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Book source: (1) Het Militair Kordon van Suriname, MAJ-Infantry K. Koopmans, TRIS (Troepenmacht in Suriname) (2) Map: Kordonpad volgens de kaart van J.C. Heneman van 1784 verbeterd en gewijzigd door Jonkhr C.X. van Sijpesteijn in 1849 (3) Bouwkunst in Suriname, Ir J.L. Volders, Kersten, 1973. No ISBN

Subject: [Mil.History] The Military Cordon 1778


GovGen Jan Nepveu decided in 1774 to change the dispersed location of military posts into a military cordon or a line of military posts to enclose and protect an area where plantations were located. This military cordon (defensive system) was completed in 1778.

Manning of the military cordon: 5 captains 19 lieutenants 44 sergeants 69 corporals 24 orderlies, medics 5 bakers 955 enlisted men The military cordon was divided into two parts: (A) Eastern part occupied by 1st Battalion Militia (B) Western part occupied by 2nd Battalion Militia It streched eastward from the Jodensavannah (Suriname River) to Imotapi (Boven Commewijne River), then it runs north-west to the military post L'Esperance, then north east accross the Perica to military post Willemsbrug and finaly north to the coast of Suriname. The total length of the military cordon is approximately 94 km.

Obstacles were used to slow down and prevent any infiltrations by the Maroons such as planting of shrubs with thorns (Mamantin Maca).These hedges were 4 to 5 feet tall. One also used broken bottles and glass. The broken glass was spread in front of the hedge. All Maroons walked barefeet. Two soldiers inspected at all time the hedges for holes. In case of an alarm all posts were re-inforced. Every post had a military drummer for reveille and retreat. They were also used to sound the alarm and the sound of the drums was in a pre-arranged code. Each post had also a horse for messengers to deliver urgent messages from post to post. Each horse traveled only for half an hour. Thus, this way each post had a 'fresh' horse.

Military life of those stationed on the military cordon was filled with relative freedom and adventure. The first stretch starting from Jodensavannah changes from a savannah terain to jungle which can become very dense. Thus the cordon path is now difficult to find. At certain length of the path there are ditches on the left and right. The path was about 10 m wide. The mud and sand from the ditches was used to build the path.

As soon as you cross the Casewinica creek the terain becomes swampy and again dense jungle vegetation. The path narrows to a 5 meter width. During the rainy season this area is under water and one has to walk through about 30 cm high water.

After you cross the Commewijne River the path runs parallel to the river. The terain is now extremely difficult to traverse due to jungle and swamp vegetation. After the plantation l'Esperance was deserted no one has traveled in this area of the cordon path.

TRIS (Troepenmacht in Suriname) has kept the military cordon open but since 1976 (independence) no effort has been made to keep it open and the original military cordon is difficult to find as all is again overgrown by the jungle.

An inspection of maps of the military cordon (path) shows that there were: 20 pikets (guard houses) captains posts officers posts segeants posts Each post was given a name such as: Gelderland, Utrecht, Holland, Friesland, Buuren, Frederiksdorp, Overijsel, Zeeland, Groningen, Drenthe, Marquette, Gouverneurslust, Mauritsburg, Stabroek, Amsterdam, 's Hage, Nepheusburg, Leyden, Haarlem, Voorburg, Verwachting, Wolffenbussel, Brunswijk, 't Loo, Maastricht, Willemsburg, Oranjewoud, Breda, Dieren, Soestdijk, Oranje.

A captains post was a small fort on the cordon path. The guard outlook post was always downwind with a good field of observation of the terain. The fortress consisted of a captains cabin, quarters for soldiers, kitchen, latrine and often a well.

A lieutenants post was a fort similar to the captains post but smaller in size.

A sergeants post was smaller than the lieutenants post. It had quaters for the sergeant and soldiers (one cabin) and a kitchen. The latrine was outside the fortress.

A 'piket' was a guard house comparable to a foxhole.

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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