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Java Medal: CM.1287-2009

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: Calcutta
Issuer: East India Company
Ruler: George III (1760-1820) (Struck in the rule of)




French successes in the Napoleonic Wars left the French Empire at its greatest extent ever in 1810, and due to repeated military failures on the European mainland Britain was forced to look for other fronts on which to engage France and its allies. One such campaign was waged by the British East India Company against French and Dutch possessions in the East Indies. The cornerstone of this campaign was the war in which the Indonesian island of Java was taken, a campaign which began with the landing at and capture of Fort Cornelis. The conquest of the whole island rapidly followed, but it was returned to the Netherlands in the 1816 treaty negotiations that ended the Napoleonic Wars.
For participation in this assault by Indian troops the East India Company had this medal struck at its Calcutta mint. The Persian inscription means: "This medal was conferred in commemoration of the bravery and courage exhibited by the Sepoys of the English company in the capture of the Kingdom of Java, in the year of the Hijra 1228".
The medal was awarded, as this suggests, to Company Sepoys (Indian troops); European combatants had to wait until corresponding bars were awarded to the Military and Naval General Service Medals some thirty-five years later. The East India Company medals were issued unnamed, so the identity of the Bengali or Madras soldier who earnt it is unknown. Lester Watson purchased the medal at some point before 1928.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt before 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 51.3 mm
Weight: 45.4 g

Place(s) associated

  • Calcutta

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


Production date: AD 1811


Later striking

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Battle scene of attack on Fort Cornelis

  • Text: CORNELIS
  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Persian inscription central with circle and inscription around

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1287-2009
Primary reference Number: 141381
Watson Catalogue: 190
Ordering: M-0170
Previous object number: LW.0170
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 15 January 2024 Last processed: Monday 15 January 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Java Medal" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-23 12:22:27

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{{cite web|url= |title=Java Medal |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-23 12:22:27|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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