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Book source: (1) Militaire Geschiedenis, Maj-arts J. Karbaat, TRIS (Troepenmacht in Suriname) (2) Avonturen aan de Wilde Kust,

Met dank aan Albert Buys Helman, VACO, Paramaribo 1982. ISBN 9991400087

Subject: [Mil. History] 'Korps Zwarte Jagers'- Black Rangers


The 'Vrij Korps' or 'Korps Vrije Afro-Surinamers' was established in 1770 as part of the colonial army. In 1772, the 'Korps Zwarte Jagers' (corps Black Rangers) was formed by GovGen Jan Nepveu and placed under command of LtColonel P. Stoelman. These rangers consisted of 300 slaves purchased by the colonial government in Suriname. They were paid only when military duties were performed. They received a small piece of land near Paramaribo to cultivate and to subsist. They were issued one pair of pants, a green cap, a rifle and saber. The green cap was replaced later with a red cap as some of the run away slaves were wearing green caps and to avoid confusion. The red cap was a distinctive part of the uniform to indicate they were rangers. These rangers were also known as 'redi moesoe'. The rangers had an excellent reputation and were indispensable fighting Maroons. Military experts at that time compared one black ranger to be equal to six white soldiers in effectiveness fighting in the jungle. The black rangers were forbidden to fraternize with other slaves and were promised freedom after honorable service and a good conduct discharge. The black rangers were commanded by career officers and non-commissioned officers.

By 1799 the black rangers had become a more para military force and when the new GovGen Friderici placed them under stricter military control and discipline they felt that their unique position/priviliges had been taken away and revolted against the government. Those who revolted guarded the remoste posts in the interior and the 'Kordon Pad' where they had more freedom of action and less supervision from above. The black rangers went on the rampage killing whites and plundering plantations. They had formed now a rebel group of 100 men and succeeded joining the Boni rebels. They also got secretly support from the Aukaners. It took the colonial government more than a year to crush the rebellion. The black rangers unit remained but thier name was changed to 'Royal Black Chasseurs'. They received a better uniform and more pay.

In 1818 the 'korps' was strictly used to assist during jungle patrols to chase and return run away slaves. Thus their name was changed again to 'colonial guides'. By 1840 the last 50 slaves were purchased in Africa and brought to Suriname to join the unit. The unit was commanded by a Lt. Colonel. The commander was assisted by four officers, one surgeon and 176 non-commissioned officers. Other duties performed were those of medics and messenger. The 'colonial guides' were de-activated in 1862.

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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