Portrait of a Wounded KNIL Soldier, Isaac Israels, 1882
The Dutch dubbed this West-African soldier ‘Kees Pop’, an ultra-Dutch name, because they were unable to pronounce his original name. Many soldiers were recruited from the former slave centre of Elmina (now Ghana) into the Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) to fight the rebellious Indonesians. ‘Pop’ signed on in 1869 for a twelve-year tour of duty; he fought in the Aceh War and was decorated for his service. Israels portrayed him with his medals in the Netherlands just before his passage back to Africa.