“200 years ago, the battle of jatinegara took place in Indonesia, however, will this Greatest Napoleonic War in Asia always be forgotten ? “
Being the center of trading activity and a chaotic transport hub is a current sight of Meester Cornelis, which is also known as Jatinegara. Interestingly, this density and activity in the area which is located in east Jakarta has been around for a long time, even according to the history, the similar situation can be traced from the era of Dutch occupation hundreds years ago.
History also recorded previous important events that occurred in the area of lush teak forests. From being the center of prince Jayakarta’s guerilla to a great trading center in religious teacher Meester Cornelis’ era. However, there is something that always be forgotten, Napoleon’s greatest war in Asia.
Dutch East Indies under Napoleon
Although it’s still being debated, it should be recognized that Indonesia was once known as the Dutch East Indies empire, had fallen into the France’s governance de Jure or legally. Thus, indirectly, Indonesia was under the leadership of Napoleon, the famous French leader. It was an indirect result of the defeat of Netherlands in Napoleon war in Europe.
Because of that, Indonesia was automatically dragged into the Napoleon war in the Asian zone. Not surprisingly if Indonesia quickly became the target of the British which was then the great enemy of France based in Malaya (now Malaysia and Singapore).
Evidence of the influence of Napoleon in Indonesia is the emergence of a military figure named Daendels, the originator of the Panarukan Anyer Post Road. Daendels is a Dutch-born but loyal cult of Napoleon, he received direct orders from Napoleon to protect Java island from British attack. But until Daendels was called to come home by Napoleon for take part in invasion to Russia, the raid from British troops never happened.
The British attack happened when Daendels was replaced by Jansen, who has less war skills than Daendels.
The Forgotten War
The landing of British troops in Cilincing, North Jakarta, 200 years ago was a very easy landing, because Jansen retreated back south without utilizing abundance war facilities that had been prepared by Daendels.
The retreat was finally stop in Jatinegara. The French troops gathered in Jatinegara, who was then completed by military barracks and forts.
In Jatinegara, eighteen thousand people combined forces of France, the Netherlands and the local army fought against twelve thousand people British troops.
The Two major forces then continued to attack and defend for 10 days. At that time, 10 days was a long time for a large-scale warfare. Many considerations can determine the time the war victory, not only weapons and troops, but also morale became a factor of victory.
Interestingly in this 10-day war, the British and the French were very polite and understanding. They seem to have a mutual understanding when to start the war and when to take a break in the middle of the war. They would begin the attack as both sides prepared for battle at 9 am and stopped the war at 8 pm.
After the British troops realized that they won in morale and in number, the British troops became more aggressive and successfully besieged French troops who already divided and ran to Bogor.
One thing that’s interesting to be noted in history is the pride of the French forces. The remaining French troops who did not want to be a prisoner of war prefer to blow themselves together in amunitions warehouse. As a result England won without capturing any of the French soldier.
Since the explosion at the warehouse and the British victory, Jatinegara has been a silent witness of 10-day war.
Different Fate of War in Trafalgar, Waterloo and Jatinegara
Although the timing of Jatinegara battle was close to the battle of Waterloo and Trafalgar in the Europe zone, its fate is never the same as the two wars in Europe.
Battle of Jatinegara disappeared without leaving any meaningful legacy of trace. There is no monument to remember the story of this war, no attempting to make Jatinegara war stories as tourist spot, and nothing has been made for making Jatinegara as one of interesting place to visit.
Will the battle of Jatinegara remain to be the forgotten war after 200 years?