Jacob Haafner

Jacob Haafner

In the late eighteenth century Jacob Haafner travelled to India and Ceylon. He fell in love with the East and learned several of the local languages. In his account, published after his return in 1787, Haafner denounced the rapacity and barbarity of the Dutch and British in their dealings with the natives and with the slaves.

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His Travels in a Palanquin is an outstanding work of Dutch romantic literature. He tells of a thousand-kilometre voyage he made in 1786 along the east coast of India, from Calcutta to Negapatnam, in a palanquin (a luxurious sedan chair), ingeniously interweaving his observations with the tale of his love for a young, beautiful Indian dancer called Mamia and her heartrending death.

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