At the Conference in The Hague my own presentation was about Manggarai: until 1908 firmly under the Sultan of Bima who took slaves and horses from all 38 dalu-regions. But after the Blitz-krieg, the Perang pasifikasi things changed. West Flores or Manggarai was until the beginning of the 20th century recognised as territory of the Muslim Sultan of Bima by the Dutch. In 1907 the Dutch effectively took possession of the region and after 1910 they promoted Catholic missionary enterprise to convert the population through their schools. The coastal region, with some Muslim settlements was neglected in favour of the mountain region, where finally one local chief, mission-educated Alexander Baroek became the most important native counterpart of the colonial rule. The ties with Bima were formally broken in the 1920s. Herewith Catholicism gained political and social influence to the detriment of the expansion of Islam and Manggarai joined the rest of Flores to become a majority Catholic society. There was no overall strategy to destroy Muslim influence and promote Catholic Christianity, it was simply the result of a longer chain of not always related decisions. For the colonial officials this choice was in line with their overall strategy of creating a safe, well-developed and prosperous Flores. For a full text you may write to email@example.com and I can send you the text and a slide presentation.
Here I include two pictures: the finest hours for the Catholic mission.
In November 1930 there were big festivities in Ruteng, celebrating the inauguration of Alexander Baroek as the new zelfbestuurder or Radja van Manggarai. The big ceremony was on Saturday 14 November, but guests had arrived before. One of these, the SVD priest and film-maker Simon Buis had brought his two great movies. On the eve of the great day Buis had shown the two-hour movie Ria Rago to officials and local people, some 4000 watching the melodramatic story of the girl who is pushed to become the second wife of a Muslim and therefore had to leave the mission school of the sisters in Lela. After the inauguration on the following day, four people gave a formal speech, Resident Karthaus from Kupang, the Military Commander Kooymans (gezaghebber) of Ruteng, Baroek himself and SVD priest Koning, dean of Maumere. In the evening there was dance, music and the show of another movie, Floresfilm, the story of a missionary who leaves from Rotterdam for the Dutch Indies and travels through this colony towards Flores. The movie is announced as ‘a living piece of mission history, travelling through the most famous waters of the world, a trip through tropical Holland, a surprising view on the life of a heathen people.’ Above you find a photograph of Raja Baroek with his wife and below father Simon Buis with the new native ruler.