In 1743 Pakubuwono II (r. 1726–1749) rid himself of problems in Mataram’s eastern provinces by transferring Surapati’s former lands to the Dutch. Rebel bands used east Java as a place of retreat; Balinese princes still considered it as tributary territory to their kingdoms in Bali.
The VOC could defeat Indonesian armies, but it could not directly administer territories distant from its Batavia headquarters. Its method was to use local officials and Chinese networks to get production and trade moving. When it became chief landlord of east Java, the company continued Surapati’s system of administration. It appointed as officials only men who were Muslim, and ordered them to make conversion of the Hindu population a priority of office. The second strategy was encouraging immigration of Muslim farming families from Madura and central Java. In this way the VOC achieved Surapati’s goals: Balinese influence was lessened, the forest refuges of rebel bands were reduced, and the landscape was permanently settled by farmers who raised crops for export.
Over time Muslim immigrants became the majority population. East Java was detached from Bali’s orbit and was integrated into the history of Muslim Java under the Christian overlordship of the Dutch.