Maluka / Alexander Hare, Rajah

Maluka - Alexander Hare, Rajah (1812 - 1816)

Alexander Hare was an English merchant, infamous for establishing a harem and following the local custom of trading slaves in his personal state of Maluka in south-east Borneo.

The son of a London watchmaker of the same name and his wife Janet, Alexander joined a trading company in Portugal around 1800, moved to Calcutta, and settled as a merchant in Malacca in 1807. Here he met Stamford Raffles, who appointed him Resident of Banjarmasin and Commissioner of the Island of Borneo when Dutch control briefly passed to Britain (1811 - 1816). He acquired 1,400 square miles of land from the Sultan of Banjarmassen and established it as an independent state, Maluka, which issued its own coinage.

An inquiry carried out by William Boggie, the British Resident in Samarang in 1837, uncovered how he had operated what became known as "the Banjermassen Outrage". He had to leave when the Dutch returned and he took his harem, and others, first to Batavia until declared undesirable in 1819, and then to South Africa until forced to leave in 1826, whence he went to settle the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Conflict with a disapproving John Clunies-Ross led to him leaving the Cocos Islands in 1831, some say for Singapore, others say Batavia, but Hare died in Bencoolen (modern day Bengkulu on the southwest coast of Sumatra) on 2 November 1834.

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