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Portrait of Pieter de Carpentier, Governor General of the Dutch East Indies, 1623-1627

Date: 1726
Dimensions:
Overall: 332 x 216 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Engraving
Object No: 00008302
Place Manufactured:Amsterdam

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    Description
    Pieter de Carpentier was Governor General of the Dutch East Indies between 1623 and 1627. It was during his term in office that the Amboyna Massacre took place, in which 20 men (ten of whom were members of the British East India Company) were tortured and killed by agents of the VOC, having been accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate the Governor of Amboyna in 1623. During that same year Dutch explorer Jan Carstenszoon (sometimes called Carstensz) was commissioned by the VOC to lead an expedition to the southern coast of New Guinea and beyond to follow up reports of land sighted further south. It was during this voyage that Carstenszoon navigated the Gulf of Carpentaria, which he named in honour of the then Governor General.

    SignificancePieter de Carpentier is important for his work for the Dutch East India Company. The Gulf of Carpentaria (a large shallow sea surrounded on three sides by northern Australia) was named in his honour. This print also provides one of the few visual records available for an important individual in Dutch (and world) history.
    HistoryPieter de Carpentier (sometimes called simply Pieter Carpentier) was born on 19 February, 1586 in Antwerp, The Netherlands (now in Belgium) and died on 5 September, 1659 in Amsterdam. He was married to Maria Ravevelt on 2 March, 1630 who subsequently died in September, 1641. The couple had seven children.

    Pieter de Carpentier was born shortly after the formation of the newly independent Dutch Republic. In 1603 he undertook the study of philosophy at Leiden University.

    On 23 January, 1616, having obtained the rank of Opper-Koopman (chief-merchant or commissary) in the Dutch East India Compnay (VOC) de Carpentier sailed from Texel aboard the 500-ton VOC ship TROU, arriving in Bantam (near the western end of Java, not far from what would later become Batavia) on 19 October, 1616. He immediately enjoyed the confidence of Jan Pieterszoon Coen (who became Governor General on 30 April, 1618) and took on a number of different roles with the VOC including Director General of Trade, Member of the Council of the Indies and Member of the Council of Defence.

    On 8 September, 1622 de Carpentier was named by the Lords XVII as successor to Coen who would shortly be returning to The Netherlands. He officially began his tenure in this post on 1 February, 1623. He continued his predecessor's policy of expanding Batavia, setting up a school, a town hall and an orphanage. He also designed several churches and introduced a new tax that would improve the quality of education and justice in the city.

    One of the darker sides to de Carpentier's short tenure as Governor General was the Amboyna Massacre in which 20 men, ten of whom were members of the British East India Company were tortured and killed by agents of the VOC, having been accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate the Governor of Amboyna in 1623. It was for this reason that, although Coen was reinstated as Governor General on 3 October, 1624, he was unable to reach Batavia until 1627, given the barriers put up by the British during the scandal.

    Also in 1623, Dutch explorer Jan Carstenszoon (sometimes called Carstensz) was commissioned by the VOC to lead an expedition to the southern coast of New Guinea and beyond to follow up reports of land sighted further south during the 1606 voyages of Willem Janszoon in the DUYFKEN. It was during this voyage that Carstenszoon navigated the Gulf of Carpentaria, which he named in honour of the then Governor General.

    On 12 November, 1627, having handed back the Governor Generalship to Coen, de Carpentier returned to The Netherlands at the head of a fleet of ships, arriving on 3 June, 1628 with five richly laden merchant ships.

    He was honoured by the Company for his services and turned down the offer of a second term as Governor General. His maternal uncle, Louis Delbeecque, had been one of the initiators of the VOC and de Carpentier followed in his footsteps by being appointed as 'bewindhebber' (Director) of the Lords XVII in 1629. He was twice sent to the United Kingdom (in 1629 and 1632) to help settle trade disputes. Other than this, the rest of his life was relatively uneventful and on 5 September, 1659, he died in Amsterdam.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Portrait of Pieter de Carpentier, Governor General of the Dutch East Indies, 1623-1627

    Primary title: Depicting Pieter de Carpentier ('Gulf of Carpentaria'), Inscription under sight reads "Pieter de Carpentier, Gouverneur Generaal Van Nederlands Indien"

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