Amboyna (play)

Amboyna, or the Cruelties of the Dutch to the English Merchants is a tragedy by John Dryden written in 1673. Its subject is the Amboyna massacre and the death of Gabriel Towerson that took place on Ambon Island in 1623.

Dryden reportedly wrote the play in the short space of a month; he wanted to produce a topical piece, since Britain was at that time at war with The Netherlands.[1] The original production was acted by the King's Company at the theatre at Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Towerson's wife in the play, Ysabinda, is based on his real life wife, Mariam Khan (dates unknown), daughter of an influential merchant at the courts of the Mughul Emperors Akbar and Jahangir.[2]

In the stage production by the King's Company, Nicholas Burt played Perez, while Rebecca Marshall played Ysabinda.


  1. ^ John Downes, Roscius Anglicanus, London, 1706; reprinted New York, Benjamin Blom, 1968; p. 143.
  2. ^ McJannet, L.; Andrea, Bernadette (2011). Early Modern England and Islamic Worlds. Palgrave Macmillan US. p. 96-98. ISBN 978-0-230-11982-6.

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