The Dutch overseas empire comprised a network of trade centers that in some cases developed into colonies where Eu ropean emigrants settled. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the colonies were controlled by the Dutch East India Company and West India Company. The main establishments were in CapeTown, South Africa; Batavia (Jakarta), Indonesia; Malabar, India; Deshima, Japan; New Amsterdam (New York); Curacao, Nether landsAntilles; and Surinam. After the Napoleonic wars, the Nether lands ceded several colonies to England (e.g., the Cape Colony and Ceylon). The NetherlandsEast Indiesbecame an economicallyand emotionally important Dutch colony, especially after its pacification in the Aceh War of 1873–1914.
   The process of decolonization was accelerated by the Japanese occupation of the East Indies during World War II. Indonesia became independent in 1949, after two unsuccessful military operations against the nationalists led by Sukarno, who became the first presi dent of the new federal state. Dutch New Guinea (Irian Jaya) was an nexed to Indonesia in 1963, and the Portuguese (eastern) part of Timor in 1976 (since 2002 an independent state). Surinam became in dependent in 1975. All that remains of the once far-flung empire are six islands in the Caribbean.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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