Dutch East Indies

Islands in the Pacific Ocean, southeast of Asia, between 60 north and 110 south latitude and 950 and 1410 east longitude. They are a colony of the Netherlands, consisting of land under direct government and subject native states; area, 733,642 square miles. As early as the 16th century Catholicism was introduced into Java by the Portuguese, but after the Dutch conquest in 1596 Catholic missionaries were expelled. Priests were forbidden to enter the colony until early in the 19th century when, during the reign of Louis Bonaparte, missionaries returned under protection of the Dutch government. At present liberty is granted to all religions; the majority of the natives are Mohammedans.

New Catholic Dictionary

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