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Storming of Laala, 20 September 1654


Storming of Laala, 20 September 1654


Storming of Laala, 20 September 1654. In the course of the Great Ambon War (1651-1656), Laala had been heavily fortified by the Hoamoalese and their Makasar allies in their fight against the VOC. Whereas VOC troops and their allies often attempted to take enemy fortifications by storm, Laala, due to its extensive defenses, was formally besieged with wooden siegeworks. After four days of artillery bombardment, the VOC troops stormed the town. They killed 700 men, a large portion of them apparently after they had already surrendered. 400 women, children and elderly people were made captive and distributed among the soldiers as booty. Additionally, the VOC’s Ambonese troops made an unknown number of captives. The sister of Majira, the main leader of the Hoamoalese, was among the captives, and was killed on the spot.

The image shows various episodes from the siege, including troops from Asaudi coming to the aid of the besieged (top), a sortie which took place when the siege works were stull under construction (right, between fort and siege works), the artillery barrage, and the final storm attack of the VOC troops and their local allies. On the bottom right a number of besieged tries to escape through the water, but is fired upon both from the siege works and the vessels. On the top right is a poem praising the victory.

Legend: 1: is der vijanden vesting, 2: is ons dubbelde pagger om Laala, 3: is de pagger vanden lieutenant Keler, 4: sijn onse bestormers op het westlik puntje, 5: is den superintendent, d’pnse tot den storm anmmoedigende, 6: is den vluchtenden vijand, 7: sijn d’Assahoudiers, tot ontset haerer vrinden afkomende, 8: is ons groot, kleen en inlands vaertuig.

Part of an illustrated manuscript version of Livinus Bor, Amboinse Oorlogen, describing the events of the Great Ambon War (1651-1656), and defending and glorifying the acts of the VOC commander in this conflict, Arnold de Vlamingh van Oudshoorn.

Please contact Koninklijke Bibliotheek Brussel for reuse and copyrights.

Sources and literature

Bor, Livinus, Amboinse oorlogen, door Arnold de Vlaming van Oudshoorn als Superintendent, over d'Oosterse gewesten oorlogaftig ten eind gebracht (1663)

Rumphius, Georg Everard, De Ambonse eilanden onder de VOC, zoals opgetekend in De Ambonse Landbeschrijving (2002)

Rumphius, Georg Everard, Ambonsche Historie (1910)