Herman Willem Daendels

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Herman Willem Daendels

Birthdate: (55)
Birthplace: Hattem, Gelderland, Netherlands
Death: Died in São Jorge da Mina, Ghana
Cause of death: Gele koorts
Immediate Family:

Son of Burchard Johan Daendels and Josina Christina Tulleken
Husband of Aleida Elisabeth Reiniera van Vlierden
Father of Petronella Daendels; Constant Jacques Daendels; Augustus Daendels and Maria Josina Christina Daendels
Brother of Anna Maria Sibilla Daendels; Andreas Daendels; Egbert Daendels; Andreas Gosuinus Daendels; Oswald Daendels and 5 others

Occupation: generaal, gouverneur-generaal St.George del-Mina
Managed by: Diederik Mooij
Last Updated:

About Herman Willem Daendels

  • H.W. Daendels in wikipedia aanvoerder van de Patriotten , Deze patriotten waren aanhangers van een Nederlandse politieke stroming, die vanaf 1781 aan het heersende absolutisme van de stadhouders een halt wilde toeroepen en democratisering in de Nederlanden wilde stimuleren.


Herman Willem Daendels (Hattem, Gelderland, October 21, 1762 – St. George d'Elmina (Dutch Gold Coast, now part of Ghana), May 2, 1818) was a Dutch politician who served as the 36th Governor General of the Dutch East Indies between 1808 and 1811.

Early life

Born in Hattem, Netherlands, on the 21 October 1762, Daendels was the son of Burchard Johan Daendels, the mayoral secretary, and Josina Christina Tulleken. He studied law at the University of Harderwijk, acquiring his doctorate on 10 April 1783.

Political Activity

In 1785, he sided with the Patriots, who had seized power in several Dutch cities. In 1786 he defended the city of Hattem against stadholderian troops. In 1787, he defended Amsterdam against the Prussian army that invaded the Netherlands to restore William V of Orange. After William V was in power again, he fled to France because of a death sentence. Daendels was close witness to the French revolution.

He returned to the Netherlands in 1794, as a general in the French revolutionary army of general Charles Pichegru and commander of the Batavian Legion. Daendels helped unitarian politician Pieter Vreede to power in a coup d'état on 25 January 1798. The group behind Vreede was dissatisfied with the conservative-moderate majority in parliament, which tried to prevent the formulation of a more democratic, centralistic constitution. The reign of Vreede did not bring the expected results, however, and Daendels supported another coup d'état against Vreede on 14 June 1798. In the Batavian Republic Daendels occupied several political offices, but he had to step down when he failed to prevent the Anglo-Russian Invasion of Holland in 1799, and became a farmer in Heerde, Gelderland.

Military and colonial career

Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies

Louis Bonaparte made Daendels colonel-general in 1806 and Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies in 1807. After a long voyage, he arrived in the city of Batavia (now Jakarta) on 5 January 1808 and relieved the former Governor General, Albertus Wiese. His primary task was to rid the island of Java of the British Army, which he promptly achieved.[citation needed] He built new hospitals and military barracks, a new arms factories in Surabaya and Semarang, and a new military college in Batavia. He demolished the Castle in Batavia and replaced it with a new fort at Meester Cornelis (Jatinegara), and built Fort Lodewijk in Surabaya. However, his best-known achievement was the construction of the Great Post Road (Indonesian: Jalan Raya Pos) across northern Java. The road now serves as the main road in the island of Java, called Jalur Pantura. The thousand-kilometre road was completed in only one year, during which thousands of Javanese forced labourers died.

He displayed a firm attitude towards the Javanese rulers, with the result that the rulers were willing to work with the British against the Dutch. He also subjected the population of Java to forced labour (Rodi). There were some rebellious actions against this, such as those in Cadas Pangeran, West Java.

There is considerable debate as to whether he increased the efficiency of the local bureaucracy and reduced corruption, although he certainly enriched himself during this period.

General in Napoleon's Grande Armée

When the Kingdom of Holland was incorporated into France in 1810, Daendels returned to Holland. He was appointed a Divisional General (Major General) and commanded the 26th Division of the Grande Armée in Napoleon's invasion of Russia.

Governor-General of the Dutch Gold Coast

After the fall of Napoleon, king Willem I and the new Dutch government feared that Daendels could become an influential and powerful opposition leader and effectively banned him from the Netherlands by appointing him Governor-General of the Dutch Gold Coast (now part of Ghana). In the aftermath of the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade, Daendels tried to redevelop the rather dilapidated Dutch possessions as an African plantation colony driven by legitimate trade. Drawing on his experience from the East Indies, he came up with some very ambitious infrastructural projects, including a comprehensive road system, with a main road connecting Elmina and Kumasi in Ashanti. The Dutch government gave him a free hand and a substantial budget to implement his plans. At the same time, however, Daendels regarded his governorship as an opportunity to establish a private business monopoly in the Dutch Gold Coast.

Eventually none of the plans came to fruition, as Daendels died of malaria in the castle of St. George d'Elmina, the Dutch seat of government, on 8 May 1818. His body was interred in the central tomb at the Dutch cemetery in Elmina town. He had been in the country less than two years.

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Herman Willem Daendels's Timeline

October 21, 1762
Hattem, Gelderland, Netherlands
July 22, 1790
Age 27
Bergues, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Age 34
Hattem, Gelderland, NLD
October 6, 1798
Age 35
The Hague, The Hague, South Holland, The Netherlands
Age 40
Hattem, Hattem, Gelderland, The Netherlands
May 2, 1818
Age 55
São Jorge da Mina, Ghana