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Book source: Skrekiboekoe, Chris de Beet (red.), University Utrecht, 1995 ISBN 90-393-0567-6.

Subject: [History] The Matawai Clan/Tribe


At first the Matawai were considered a clan and part of the Saramaccas who lived near the Toekoemoetoe Creek one of the head waters of the Saramacca River. Prior to 1750 the Saramacca tribe moved to the Suriname River while the Maroons Becou and Moesinga (clans) remained. They became later the Matawai tribe.

The 1762 peace treaty was violated by the Matawai when they attacked in 1766 plantations and captured the plantation slaves near the Koropina Creek.

Granman Abini of the Saramaccas joined a Dutch forces expedition to punish the Matawais. Abini was killed in action. A new peace was negotiated between the Dutch and the Matawais. They were recognized as a seperate tribe. Also every four years they would receive tribute gifts from the Dutch. This practise continued till 1849 when the Matawai were able to gather enough income from trade and logging.

There were in 1850 some 300 Matawais. They often travelled to Paramaribo and coastal areas. Their movements were checked through a pass control system when they went through Poelepantje.

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