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Book source: manumissies in Suriname 1832-1863, Okke ten Hove and Frank Dragtenstein, CLACS & IBS, Utrecht, 1997. ISBN 90-393-1460-8

Subject: [History] Free African-Surinamese


In 1667, the Dutch took over Suriname from the British and there were already a number of free African-Surinamese (vrije Afro-Surinamers ) in Suriname. Especially between 1667-1670 the number of them increased. The notes of a Police Court meeting in 1670 state that they were 'free loaders' and could encourage the plantation slaves to desert. Thus all free African-Surinamese were required to report for work to a master. However not many paid attention to the regulations. Up to 1733 it was a matter between master and slave if a slave should be given his freedom. Thus to 1733 no reliable or accurate records were kept of the number of slaves set free. Sometimes the only records are the wills/testament of the owners of a slave. Not many males were set free but an exception was made for those who helped capture run-away slaves. They were set free as a reward for their service. Free African-Surinamese remained dependent on their benefactors. A white person remained his/her superior. They were required to show respect to the whites because of the goodness of the whites they were given their freedom. The free African-Surinamese were reminded of this. The mixed blood mulattes received more benefits and were in a more advantageous position than free African-Surinamese. The children of mulattes also received through the churches their education. Many mulat children were sent to the Netherlands for their education as early as the first half of the 18th century. -------

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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