The story of the wealth of the richest widow being robbed by her new husband

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – A household scandal caused a stir in Batavia (now Jakarta) in the early 17th century. The dispute and struggle for property between Cornelia van Nijenroode and Johan Bitter made many people talk about it.

How could it not be, Bitter is suspected of robbing Cornelia of all her assets shortly after her marriage. In fact, he also abused Cornelia. Apparently Bitter's motive for affection was just a trick to take his wife's property.

For the record, Cornelia was part of a family of VOC officials. His father, Cornelis van Nijenroode, was the Head of the VOC Branch in Hirado, Japan.

When he died in 1633, Cornelis gave his daughter an abundant inheritance. Thanks to this, the woman born in the 1920s was able to move from Hirado to Batavia.

While continuing her life in Batavia, Cornelia, who was already an adult, married Pieter Cnoll in 1652. Having a relationship with an established Dutch man made Cornelia's life so good. Especially when her husband served as Chief Accountant and Port of Batavia, a classy position in his time.

Leonard Blusse in A Strange Alliance: Chinese Settlers, Peranakan Women, and the Dutch in VOC Batavia (1988) said that in this position, Cornelia and Cnoll practically became the richest residents of Batavia. Even so, on the way, Cornelia was overcome with grief. Cnoll died young in 1672, but not before he had made a will regarding his fortune.

“The will designated his widow as his primary heir and guardian of his children. There was much wealth. He was to have a large carriage and a house with 40 slaves,” wrote John E. Wills in 1688: A Global History (2001)

Since Cnoll left, Cornelia has officially become the richest widow in Batavia. The title of widow and rich makes many men want to approach her. Of course they came to take advantage of Cornelia's wealth. One of them is John Bitter

Bitter is a widower with five children. He worked as a lawyer and first arrived in Batavia, in 1675. However, his income as a lawyer did not make him rich. As a result, he used various moves to approach Cornelia.

Somehow, Bitter's persuasion made Cornelia want to marry him. In 1976, the widow and widower married. But not long after, what many people predicted happened: the marriage proved to be just a ruse by Bitter.

As told by Wills, all of Cornelia's treasures, diamonds and property that came from her first husband were claimed unilaterally as Bitter's. In fact, when Cornelia wanted to make a property certificate based on her name, Bitter did not accept it and resorted to violence.

“Bitter beat her until Cornelia dislocated her shoulder,” Wills wrote.

From this incident, Cornelia had to be evicted from her own house and immediately filed for divorce in the Batavian and Dutch courts.

To prevent his property from being taken, he borrowed the names of his friends as owners of property and other valuables. Moreover, Bitter also secretly sent Cornelia's wealth to the Netherlands so that it would not be traced.

Unfortunately, the court at that time rejected Cornelia's demands. In fact, the court asked Cornelia to re-establish a relationship with Bitter, and also ordered her to share her assets with Bitter. Hearing such results, Cornelia did not accept it.

He then filed a lawsuit again. However, Cornelia never felt the lawsuit because she died quickly. As a result, all of Cornelia's assets fell into Bitter's hands.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]