Voyage to the Great Indies (1644 - 1651)

Voyage to the Great Indies (1644 - 1651)

Jean Guidon de Chambelle

(Translated, Presented and Annotated by Serge Jardin)

RM 49.00

  • Publication Year: 2024
  • Publisher: Nutmeg Publishing
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Pages: 334 pages
  • ISBN: 978-967-16686-7-2


This book is the English translation of an anonymous Diary (1644-1651), whose author happened to be a young Parisian of noble lineage. For a peculiar reason, he became a mercenary at the service of the United Dutch East India Company (VOC). He signed a five-year contract as musketeer, spent mostly in Melaka, a few years after the Dutch conquered the Fort and the Town from their arch-enemies, the Portuguese. He was never promoted, he was even once jailed for a fight with an officer, and strangely, he never used the letters of recommendation given to him in Paris.

Not destined to be published, away from official milieu, and free from political interference, the Diary is a unique document describing the daily life aboard the ships as well in faraway Dutch outposts of the East, in the seventeenth century.

It is an opportunity to look at the Dawn of a New Melaka as never before. Through the eyes of a French musketeer, we discover the wildlife and the agriculture products, the Fort and the city within, the Town outside with its diverse population, a handful of White Men standing in the middle of the ‘Blacks’, as all the Asian people were called, the resentment within the European community, the corruption undermining the Company, the general atmosphere of violence, as well as the sexual pleasures in Calvinist Melaka.

Jean Guidon de Chambelle was lucky, he never participated in a war, and finally returned to Paris.