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The Pearl FrontierIndonesian Labor and Indigenous Encounters in Australia's Northern Trading Network$
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Julia Martínez and Adrian Vickers

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824840020

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824840020.001.0001

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Maritime Mobility in Eastern Indonesia

Maritime Mobility in Eastern Indonesia

(p.40) Chapter Three Maritime Mobility in Eastern Indonesia
The Pearl Frontier

Julia Martínez

Adrian Vickers

University of Hawai'i Press

Indonesian labor was drawn from a variety of ethnic and linguistic groups primarily from eastern Indonesia. These maritime peoples had a complex relationship with the sea: as a source of economic sustenance; a means of transport; and as a spiritual connecting feature. These were peoples who embraced the concept of mobility that was integral to the wider cultural matrix of the coastal or Pasisir culture of Southeast Asia. Recruitment for Australia was centered in the ports of Kupang in West Timor, Makassar in Sulawesi, and Dobo in Maluku, but the men themselves originated from a number of islands including Roti, Savu, Solor, Flores and Alor. The colonial system of indenture by which these men migrated to north Australia began after the 1860s, at a time when the Dutch had only recently abolished slavery, emancipating people in bondage in both Timor and Maluku, thus making way for the era of indenture.

Keywords:   Eastern Indonesia, Pasisir culture, Kupang, Maluku, Makassar, slavery, maritime culture, mobility

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