Batavia (region)

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Batavia was the name used by the Roman Empire for the land of the Batavians, a Germanic tribe. This was roughly the area around the modern city of Nijmegen, Netherlands. The name was mentioned by Caesar, Pliny the Elder and especially Tacitus in his account of the Germanic uprising of 68, but was last recorded in the 5th century. The same area is nowadays known as Betuwe.[1]

During the Renaissance, Dutch historians tried to promote these Batavians to the status of "forefathers" of the Dutch people (see The Batavian myth). They started to call themselves Batavians, later resulting in the Batavian Republic, and took the name "Batavia" to their colonies such as the Dutch East Indies, where they renamed the city of Jayakarta to become Batavia from 1619 until about 1942, when its name was changed to Djakarta (short for the former name Jayakarta, later respelt Jakarta; see: History of Jakarta). The name was also used in Suriname, where they founded Batavia, Suriname, and in the United States where the Holland Land Company founded the city and the town of Batavia, New York. This name spread further west in the United States to such places as Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, and Batavia, Ohio.

In popular culture[edit]

In chapter 5 of Voltaire's novella Candide, a minor character remarks that he was from this region; "I am a sailor and born at Batavia".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dirk van Miert (ed.), The Kaleidoscopic Scholarship of Hadrianus Junius (1511-1575): Northern Humanism at the Dawn of the Dutch Golden Age, essay by Nico de Glas, pp. 69–71, ISBN 900420914X, accessed at Google Books 2014-03-08