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ASI restoring the 17th-century Dutch cemetery at Chinsurah

  • Category
    History & Culture
  • Published
    10th Aug, 2021

Context

The Archeological Survey of India, Kolkata had started the restoration of the Dutch cemetery at Chinsurah.

About

About the Dutch Cemetery

  • The cemetery is situated more than 40 km upstream from Kolkata on the river Hooghly.
  • The Chinsurah Dutch cemetery is probably the biggest non-British European cemetery in West Bengal.
  • It is a protected monument remains and the most important proof of strong Dutch presence in the town.
  • The Cemetery reminds of the golden days of the Dutch legacy in Chinsurah.
  • The cemetery contains an assortment of 250 graves scattered under old trees and surrounded by a high wall.
  • The cemetery has two segments, the older one having graves of Dutch nationals and the other is still used by the British and native Christians.
  • The oldest identified tomb at the cemetery belongs to Sir Cornelius Jonge who died in Chinsurah in 1743.
    • The other important graves at the cemetery include is of Daniel Anthony OverbeckDutch Governor of Chinsurah, who stayed in the town even after the British took over the town in 1825.
  • The cemetery has mausoleums with an architectural style of the same period in south India.
  • The southern part of the cemetery is home to 24 extant Dutch tombs, which are of three types, namely, pyramids, tomb boxes, and plain.

Dutch in India

  • People of Holland (present Netherlands) are called the Dutch.
  • Dutch set their feet in India after Portuguese.
  • The United East India Company of the Netherlands was formed in 1602 to trade with East Indian nations.
  • The Dutch founded the first factory in Masaulipatam in Andhra Pradesh in 1605.
  • Dutch Suratte and Dutch Bengal were established in 1616 AD and 1627 AD respectively.
  • The Dutch conquered Ceylon in 1656 and Malabar Coast in 1671 AD.
  • The Dutch gradually became a potent force capturing Nagapatam near Madras (Chennai) from the Portuguese thereby establishing their foothold in South India.
  • They monopolized in black pepper and spices.
  • The major Indian commodities traded by the Dutch were cotton, indigo, silk, rice and opium.

Decline of Dutch Power

  • Dutch presence lasted from 1605 AD to 1825 AD.
  • The rise of the British power posed serious challenge to the commercial interest of the Dutch leading to bloody warfare.
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