Lanfang Republic

The Lanfang Republic (Chinese: 蘭芳共和國; pinyin: Lánfāng Gònghéguó, Pha̍k-fa-sṳ: Làn-fông Khiung-fò-koet), also known as Lanfang Company (Chinese: 蘭芳公司; pinyin: Lánfāng gōngsī), was a kongsi federation in Western Borneo. It was established by a Hakka Chinese named Low Lan Pak in 1777 until it was ended by Dutch occupation in 1884.

Lanfang Republic
蘭芳共和國 (Chinese)
Map of Kongsi republics in West Borneo
StatusKongsi federation
CapitalDong Wan Li (東萬律) (now Mandor)
Common languagesHakka, Malay, Dayak languages
Demonym(s)Hakka or Lánfāngrén (蘭芳人)
GovernmentPresidential Kongsi republic
Low Lan Pak
Jiang Wubo
Yan Sibo
Jiang Wubo
Song Chabo
Liu Taiji
Gu Liubo
Xie Guifang
Ye Tenghui
Liu Ganxing
Liu Asheng
Liu Liang
Liu Asheng
Historical eraNew Imperialism
 Expedition to the West Coast of Borneo
 Dutch conquest
Succeeded by
Dutch East Indies
Today part ofIndonesia

Arrival of the Chinese

The sultans of Western Borneo, including Sambas, Sukadana, and Landak all imported Chinese laborers in the 18th century to work in gold or tin mines. A number of mining companies enjoyed some political autonomy,[3] but Lanfang is the best known thanks to a history written by Yap Siong-yoen, the son-in-law of the last kapitan of the Lanfang Company, which was translated into Dutch in 1885, and J.J.M. de Groot, a Dutch Sinologist who recorded Lanfang's history with the help of its last President, Liu Asheng.[4][5][6][7][8][9] None of the other Chinese mining organization in western Kalimantan left written accounts; the records of the others were documented by Dutch sinologists.[10]

Rule of Low Lan Pak

The founding father of the Lanfang Kongsi was Low Lan Pak, who hailed from Meizhou in Guangdong Province. Chinese settlers have long lived on Borneo, with most engaging in trading and mining. They formed their own companies, among which was the Southern Company headed by Low.

As Dutch imperialism encroached upon modern-day Indonesia, Low established the Lanfang Company in 1777 (with its capital in Mandor) to protect the Chinese settlers from Dutch oppression.[11][12][13][14][15][16] The settlers subsequently elected Low as their inaugural leader. Low implemented many democratic principles, including the idea that all matters of state must involve the consultation of the republic's citizenry. The Republic did not have a standing military, but had a defense ministry that administered a national militia based on conscription. During peacetime, the populace mostly engaged in farming, production, trading, and mining. Lanfang's administrative divisions included three tiers (province, prefecture, and county) with the people electing leaders for all levels. Lanfang was allied with Sultan Abdurrahman of the Pontianak Sultanate.[17][18][19][20][21]

Low served as head of state until his death in 1795. Afterwards, Lanfang members elected Jiang Wubo (江戊伯) as their next president. Lanfang citizens elected a total of twelve leaders, who helped improve agricultural techniques, expand mine production, develop cultural education, and organize military training.

Dutch conquest

In the mid-to-late 19th century, the Chinese Qing Empire weakened substantially. Thus, the Lanfang Company's vigorous development suffered from the eventual expansion of the Dutch. The Mandor community waged a tenacious resistance, but ultimately failed due to poor weaponry. Lin Ah Sin was the last leader of Lanfang.[22] Many of Lanfang's citizens and their descendants made their way to Sumatra or Singapore. The three campaigns waged by the Dutch East Indies Army against the Lanfang Company:

  • Expedition to the West Coast of Borneo (1822–24)
  • Expedition against the Chinese in Montrado (1850–54)
  • Chinese uprising in Mandor, Borneo (1884–85)

This last one resulted in the subjugation of the Chinese and the loss of autonomy.

Wary of Qing intervention, the Dutch did not openly annex the lands controlled by the Lanfang Company, and created another puppet regime. It was not until 1912, when the Qing Dynasty collapsed, that the Dutch proclaimed their occupation.

See also

  • Kengwei Republic



  1. "Lan Fang Republic". 15 February 1998. Archived from the original on 9 October 1999. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  2. 高宗熹 (1992). Hakka People, Eastern Jews (in Chinese). 武陵出版有限公司. ISBN 9789573506034.
  3. 海外華人創建了世上第一個共和國. (in Traditional Chinese). Archived from the original on 2011-04-24. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
  4. Groot, J.J.M. (1885), Het Kongsiwezen van Borneo: eene verhandeling over den grondslag en den aard der chineesche politieke vereenigingen in de koloniën, The Hague: M. Nijhof.
  5. Lindsey'& Pausacker & Coppel &Institute of Southeast Asian Studies & Monash Asia Institute 2005, p. 105.
  6. ed. Gerber &Guang 2006, p. 164.
  7. ed. Reid & Alilunas-Rodgers 1996, p. 169.
  8. ed. Blussé & Zurndorfer & Zürcher 1993, p. 288.
  9. Chin 1981, p. 19.
  10. Heidhues 2001:169
  11. Gernet 1996, p. 489.
  12. YUNOS 2011. Archived 2014-07-14 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "The Eurozone as a Lan Fang Republic" 2012
  14. Zheng 1982, p. 40.
  15. Wang 1994, p. 87.
  16. "The Sarawak Museum Journal, Volume 19" 1971, p. 119.
  17. "The Sarawak Museum Journal" 1959, p. 671.
  18. Heidhues 2003, p. 65.
  19. Heidhues 2003, p. 103.
  20. Luo & Luo 1941,
  21. 羅 1961,
  22. Irwin 1955, p. 173.
  1. "...The flag is a rectangle yellow flag with the word Lan Fang Ta Tong Chi. The president flag is a triangular yellow flag with the word Chuao (General)..." Quoted from the web as a summary from the book Hakka people - Jews of the Orient.[2]


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