.

[36] A district of Jiaying zhou.

[37] Hailu Zhu, p. 53.

[38] Earl, Eastern Seas, pp. 293-294.

[39] Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol.I, p. 302.

[40] Ritter, Indische herinneringen, p. 119.

[41] See Chapter 6.

[42] Earl, Eastern Seas, pp. 294-295.

[43] Van de Graaf, “Verslag eener reis naar Montrado, gedaan in het jaar 1844”, TNI, 1847, 9, III, pp. 69-70.

[44] Schaank, De Kongsis van Montrado, p. 40.

[45] See Hailu Zhu, p. 53.

[46] Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol.I, “Inleiding”, p. 31.

[47] Ibidem, p. 302.

[48] Ibidem, p. 322.

[49] Schaank, De Kongsis van Montrado, p. 73.

[50] Ibidem, p. 72.

[51] Ibidem, pp. 79-80.

[52] Ibidem, pp. 74-76.

[53] Reproduced on the title-page of vol. II of Veth’s Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling.

[54] Earl, Eastern Seas, p. 304 (Italics mine).

[55] Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol.I, p. 321.

[56] Schaank, De Kongsis van Montrado, pp. 84-86.

[57] Van Rees, Montrado, pp. 78-81.

[58] “ De verwikkelingen van het Nederlandsch-Indisch gouvernement met de Chinesche bevolking op westelijk Borneo toegelicht”, in TNI, 1853, II, pp. 287-289.

[59] Schaank, De Kongsis van Montrado, pp. 85-86.

[60] The Chronicle of the Lanfang Kongsi.

[61] The Dutch reports on the battles and also later on the kinds of weapons that were seized from the Chinese strongholds mention halberds, swords and sabres and especially large lilla guns, but never bows or cross-bows.

[62] Compare the “History of the Land of Montrado”, where this term is used for the principal defensive fortress of Lara.

[63] Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol. I, p. 324.

[64] See, for instance, Veth Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol. II, p. 169 and especially p. 422. 

[65] Van Rees, Montrado, pp. 64-65.

[66] Ibidem, p. 62.

[67] The Hakka of Meizhou developed their own kind of theater called hanju 漢劇 which also was played in Mandarin, but this only began after the 1911 revolution.

[68] M. von Faber, “Schets van Montrado in 1861”, pp. 457-491.

[69] Ibidem, p. 478.

[70] J. Haccoû, “Reizen door de binnenlanden ter Westkust Borneo, gedurende de jaren 1830-1833”, 53 pages, KITLV, manuscript collection, no. H251. See also “Fragmenten van eene reis op de Westkust van Borneo in 1830”, in TNI, 3, 1867, Ser 1:2, pp. 474-502.

[71] Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol. I, p. 317, and other places.

[72] See the Conclusion of this work.

[73] Quoted by Veth, vol.I, p. 312.

[74] At approximately the same time Van Rees also states that: “Schools are numerous and churches (i.e.: temples) few.” See Van Rees Montrado, p. 45.

[75] Doty and Pohlman, “Tour in Borneo”,  p. 302.

[76] Ibidem, p. 307.

[77]  Schaank, De Kongsis van Montrado, pp. 33-35.

[78] Zhang Wenyuan, also called Zhang Fei, is a famous hero in the very well known Chinese novel The Narrative of  the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo zhi yanyi 三國志演義). He was famous for his valour and bravery. Apparently the author of the Chronicle made a mistake here, because the hero of the battle at Xiaoyaojin was someone who called Zhang Liao, not Zhang Wenyuan. See The Narrative of the Three Kingdoms, chapter 67.

[79] This place is not clear.

[80] The meaning of this sentence is not clear.

[81] Tobias, “De Westkust van Borneo”, p. 35.

[82] In contradiction to Tobias (1828, pp. 35-36), Doty and Pohlman argued that the bigger Chinese settlement was Hokien and Hoklo, the smaller one Hakka.

[83] A batch of these documents  was found during the removal of the sinological institute of Leiden university to its new site. I use here the translation by L. Blussé, see Blussé and Ank Merens “Nuggets from the gold mines, three tales of the Ta-kong kongsi of West Kalimantan”, in Blussé and Zurndorfer (ed.) Conflict and Accommodation in Early Modern East Asia: Essays in Honour of Erik Zürcher, Leiden 1993, pp. 294-295.

[84] Schaank, De Kongsis van Montrado, p. 32.

[85] Ibidem, p. 36. The date of the event recorded in the inscription on the tablet in Zhongchen miao in Montrado “Daqing Jiaqing Wuchennian Shiyue” (The tenth month of  cyclical year of wuchen of Jiaqing regime of Qiang dynasty, 1808).

[86] Ibidem, pp. 30-31.

[87] Ibidem, p. 36.

[88] In Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol. II, p. 84, he is called Zhengbao ge.

[89] Schaank, De Kongsis van Montrado, p. 38.

[90] See the judicious remarks by Schaank on this matter (page 39).

[91] Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling,  vol. II, pp. 84-85.

[92] Ibidem, pp. 84-85.

[93] So far we have not been able to identify this person.

[94]  Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol. II, p. 85.

[95]  This was discovered by Tobias during his “conferences” in September 1822 in Sambas.

[96]  Veth, Borneo’s Wester-afdeeling, vol. II, p. 124.

[97] These places are located between Montrado and Lara.

[98] It is mid-way between Montrado and Lara.

[99] L. Blussé, “ Nuggets from the gold mines”, p. 296.

[100] The kongsis of Kengwei, Xinwu, Manhe and Dagang.