Subject:  International Colonial and Trade Exhibition
In a corner, a big tent was set up at the world exhibition in Amsterdam in 1883 where for 25 cents one could enter the tent to gape at the natives from Suriname. [There was also a different tent to gape at the natives from the East Indies]
The 'Nieuwe Rotterdamsch Courant' paper talked about it being a rare opportunity, also for the scientist and ethnographs besides the general public. Even Prince Roland Bonaparte made an extensive report in his 'Les Habitants de Suriname'. He made photographs of each individual and took measurements and described the individual characteristics.
To bring the delegation from Suriname to Holland a certain Mr. W. Mackintosh was approached to assemble a group for the world exihibition. It took him a lot of effort and convincing for them to go to Holland. The deciding factor was the promise that they would meet with the King of Holland (Willem III). Mr. Mackintosh had now no problems getting volunteers from Paramaribo but he continued to have a reluctance from people from the interior.
Eventually 28 natives were assembled consisting of Amerindians, African-Surinamese. The Amerindians consisted of 13 Caribs and 2 Arawaks. Among them was a Kajaroe accompanied by his wife and 6 year old daughter. Pierre Miharoe was accompanied by his son and daughter while his wife had to stay in Suriname to take care of the animals. Majoe Koe-ra-na, wife and three children were described as very shy. The Arawak Johan Hi-A-Lie left his two wives in Suriname so he could have a good time and enjoy the trip without their presence. The second Arawak was prince
Met dank aan Albert Buys of Koerbabo. He died in Amsterdam from a chest illness and the cold weather. He was 21. Although it was July and summer the natives had it cold and the organizers put some heating stoves in the tent to keep them warm.
There were only four African-Surinamese. Kodjo-A-Selengri came while leaving his two wives home. Kwamma Baja went against the will of his family. Kwami-A-Pe-See was a descendant of a family of civil servants. A twelve year old African-Surinamese boy sold programs at the entrance of the tent.
The Creoles were divided in city African-Surinamese and plantation African-Surinamese. They talked 'African-Surinamese English'. The women came from Paramaribo. They were dressed in the koto missie costumes. Most of the Creoles women were market vendors thus Antoinette was selling briskly walking canes at the exhibition. Others were selling pictures of themselves to the 'gaping' public.
As the the exhibition continued it became boring for the participants and their morale was low when King Willem III did not show up as promised. Although thousands visited the exhibition the organizers had a financial loss.
**Note this was a free translation. For the complete Dutch text and very interesting illustrations visit:
Met dank aan Albert Buys