The open door: early modern Wajorese statecraft and diaspora

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Anderson, Kathryn Gay
thesis / dissertation description
This study focuses on the relations between Wajoq, a confederative Bugis polity in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, and overseas groups of Wajorese migrants in Makassar, western Sumatra, the Straits of Melaka and eastern Kalimantan during the century following the Makassar War (1666-1669). It argues that these outlying communities interacted with the center in ways similar to those of the local constituents, and that the diaspora can therefore can be seen as part of the state. The ability of the Wajorese government to incorporate these groups rested on a long-standing mechanisms for holding its various components together and on its definition of membership within the state. Wajorese migrants exhibited remarkable versatility in adapting to local conditions in the areas where they settled. While each community developed along its own lines, they employed similar strategies. Foremost among these were intermarriage, diplomacy and warfare. The various communities also cooperated with each other by sharing intelligence, establishing a commercial code of law and providing military assistance. Such cooperation was facilitated by the Bugis concept of pesse meaning solidarity or commiseration. Pesse was the cultural and emotional glue that bound the migrants to the homeland. It was therefore key to the maintenance of links between the constituents of Wajoq. Relations between Wajorese migrants and their homeland intensified in the early eighteenth century when successive rulers in Wajoq deliberately sought to harness the military and commercial potential of the migrant communities. This effort culminated in the l730s when the exile La Maddukelleng returned from eastern Kalimantan, assumed the leadership of Wajoq, rallied the support of the Wajorese communities in Makassar and Sumbawa and attempted to expel the Dutch from South Sulawesi. While ultimately unsuccessful, his campaign exemplifies the manner in which the overseas Wajorese remained an essential part of Wajoq well into the eighteenth century.