Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania

Joan Maatsuyker, Council of Batavia



Maatsuyker island is named after Joan Maetsuijker (1606 - 1678), a member of the Council of Batavia who had sponsored the expeditions of its discoverer, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman.

The Instructions to Tasman regarding his voyage to New Holland given by the Governor-General and Council of the Dutch East india Company were drawn up at Batavia on 13th January, 1644, and were signed by Antonie Van Diemen, Cornelis Van Der Lijn (Director-General), Joan Maetsuijker, Justis Schouten ("Councillor-Extraordinary to the present assembly"), Salomon Sweers, and Pieter Metschagh (Secretary).

Maatsuyker was born in Amsterdam on 14th October 1606. Maetsuycker studied law in Leuven, and was a lawyer first in The Hague, and later in Amsterdam. He became a servant of the VOC in 1636 and later a secretary of the Council of justice in Batavia. In 1641 he became an extraordinary advisor of the Dutch-Indies. In this function he distinguished himself, by order of Governor-General Anthonie Van Diemen, by adapting the existing edict, proclamations and decrees from the Heeren XVII and governor-general into a code book, the Statutes of Batavia, on which the judicial system in the Dutch-Indies was based until 1848.

The Dutch colony in the Indies flourished under Maetsuycker. Under his rule, the Portuguese lost Ceylon (1658), the coast of Coromandel (1658) and Malabar (1663); Makassar was conquered (1667), the west coast of Sumatra was occupied, and the first expedition to the interior of Java was held.

In 1646 he became the third Dutch governor of Zeylan (Ceylon), and seven years later, the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. He stayed on that post for 25 years, the longest period for any governor-general, sfrom 1653 to his death in Batavia (Jakarta) on 24th January, 1678.