BY THE NUMBERS: MAKASSARS TRADE, CENTRALIZED STATISTICS AND LOCAL REALITIES

Heather Sutherland

Abstract

The valuable trade statistics provided by the Netherlands Indies government are a boon
to researchers, but should not be accepted at face value. The extent to which shippers
avoided registration is indicated by a comparison of Makassars trade figures before
and after it was made a free-port in 1847, while early twentieth-century data from
Makassar itself show a significantly higher level of maritime traffic than Batavias
do. This suggests that central statistical series can seriously misrepresent local trade.
Keywords: Makassars trade, Statistics, VOC

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References

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