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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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Some Account of Batavia


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CHAP. XIII. Some Account of Batavia, and the adjacent Country; with their Fruits, Flowers, and other Productions.

BATAVIA. the capital of the Dutch dominion’s in India, and generally supposed to have no equal among all the possessions of the Europeans in Asia, is situated on the north side of the island of Java, in a low fenny plain, where several small rivers, which take their rise in the mountains called Blaeuwen Berg, about forty miles up the country, empty themselves into the sea, and where the coast forms a large bay, called the Bay of Batavia, at the distance of about eight leagues from the streight of Sunda, It lies in latitude 6° 10’ S. and longitude 106° 50’ E. from the meridian of Greenwich,, as appears from astronomical observations made upon the spot, by the Reverend Mr. Mohr, who has built an elegant observatory, which is as well furnished with instruments as most in Europe.

The Dutch seem to have pitched upon this spot for the convenience of water-carriage, and in that it is indeed a second Holland, and superior to every other place in the world. There are very few streets that have not a canal of considerable breadth running through them, or rather stagnating in them, and continued for several miles in almost every direction beyond the town, which is also intersected by five or six rivers, some of which are navigable thirty or forty miles up the country. As the houses are large, and the streets wide, it takes up a much greater extent, in proportion to the number of houses it contains, than any city in Europe. Valentyn, who wrote an account of it about the year. 1726, says, that in his time there were, within the walls, 1242 Dutch houses, and 1200 Chinese; and without the walls 1066 Dutch, and 1240 Chinese, besides 12 arrack houses, making in all 4760: but this account appeared to us to be greatly exaggerated, especially with respect to the number of houses within the walls.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 724 - 725, 2004
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