Alexander Hare

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Alexander Hare (1775–1834) was an English merchant, infamous for establishing a harem and following the local custom of trading slaves in his personal state of Maluka, southeast Borneo.[1][2]

The son of a London watchmaker of the same name and his wife Janet,[3] Alexander joined a trading company in Portugal around 1800, moved to Calcutta, and settled as a merchant in Malacca in 1807. Here he met Stamford Raffles, who appointed him Resident of Banjarmasin and Commissioner of the Island of Borneo when Dutch control briefly passed to Britain (1811–16). He acquired 1,400 square miles of land from the Sultan of Banjarmassen and established it as an independent state, Maluka, which issued its own coinage.[4][5] An inquiry carried out by William Boggie, the British Resident in Samarang in 1837, uncovered how he had operated what became known as "the Banjermassen (sic) Outrage".[6] He had to leave when the Dutch returned and he took his harem, and others, first to Batavia until declared undesirable in 1819, and then to South Africa until forced to leave in 1826, whence he went to settle the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.[7] Conflict with a disapproving John Clunies-Ross led to him leaving the Cocos Islands in 1831, some say for Singapore,[8] others say Batavia, but Hare died in Bencoolen (modern day Bengkulu on the southwest coast of Sumatra) on 2 November 1834.[9]

Alexander had three brothers: David (b.1777), became a jeweller in Batavia, while John (b.1782) and Joseph (b.1784) [10] were traders in colonial goods in London. The English censuses of 1851 and 1861 show Fatimah, Joseph's niece born in the East Indies, living in his London house: as she appears to have been born in 1837 she was presumably David's daughter.[11] She married James Graham at St Peter's, Pimlico 22 May 1862 and died at London 1874.

Hare's story features in the novel The Daughter of the Pangaran by David Divine, published in 1963.[12]


  1. ^ De man die vrouwen verzamelde; Een koloniale geschiedenis van de Kokos-eilanden by Joop van den Berg (‘s-Gravenhage 1998)
  2. ^ Maluka? on World Coins forum
  3. ^ Familysearch
  4. ^ Duit coin from 1813
  5. ^ Alexander Hare and Maluka (Dutch numismatic blog)
  6. ^ English appendix to 1860 article in Dutch
  7. ^ Far East and Australasia 2003. Routledge. 2002. p. 145. ISBN 1-85743-133-2.
  8. ^ "John Clunies Ross (1786-1854)". ABC News. 16 November 2004. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
  9. ^ Morning Post (London) 20/3/1835
  10. ^ Familysearch
  11. ^ Census via Familysearch
  12. ^ Divine, David (1963). The Daughter of the Pangaran. Little Brown & Company.