Revenue Assessment Systems in South India and Central Java during 18th and 19th Centuries

Mason C. Hoadley, Neelambar Hatti


Studies of relations binding ruled and ruler over the form and content of revenue assessment during the colonial era are not lacking. Rather, the intellectual challenge lies in ascertaining the degree to which the relevant economic institutions of the subjected regions in southern Asia constituted continuity of tradition, modifications thereof, or completely alien constructs. Meeting that challenge is hindered by inequality of information revealing ‘before’ and ‘after’ conditions; an embarrassment of riches in information on the latter contrasts to poverty of the former. The present paper aims at least partially filling that gap by ascertaining in comparative perspective the basis of the revenue assessment systems prevailing in South India (Karnataka) and Central Java (Yogyakarta) during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. What makes such an undertaking not only desirable from a scholarly point of view but also possible in practice is the near unique finds of virtually untapped original source materials deriving from the respective institutions’ function.

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