Dutch East Indiaman ship model
Batavia was the flagship of a
fleet of seven vessels of the Dutch East India Company.
Since Batavia was specially built for the transport a
great quantity of cargo of goods and passengers between
the Netherlands and Asia, she was very large.
She was also sturdy enough to be able to make long
voyages of over a year. With a length of 160
feet (45.28 m), the Batavia was an enormous ship of her time.
Although being a trade
vessel, Batavia had to be able to defend itself and
therefore was heavily armed. A large crew up
to 300 was required to man the ship.
Batavia's construction was completed in
1628 in Amsterdam. Commanded by Pelsaert
(one of the VOC's most experienced merchants), Batavia
led six other ships on her maiden voyage to Java.
Their cargo consisted
mainly of silver coins and two antiquities belonging to
the artist Rubens for sale to an Indian Mogul ruler.
They also carried sandstone blocks to be erected as
gatehouse in the city of Batavia--the new headquarters
of the VOC in the East Indies situated in the
north-western tip of Java.
The journey had an
inauspicious start with a violent storm on the North
Sea. When calmer weather returned only two ships
remained with Batavia. The ship reached the Cape of Good
Hope a month ahead of schedule. While there, the
Batavia's captain Adrian Jacobsz was publicly scolded by
Pelsaert because of his drunken behavior. This event
sowed seeds for a mutiny later.
Shortly after leaving Cape Town, the three ships lost
sight of one another and the Batavia was alone.
During the Indian Ocean crossing Pelsaert fell seriously
ill and remained mostly in his cabin. This had a
detrimental effect on the ship’s discipline. Merchant
Jeronimus Cornelisz, the third most important person on
board, was on much better terms with captain Jacobsz.
On the morning of the fourth of June 1629, the Batavia
was wrecked on Morning Reef, on the Houtman Abrolhos,
off the coast of Western Australia.
Of the 341 persons on
board forty were drowned immediately. The others were
able to get to the nearby islands. Commander Pelsaert,
all the senior officers (except Jeronimus Cornelisz, who
was still on the wreck), some crew and passengers, 48 in
all, left the 268 on two waterless islands and went in
search of water. Quickly abandoning this fruitless
search on the mainland coast, they then decided to go
for the city of Batavia. It took them 33 days to get
Governor General Coen dispatched Pelsaert seven days
later in the yacht Sardam to rescue the survivors. With very bad luck, it took Pelsaert 63 days to find the
wreck site, almost double the time it took him to
During Pelsaert's absence,
a mutiny broke out. Leader of the mutiny was under
merchant Jeronimus Corneliszoon who considered himself
the founder of a new kingdom. He killed over a
hundred of the shipwreck survivors. A small band
of soldiers led by Wiebe Hayes opposed the killing and
escaped to a neighboring island.
On his return Pelsaert
succeeded in crushing the mutiny with the support of
Hayes group. Jeronimus was tried on the islands, found
guilty of mutiny, and hanged along with half a dozen of
his men. Both of his hands were amputated prior to the
hanging. The remaining mutineers were taken back
to Java and tried; many were subsequently executed.
The shipwreck and the massacres have become known as
'The Ill-fated Voyage of the Batavia'. The story
was put in writing, which is why the memory of the ship
was kept alive.
Batavia's carvings were
mostly on the transom. The carving theme was about
the Batavia's myth that was about the revolt of the
Batavians against the Romans in the year 69 and the
revolt of the Dutch against the Spanish during the
Eighty year War. In front, at the tip of the
beakhead, a Dutch lion looked out towards the horizon.
This Batavia model ship features:
36" long x 34" tall x 13" wide
S & H is $150
For display case, please
Model Ship Display Case