J.C. Van Leur’s rejection of E.C. Godee Molsbergen’s treatment of the eighteenth century as a category for the history of the Netherlands Indies was based on reservations which, in the context of the time, were entirely valid. Molsbergen had selected the eighteenth century as a category for the study of the Dutch East India Company and, furthermore, as Van Leur reminds us, it was a periodization borrowed from Western Europe and North America.1 For Van Leur, who was pioneering an autonomous history of Indonesia, it was important that its past did not become subsumed within the annals of the Company or, for that matter, ancillary to the history of the Netherlands. Given some half-century of historical scholarship since Van Leur’s response to Molsbergen, the distinctions between the history of the Netherlands Indies and the history of Indonesia have become clearer. Does this imply stronger support for Van Leur’s rejection of the eighteenth century as a category in Indonesian history? Should the eighteenth century - significant to European activity in Asia - be regarded as peripheral to indigenous developments?