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Book source: The Boni Maroon Wars in Suriname, W. Hoogbergen,E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1990. ISBN 90 04 09303 6

Subject: [History] Agosu - Son of Boni


There are no records to show who Agosu's mother was. Agosu succeded the paramount chief Boni when he was killed by Ndjukas. Maroons have a matrilineal succession rule and Agosu followed a partilineal succession. Agosu was paramount chief of the Boni tribe from 1793-1810. In 1785 he became kapiten of a group but lived near his father Boni.

His name appears in historical kept records as early as 1775 in the raid of plantation Schoonmanen. He was young and did not follow the instructions from his father. His error was that he also attacked the plantation Altona and the slaves were not willing to join him. As a result he was forced to make a hasty retreat.

Then in 1789, Agosu joined by another known Boni 'Jaw' of Meerzorg and 150 Maroons attacked the plantation Clarenbeek. They raided the plantation to obtain 33 slaves. That same year Agosu and his men raided plantation La Solitude. There the plantation manager Hardegeen was ordered shot by Agosu. Hardegeen was later cut into pieces by the Maroons.

According to researches it should be pointed out that many of these plantation raids were necessary for survival of the tribe. They needed more people and especially women were sought after in the raids. Priority of importance for them was women, rifles, ammunition and other supplies.

In July 1792, Agosu tried to negotiate with Captain P.S. Stoelman to resume the peace talks which had ended in failure. Stoelman brushed him off and made it clear to Agosu that the time of negotiations was over. Only a surrender of the Boni tribe was acceptible to the Dutch. Stoelman could afford to say that as at that time the Boni had become too weak to be a threat to the Ndjukas and the Dutch.

Thus in frustration in August 1792, Agosu and 15 of his men attacked a small Ndjuka settlement to plunder the huts and set fire to them. The Ndjuka asked permission from Stoelman to sail up the Lawa river and surround Agosu on his homeward bound trip. Stoelman consented but Agosu had fled. When his father Boni was killed in a surprise attack, Agosu also was able to flee.

So with Boni's death in 1793 and a defeat of the Boni by the Ndjukas the remainder of the tribe disappeared from the records to an unknown place in the jungle. Only until 1802 did the Dutch authorities hear again from the Boni tribe. Agosu and the Ndjuka were able to reconcile somewhat their differences shortly after 1793 that as long as the Boni did not annoy the Ndjuka they the Ndjuka would leave the Boni alone. The Ndjuka would even refuse to hunt them down when requested by the Dutch.

The decline of the Boni tribe occurred at a time when Suriname changed over to British rule (1799-1802) and (1804-1816). While at the same time the Ndjukas were not receiving their promised tribute. Thus during these days there appeared to be confusion and distrust. No one was clearly in charge in Suriname. This could only suit the Boni and Ndjuka who wished to be left alone.

Animosity among the Ndjuka and Boni flared up again and in 1810 in Agosu's village Bronkondre (village of fire), he was shot and killed by the Ndjuka in a surprise attack. Agosu was succeeded by gaanman Gongo of the Boni clan.


Met dank aan Albert Buys

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