Godert Alexander Gerard Philip, Baron van der Capellen (December 15, 1778 – April 10, 1848) was a Dutch statesman from Utrecht.
Baron van der Capellen
|Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies|
16 January 1819 – 1 January 1826
|Preceded by||Recreated |
Commissioner-General of the Dutch East Indies
Serving with Cornelis Theodorus Elout, Arnold Adriaan Buyskes
|Succeeded by||Leonard du Bus de Gisignies|
|Commissioner-General of the Dutch East Indies|
19 August 1816 – 16 January 1819
|Preceded by||Newly created |
John Fendall Jr.
Lieutenant-Governor of the Dutch East Indies
|Succeeded by||Abolished |
Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies
Godert Alexander Gerard Philip van der Capellen
December 15, 1778
|Died||April 10, 1848 (aged 69)|
De Bilt, Utrecht, Netherlands
Jacoba Elisabeth van Tuyll van Serooskerken
|Alma mater||Utrecht University|
Born in Utrecht, Netherlands, Van der Capellen was the son of a cavalry colonel Alexander Philip van der Capellen. In 1803, he married Jacoba Elisabeth van Tuyll van Serooskerken. He was made Prefect of Friesland in 1808 and soon thereafter Minister of the Interior and a member of the Privy Council. At his advice, King Louis Napoleon abdicated the throne in 1810 in favor of his son, Louis II. Van der Capellen did not serve Napoleon I. Wilhelm I, King of the Netherlands, appointed him Colonial Minister and sent him as Secretary of United Kingdom of the Netherlands to Brussels.
In 1815, Van der Capellen was made one of the three Commissioners-General of the Dutch East Indies with Cornelis Theodorus Elout and Arnold Adriaan Buyskes, where he had to deal with both a native rebellion and a money shortage. In fact, during his tenure in Java, his power was largely ceremonial as his adjunct, Cornelis Theodorus Elout, had much of the actual power. The King decreed freedom of cultivation and trade, and the slave trade was prohibited. As Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, Van der Capellen was less progressive than other commissioners; after they left in 1819, he increased the power of native chiefs. He protected the Government's system of coffee plantations by not allowing European planters to settle in the Priangan area of West Java, nor would he let Europeans or Chinese trade there.
On 28 April 1822, he was made a Baron. In 1824 he cancelled contracts of land tenancy, forcing the native chiefs to pay back the advances they had received by further exploiting the cultivators. This caused unrest in Yogyakarta. As the post-war boom in coffee and sugar exports faded, Javanese ports went into deficit. Money was spent quelling riots outside of Java in Maluku (Moluccas), Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), Palembang, and on the west coast of Sumatra. Van der Capellen made a tour in 1824 and abolished the hated limit on the number of spice trees. Muntinghe's proposal for a national company under King Willem was adopted in 1825 as the Netherlands Trading Society with 37,000,000 guilders in capital and paying 4.5 percent dividends. Hard-pressed cultivators had to pay taxes in money and turned to Chinese moneylenders.
He was ordered back in 1825 and named President of the Board of Trustees of the University of Utrecht in 1828. In 1838, he attended the coronation of Queen Victoria in London as the Dutch envoy. Van der Capellen then served as the Lord Chamberlain of King William II. He died in April 1848 in De Bilt.
- Indonesia and the Dutch 1800-1950, san.beck.org
- Media related to Godert van der Capellen at Wikimedia Commons