In eighteenth and nineteenth century Asia an extensive colonial bureaucracy emerged in territories under the rule of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and later the colonial state. This panel consists of historians who work with colonial archive records from various regions and take the practices of colonial knowledge production as a focal point of their research. Through a comparative lens and foregrounding historical methodology, this panel will discuss various practices such as taxfarming and lawmaking to provide insight into the daily processes of colonial rule. Political, legal and administrative rule was not primarily dictated in the metropole, but instead was the result of adaptations to local circumstances, in which existing traditions played an essential role. Through the focus on the regional level, the actors involved in colonial decision-making processes such as commissioners, colonial officials, intermediaries and local knowledge holders are positioned at the centre of analysis. This panel will analyse everyday practices and discuss how colonial rule constantly had to be renegotiated resulting in a plurality of locally developed colonial cultures, which both enabled and constrained the actors in different ways.