Google
 
Web Suriname.NU
U kunt nu ook alleen binnen  ANDA Suriname  zoeken
      ·       Suriname Gastenboek       ·       Geef u hier op voor SuriMagazine   
   





   
ONDERDELEN
SAMENVATTINGEN
 suriname.nu  Index-lijst
     Samenvattingen
     ( Engels )


ONDERWERPEN
Geschiedenis

AFDELINGEN
   Algemeen
  De Douane
   Telefoonboek
   Bevolking
   Distrikten
   Reis info
   Cultureel erfgoed
   Geschiedenis
   Foto's
   Natuur
   Personen
   Koken / recepten
   Vragen over NIBA
   Wat is ANDA

     
 SURINAME  AFDELINGEN -  Geschiedenis - - SAMENVATTINGEN

 suriname . NU terug
 




Book source: "De Nederlandse Kolonien" Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse expansie 1600 -1975 (History of the Dutch expansion 1600 - 1975) by J. van Goor Uitgeverij SDU, Koninginnegracht, Den Haag ISBN 90-12-08049-8

Subject: [ History] The Dutch Colonial expansion in the West (4-17)
see also: The Dutch Colonial expansion in the West (1-3)


***Author only this article: A.J. Heideman.

Article:
The Republic in the West Bridgeheads of the west, islands in an ocean of strangers, enclaves with an own language, culture, religion and habits are descriptions of the European factories in the tropics. The image of closed enclaves was strenghtened by de heavy fortifications and canels which protected the settlements. Both the VOC and the WIC have spent large amounts of money to build and maintain fortresses, storehouses, sheds and shipyards. Dutch names for the fortifications and new settlements supported the feeling of having something from home. Stellenbosch, Swellendam, en Drakenstein at Kaap de Goede Hoop (SA) were named after highranked company officials. Fort Amsterdam was in Kormatin in Ghana and in Ambon Indonesia. Fortresses with names such as Nassau, Oranje and Victoria were built all over the Molukken in Indonesia. Fort Zeelandia was present at Formosa and in Paramaribo. The West Indian properties develloped more and more as plantations instead of those in the East as trade centers. On many islands the Indians were decimated by diseases or killed by the Spanish conquerers. At the beginning of the 17th century most Dutch settlements were rather small and were placed in less populated areas. On the mainland plantations were situated along rivers just for transportation purposes. The relative 'emptyness' of the country caused the bottom-build-up of plantations. Inhabitants, labourers and supplies had to come from far away. The existence of the colony depended heavily on slavetrade. The number of plantation born slave-children was not enough to keep the 'slave labourforce' on numbers. The group of White's was also regularly filled up by foreigners from Europe. The ratio free-unfree, the unequal sex-ratio and the sharp dividing, by skin colour, between the communities marked the plantation- and the slavesociety. After the occupation of Suriname by the Zeeuwen in 1667, practically all English planters had left the country. Different groups of Indians were the original population. According to English assesments in that period some 17.000 Caribic families lived between Brazil and Suriname. Their number in Suriname was estimated at 6.000 divided in different tribes such as the Cariben, the Paricoates and the Turumacs. Not all Dutch colonists in Suriname were From the Lowlands. From the beginning there were French Hugenottes and Jewish families among them. The latter often came from Brazil were, after the departure of the Dutch, free choice of profession and religion was prohibited. The population number did not grow significantly during the "Zeeuwsche" period. When Governor Van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck arrive d in 1683 he found 25 houses in Parimaribo, mostly pubs, and fifty sugarplantations. According to 'Hoofdgeldbelasting' (tax per head) in 1684 the colony had 579 Christians, 232 Jews and 4.281 slaves. In all groups the males outnumbered the females

The 'Compagnie' and the 'Burger'

After the arrival of Governor Van Aerssen van Sommelsdijk in 1683 and his successor Johan van Scharphuizen in 1689 the growth of the plantations and its population was severe. The 'slave' population ratio to the white group grew, shortly after the year 1700 there were more than 10.000 slaves at over 200 plantations and in the thirties those numbers had dubbeld. At the end of the century 533 plantations were present in Suriname and the population was estimated 53.000 people (without Indians and Marrons) of which 90% were slaves. The free group was 2.000 Christians, 1.350 Jews and 1.760 'Coloureds' Thanks to the concentration of Whites in Paramaribo the ratio of free and not-free people at the plantations was much larger as 1:10. The difference between The Antilles and Suriname was a result of the plantation culture at the mainland. Although the country-houses with huge gardens on the Antiles were named plantations they did not have the economical meaning and size of the plantations in Suriname. Both the posessions in the East as the Westindian colonies were ruled by an autocratic government. The combination of employer, political authorities and the judiciary was not conducive for the development of representative consultation institutes. The all overruling position in political life of the company in the East were stronger as in the West were more free colonists, planters and free-civilians where present. A considerable number of the free-population was separate and on own account, from the company, in the West. This caused problems. In Suriname the Supreme authority, in name of the "societeit" was the Governor, he was responsible for administration and defence. Already the first "Societeit" governor Van Aerssen had differences with the local representatives and his start was not very promising for 'democracy'. He assesed the planters so insignificant that he found only eight of them capable for a seat in the council in which ten of them should be seated. The 'Police-council' was chosen, from a group of fourty people nominated by the colonists, by the governor and he alone was the one that choose the dozen people for a seat in the dozen-strong counsil of justice. The Goeverneur-Generaal had a seat in all counsils so his position was a very strong one although he had to comply with majority votings, he was in charge by the choice and preparation of matters of importance. Because these rules did not change until the end of the eighteenth century, this 'dividing' of power remained a major cause of conflcts. Planters often felt that the compagnie did not enough for their causes, taxpayments for defensive matters was not a popular item and another source of conflicts was the desertion of slave s. No less than five governors have been called back to the Netherlands due to conflicts with the planters. This difficult relation between administration and civillians was probably caused by the relative small-scale of the colonies operations so some planters could climb up to leaders of the, 'cabalen', opositional groups thus influencing the governers position. Some very rich planters could build up a disproportionate influence. The plantation-owners in 'Patria' tried to influence matters in the colon y which sometimes caused a difference in policy in the Societeit.

Recrutement of labourforces:

slavetrade Surinamese 'Granmans', heads of the bush-African-Surinamese communities, visiting West-Africa during the 70's of this centuryyears often confused their hosts by asking them how it was possible that their ancestors were sold. They did not get a satisfying answer by Ghanaian historical experts. The answer that 'trade in human beings' is as old as the world and was present al over the world, is undoubtably true, but does not administar justice to the later indignation on slavetrade. It does not clarify the specific circumstances under which the Atlantic slave trade took place. All European settlements in tropical areas depended on slave-labour. During the "ancien Regime slaves were the largest social group on Dutch factories. Nevertheless the Dutch seemed not to be predestinated for trade in human beings. Neither slavetrade nor slavelabour were permitted in the Dutch Republics territory. When the Dutch, in the beginning of the 17th century were confrontated with slavery, disapprovement dominated . The famous Dutch poet condemned trade in human beings sharply in his play "Moortje" Nevertheless around 1630 there was, without much scrupules slavetrade from the Republic. Zeeland and Middelburg perticipated on a large scale. The great impuls came after the conquest of Brazil. In order to replace the 'run-away-slaves' and getting the sugar-productio n started between 1631 and 1651 there were 31.533 slaves purchased in Africa of which 26.286 arrived. Tha attack from Jonan Maurits van Nassau on the Portuguese properties in West-Africa was a direct result of the need of slaves. After the loss of Brazil, Dutch slavetrade decreased. On the West-African coast there was relatively low resistance to slavetra de because slaves were delivered by local chiefs and traders. Another explanation for the low resistance in Africa is that it were not the Dutc h that invented slavery but it was a long existing trade taken over from the Portuguese. Slavery existed in West-Africa long before the first Europeans arrived, prisoners of war and people that could not pay their debts, thus selling themselves came into the hands of others. Mostly they were adopted by the owning-family or became followers of the souvereign. People from the own tribe could not b e sold. Slavery was not new but leaving the country forever was. However slavery was nor in Africa nor in Europe generally accepted. Demand came from the growing need of labourforces on the Plantations in North and South America.

Slavetrade - some numbers

The Kingdom of the Ashanti (Ghana) in the beginning strongly anti slavery became an important slavetrader during the eighteenth century and tried to get acces to the coastal areas to be able to deal directly with the Europeans. The same happend at the 'Slavenkust' (the Slavecoast) for the Dahomey Kingdom. The increasing pressure, could easily desintegrate the own Empire, lead to war with the neighbouring states. The captured POW were sold to the European traders. The imoprt and sale of firearms by free-traders increased the unrest. From all slavetrade is the one from West-Africa to the New World best documented. The business type of operation from the Westeuropean slavetrade makes it difficult to recover the number of people involved. The Dutch part of the Atlantic slavetrade was 5.5%. In total some 543.000 black people were traded as a slave of which 163.000 during the seventeenth century and 380.000 between 1700-1803. Trade was at its largest between 1750-1780 when a yearly average of 5.866 slaves were sold. Between 1675-1738, when the WIC gave slavetrade by turn to the Chambers, took Amsterdam the main portion with 37%, followed by Zeeland 28%, Rotterdam 14%, Groningen 13% and Noord-Holland with 9%. During the free-trade period 1730-1803 the main part was mainly a 'Zeeuwsche' matter, negociants of this province took 77% against Amsterdam 11% and Rotterdam 12%. From the slaves traded by the Dutch more than 185.000 were sent to Suriname. According to Ph. Curtin, who did a lot of investigation on slavetrade, so me 10 million Africans were transported as a slave over the Atlantic. The export was on its top in the eighteenth century and decreased sharply after the English/American prohibition. The prohibition was declared to all nations and supported by the British maritimesupremacy. The ban was taken over by the Dutch government, so the slavetrade, which had no importance after 1780, ended definitive. The Dutch had, due to the take-over of Portuguese possesions in West- Africa, a strong position at the coast and they developped to be the main slavetraders in the seventeenth century. Although sales during the eighteenth century was larger their position was taken over by the Englis h. Profit on Dutch slavetrade is difficult to calculate. There was an enormeous difference between purchase- and sellingprice but without an overview of the cost profit is not to calculate. During the WIC time the mix with oth er trade divisions of the compenie's trade is to intensive so that does not help. Average the price of a slave 'at the coast' was between 1657 and 1738 57 Dutch Guilders. The selling price at Curacao was between 69 and 108 and in Suriname t200 DG. On the Islands they siold to other merchants whi le in Suriname directly to the 'users'. After the WIC and during the time o f free enteprise between 1740 - 1795 average purchase price was 129 and the selling price was 313 DG an important gross difference. Thanks to the good bookkeeping of the 'Middelburgse Commercie Compagnie' we can see more on profitability from the more than 100 slavetransports by them. Overall the MCC had less than 3% profit. 41 trips even had a deficit. The question why the company kept the business is that the profits were made in the beginning of the trade and the losses at the end of the trade-period.

Treatmant of the slaves

The reputation of the Dutch slave-holders was quite different from the ones on the Antilles. De planters in Suriname had a harsh image. John Stedman, an English officer, serving in Suriname at the end of the 18th century has, by his book and drawings, spread broadly and international the picture of black-slave existense. Later investigations however proved that life circumstances and treatment of slaves in Suriname were not significant different as surrounding areas. Slavery in Suriname was characteristic by its sharp separation between slaves and masters. The Antillian slaves were more outspoken and enjoyed greater 'freedom' as their companions in distress in Suriname. The Suriname slavesystem with few 'freed slaves' was more closed as the Antillian system where the group of 'freed-slaves' was much larger. The closed system in Suriname had a diversification between slaves. The by far largest split was the one between house-slaves and the field-slaves. Among the hous-slaves were many mulattos, they had a better position, were better dressed and the work to be done was less heavy. Sometimes female-slaves were confidents of their mistress or concubine for the master- of-the-house. The field slaves knew a certain separation of work. They had their own foremen, the bastiaans. Possibly they were more than just a supervisor and fulfilled a priest-role in an Afro-American religion. Man and woman had different tasks and slaves with an extraordinary craftsmanship were more expensive as others. The punishment of slaves was, according de habits of that time, cruel. How often the whip was used is known from the last period of slavery in Suriname, when the owners were obliged to keep records of punishments and punishment-methods. Due to strong regulations, during the 19th century, punishment seemed to have decreased. The hardest punishment, after death-penalty, mutilation and the Spanish buck were forbidden. Slave-resistence could manifest itself on various ways. Working slower and breaking equipment were the easiest ones, suicide and running away or marronage were the ultimate ones. Uprising and open resistence pointed directly to the owners and could cause great damages. During the uprise in Berbice 1763 the entire plantation-population had to leave the colony. In Suriname one uprise occurred but marronage was practiced on a much larger scale as in the Antilles. Marronage was an act of emergency for life conditions in the surrounding jungle was very unattractive; food was difficult to find. The Marrons mostly lived not to far from a plantation so they could have regular contact with the slaves that stayed behind. The council of Suriname and the planters did all they could to capture the runaways and somstimes they even recruited indians. If the planters did not succeed soldiers from the garrison and civil vigilantes were sen t after the Marrons. Expeditions against runaways were not very succesfull and the number of Marron villages grew so fast that the government had to offer them a treaty. The first 'peace-treaty' dates from 1761 (see Albert's [History] The Ndjuka (Aukaners) from November 21). The Marron nucleous transformed themselves during the centuries to six tribes each within their own territory; the Djuka, Sarramacans, Paramaccans, Matuari , Boni and the Kwinti. Head of the tribe is the Granman, while every village has its own captain.

Church and Mission in the Colonies

Due to the distance kept by the Westindian gentlemen against their slaves there was not much effort done in order to convert slaves to the Christian religion. Colour, status and religion where too much a part of own identity to be washed away easily. The absence of an independent indigenous population gave the slavecommuities in the new world an exeptional character compared to Asia and West-Africa, where contacts with the native population was based on equality. The dark skincolour of non-European people was, during the 17th century, imputed to a stronger sun-radiation and cosmetics and was no reason for discrimination. Not the colour of the skin but slavery was the reason of discrimination, as we can conclude from descriptions of northern American Indians by chaplain Johannes Megapolensis end Adriaan van der Donk. At the first meeting colour, language and clothing attracted attention, but as soon as one was used to these qualifications hardly drew attention. A similar tone one can read in the description of the West-African populations by Pieter de Marees. Religion was the borderline between Europeans and non-western people. Religion was, more then colour, a real element of identity, and influenced the mutual relation. During day by day relations religious rituals played an important role. The dutch Protestantism in the colonies knew some curiosities that did not make it impossible to mission among heathens and members of other religions but did not encourage it either. The churches primary task was the staff of the Compagny and the clergymen played an important role in religious and social life. Preachers, visitors of the sick and deputy preachers without permission to give sacraments or to read a self written preach, kept an eye on the behaviour of the members in the community. In the Republic a strong and clear separation of church and state was in place, each active within their own field of work although there always has been a certain rivalry. The VOC payed the relative high salaries of the clergymen in Asia (including allowances some 2.400 Dutch Guilders annual). On the Antilles the WIC took care of the churches and payed the preachers, although they received considerable less as their collegues in Asia, and it was expected that the community payed a 'voluntarily' part of the salary. A preacher at Curacao in the beginning of the 18th century earned 500 Dutch Guilders per annum and had some additional emoluments. The "Societeit van Suriname" did not pay for preachers; the members of the community were responsible for that. Their income was considerably better as their collegues on the Antilles and could be compared to the salaries of the priests in Asia, however the three church es did not always have a priest. Government had a controlling function here. Society was not less international as in Willemstad, the largest group of another opinion were the Jews; they enjoyed freedom of religion, including the right of having their slaves working on Sunday. The herrnhutters took a special place in the missionary workfield among slaves, which they had started in 1735. Since they were not supported by the government they had to look after their income by working as craftsme n. They fulfilled a task that was ignored by the reformed church. When rev. Jan Willem Kals had developped a missionary plan in 1731 for the transformation of religion of slaves, he met resistance by the, planters dominated, church-council. He left, heavily desillusioned, Suriname. Another attempt , during governor Mauricius in 1751 grounded on the refusal by the slaveowners to allow missionary work among their slaves.

Commerce and science.

Two noblemen and a handfull preachers are the most famous Dutchmen who practiced or allowed scientifical research in the tropics. Nor Johan Maurits van Nassau nor Hendrik Adriaan van Reede tot Drakenstei n did any personal research. The acted as "maecenas and organiser" of large projects, which not only aimed enlargement of knowledge but targete d at being a celebrity after their death as well. Both succeeded excellentl y. Johan van Maurits as Governor of Brazil, was accompagnied by a train of scientists, painters and cartographists who aimed at all aspects of the society and natural surroundings. The painters Frans Post,


Met dank aan Albert Buys Eckhout and Zacharias Wagner immortalized Brazilian people, landscapes, animals and street-scenes. The scientist Georg Markgraf did astronomical observations for which he built an observatorium, one of the first in the New World. Next to that he practiced meteorology, cartography, flora and fauna including medicinal application of plants. Comparable work was done by the Willem Piso the Governor's personal physician. The collection curiosities, painings and descriptions as a result of thes e activities made Johan Maurits an exception among the governors and the dignitaries sent by both the VOC and the WIC. Sometimes an scientific impuls came from interested amateurs by undertaking a voyage of discovery. The drawer Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) was sent to Suriname to draw insects of Suriname and stayed for three years in the colony. She seemed not to have a special bond with the country as did the Jewish notary, coffeeplanter, physician and polyglot Davis de Is. Cohen Nassy who wrote down the history of Jews in Suriname in his 'Essai historique sur Suriname' which was printed in Amsterdam in 1789. It was an expression of the growing intellectual interest in the colony by Jewish inhabitants. A somewhat older study on Suriname "Beschryvingh van Guiana of de Wilde Kust in Zuid-Amerika" (Description of Guiana or the Wild Coast in S.A.) by President/Head Participant Jan Jacob Hartsinck was written in Amsterdam using the Societeits archives. The most impressive results from the curiousity of the new and unknown world was performed by private people. Although scientific research was not a task of the tradecompanies the have made large contributions in enlarging the knowledge of Asia, Africa and America. As a result of the secrecy the company strived to, afraid of industrial espionnage, the knowledge partly stayed an exculisve property. Cartography and knowledge of commercial affairs was for internal use only and publication was forbidden. After return of a voyage, maps had to be handed over to company-officials and itinararies were kept in the companies archives. This and other knowledge was kept within the companies bureaucracy. Affairs off less vital and important, for trade, was enthousiatically published.

From Compagnie to State, 1780-1830

"Implementing Adam Smith's liberalism in Europe during Middle Ages was as senseless as introducing reform programmes in Ceylon" wrote the British governor Maitland sarcastic to the Minister of Colonies in 1806. (A short resume of Maitlands letters dated January and June 1806 to the British Colonial office). He rejected the reforms implemented by his predecessor North. Maitland's statements describes, in a nutshell, the problems which every colonial administration was confrontated with. The reference to Adam Smit h made clear how many Europeans thought of the local society at Ceylon, Middle-aged! The idea that the west had a lead in civilization was a log ic result of that. North had implemented his ideas to extremety and had trie d to reform almost all fields of Ceylon society. The chiefs playing an important communicative role with the population had been replaced and within a few years the entire island was in revolt. Maitland had to restore order and undo the major part of the reformations. The second point deserving attention is Maitland's description of the Dut ch administration on Ceylon. Thanks to the bureaucracy the Compagnie built the basis for effective intervention in the local society and on the long run power from the Chiefs and Monarchs eroded. The revenues from the country came more and more under control of the Dutch administration and Chiefs and Kings became more dependant from the Compagnie. The position of Dutch over-sea posessions was influenced by the international relations in Europe. The Republiek had lost most of its force against France and England and played practically no role in European politics. The 4th Engilsh War (1780-1784) was a financial disaster for the VOC and lead to its ruin. The following English attacks on Dutch colonial posessions were a direct result of the French conquest of De Republiek in 1795 after whic h Holland came to a position, beside the Franch, against England. The stadtholder William V of Orange went into exile to England and from K ew in 1796 he gave orders to the colonies to put themselves under British administration. Due to this order and the British supremacy at sea all oversea-posessions of "De Bataafsche republiek" were lost. In 1811 the Dutch flag was hoisted in Deshima (Japan) and on the Goldcoast only. After Napoleon's fall in 1814 the new "Kingdom of the Netherlands" by the Convention of London, got back a part of the former posessions in the East Indies. The English kept Ceylon and the Cape Colony. In 1823 a further marking out took place in which Malakka and the Dutch trading-post in India were taken over by the British, The Indonesia n archipelago became Dutch. In the West Indies Berbice and Demarara were not incluided in the treaty but the other West-indian islands were a nd became Dutch property. Suriname came back into Dutch posession. In 1791 the WIC mandate ended. The results were so negative that abolitio n by de "Heren X" (the Lords 10) was decided and take-over by the state was adviced. In 1789 deficit reached over 6 million DG. From the P&L statemen ts of the company an average loss of 54.000 DG per annum was calculated from 1770-1778. Especially the years after 1780 were desastreous and average results over the years 1770-1789 was a yearly loss of 85.000 DG In 1796 four years before the mandate ended the VOC, with a debt of 134 million Dutch Guilders, ended as inglourius as the WIC did. So the years 90 experienced the end of "Het Compagnie-stelsel" (the company system) and the take over by the state meant that the colonies no longer were exploited as posessions of a trade company but that they would be administered as part of the state.

Exploitation and consolidation , 1830 - 1870

Willem l, in 1815 had outspoken his expectations that the colonies would, in short time, enlarge the prosperity of the motherland. The influential Muntinghe in 1824 said it more clear: colonial posessions that could not come up for itselve could better be disposed of. In the 19th century the opinion was, that colonial properties should contribute to the treasury. Of course a proper administration for the colonies and its subjects shoul d be done but the bad economical Dutch situation after the Frech time and the high national debt made the gouvernment look foreward to methods to improve that situation. The economical situation of the West Indian islands was, due to abolition of slavery, bad. In 1816 it was estimated that the Kingdom of the Nether lands would have to contribute a yearly 700.000 Dutch Guilders t balance the bu dget. The king would not implement a self-gouvernment for the West-Indies and "Goeverneurs" were appointed. In 1827 General Johannes Graaf van den Bos ch was sent to the West to prepare proposals for a more efficient and econom ical administration. The reorganisation of the West was, on paper, a succes. The gouvernment o f the Antilles and Suriname was united; the head-seat of the "Goeverneur'Ge neraal" was in Parimaribo as was the administration of justice. The calculated ou tlook by Van den Bosch predicted a surplus but in retrospect it was a failure. T he economical stagnation could also be seen by the growth of the population. Between 18 16, when the total Antillian population was an estimated 17.000 and 1850 there was little difference. Thanks to reorganization and ecomomization the cost of admini stration could be reduced but despite this the years between 1883 and 1894 were th e only profitable ones for the Antilles. Suriname was not a joy-giving situatio for the administration. As befor 1 800 the taxes in the colony were insufficient to pay for administration and defense. Re gular subventions from the motherland were necessary and for as far as we know only the years between 1790-1794 and 1829-1834 showed a positive result. The other budget years were closed with regular rising deficits, in the period 1860-1863 the average was as high as 638.577 DG per annum. For the planters the situation was quite different. Contrary to the regul ar idea, we learned from recent investigations, that the Surinamese planters situation showed much more dynamics as it has been ascribed. The development of Surinamese plantatio ns did not differ much from the other ones in the Caribic but the policy from ma ny planters was to survive on long term. The number of plantations decreased between 1750 - 1862 from 141 to 86 but despite this the cultivated area remained the same. Pr oduction raised from 9 to 17 million tons, with the same labourforce. The pressure on innovation can be seen by the investments in (steam) machinery and metal equipment. Besides that more attention was given to the slave labour-force. Better m edical care. better nourishment and a more "meet half way" attitude of the masters red uced mortality numbers. However the natural growth of the population was not e nough to stop the downfall. The number of slaves, 48.155 in 1795 ran down to 36.4 84 in 1862, in the mean time the number of "free" rose from 4.953 to 16.479 mainly in Parimaribo.

Abolition of slavery

In 1854 some 60.000 slaves lived in the Dutch colonies; 38.500 in Surinam e 10.000 on the Antilles and approximately 12.000 in Indie. The last number was a part of the 30.000 slaves from the beginning of the century. Slavery at Java was an ending story, many slaveowners had freed their slaves voluntarily. In the West Indian territory Sint Maarten was the only island were in 184 8 slavery was abolished. Maintaining slavery on the half French half Dutch Island w as extremely difficult since the French had decided to stop slavery on their territory . In 1863 slavery was abolished in all Dutch posessions. This was late comp ared to England (1833) and France (1848). A regular returning question was th e profitability on slave labour, were not free labourers cheaper and did Ho lland keep alive unnecessary an uneconomical and cruel inhumane system? Johannes van den Bosch in 1829 had come to the conclusion that Suriname, since 1816 exported a yearly average of 6.5 million DG of products to the dome stic market. This was an average of 153 DG per slave per annum, of course this was gro ss profit only. According to more recent calculations by A. van Stipriaan we can assume that during these years both in sugar- and in coffecultures the profit on slaves, in relation to the interest-rate was higher. The high prices of slaves after the trade abolition forced the entrepeneu rs to efficiency and innovation. As a result of lower world market prices and the necessit y to invest in machinery, profitability in sugar- and coffeecultures decreased and p ay-back on loans was difficult. Around 1850 the marketsituation improved, but co ffee culture did not as well as sugar. Although not all information is availab le to calculate a proper "return on investment" for the Surinamese plantations during the slave-system, it is obvious that this system for the sugarcompanies worked quite good. The planters were shocked by the outlook of losing their labourforces and did not see an alternative. The decision for abolition was taken in the Netherlan ds but planters interests played a role, as the question did how and by whom fin ancing the freedom should be done, for it meant a great financial loss for the indiv idual slaveholder. In the political climate of those times it was not a matter of course tha t the authorities that decided for abolition would carry the cost of it. Slavery in Holland played almost no role in the public debate as it did in England and France; the publics knowledge of the matter was to low. Slavery in Suriname became an immediate problem in 1834 when England free d all slaves in the neighbouring British-Guyana and the first reaction to this was the decission to improve living conditions for the slaves. Minister of colonial affairs Baud (1840-1848) in 1841 declared on behalf of the Dutch government to strive for slave em ancipation in the entire Kingdom and colonies. Slavery was abolished on Juli 1st of 1863 when an interim period of 10 years started and the slaves were under state sup ervision. In those 10 years the former slave should be educated to civilianship an d as a part of the emancipation slaves got family-names. Under the freed slaves a movement to plantations closer to Paramaribo sta rted and the part of the population living in the city rose from 37% to 42%. Befor e the year 1873 77 plantations were abandonned and after the last day of state-supervisio n on June 30, 1873 an exodus of former slaves took place and before the end of the year 25% of the plantationworkers had quit their job. In 1876 some 8.864 lived on plantations and in this year compulsary education for children from 7 - 12 years was implemented the official language was Dutch.

Alternative labourforces

With the abolition of the slavesystem the Suriname-problem came up. Among leading circels, both in Suriname and the motherland, the idea that the welfare in Suriname was connected with the situation in and the size of agriculturebusiness, was manifest. The destiny of agriculture was dir ect related to the presence of sufficient labourforces and not everybody had confiden ce in the continuity of the sugarindustry. Many entrepeneurs choose the certain way in 1864, they cashed the compensation for their slaves, sold the pla ntation and left for Holland. Despite this there was no direct decrease of value for the plantations, the number slowly went down; from the 87 sugarcompanies in 1860 only 7 were present at the beginning of the 20th century. Productionnumbers remained the same although profit decreased due to lower worldmarket prices. In the same time a shift from large scale to smaller scale agriculture in dustries took place and new products replaced the old ones. Cocoa culture has a strong growth after 1870, often grown in smaller entreprises runned by fo rmer slaves. Cotton, rice and bacove were specific for small agri-business and new f orms of activities came up and got down. Gold-seekers, balata-tappers and timbere xport became more important. Cocoa and gold were the main export products betwe en 1880-1900 (two-thirds of total export value). Balata had an enormeous inc rease until WW 1. Around 1900 the large scale agricultural enteprise had had its time, which lead to a change in policy. De "Staten van Suriname" (administratio n) were dominated by the plantersclass and it was their opinion that the setback was caused by a shortage of labourforce. The first tests with immigration of free workers from China and Madeira came after similar experiments in other places in the Caribic. These attempts had li ttle succes and did not bring in the expected large number of newcomers. The Chinese choose, after serving their contract, often for retail- or small scale agribusiness and besides that the Chinese and Portuguese authorities stopped the emigration of their citizens. An escape was found in migration from British-India after 1873. An AgentGeneraal was appointed who had to look, in coordination with a representative from the British government, after the interests of the migrants. The "koelies", as they were called, signed a five-year work contract in Suriname and had a "free-ticket-back -right" when the contract was finished. The contracted had right of housing, medical c are, water and a piece of land for personal agri use. A hiring organisation was set up in India in order to hire sufficient and qualified labourers. The for Suriname con tracted people mainly came from the United Provinces and Bihar and their reasons for dep arture were poverty, bad relations with the family and other social problems. In the begin years the disappointment due to poor livingconditions and so cial problems often caused resistance and conflicts. Both the planters and the contracted had to get used to each other. Between 1873 and the end of hiring in 191 6 some 34.024 Indians left their country and appr. one/third of the contracted t ook the opportunity to go back, the others found a new existence in Suriname. In 1927 the "Hindoestanen" lost their migrant status and became Dutch subjects. The second group of migrants were the "Javanese". The hiring procedure was the same as were the working conditions. In total 33.012 Javanese came to Sur iname of which 8.441 returned to Java after finishing the conract. The Javanese were more compliant as the "Hindoestanen" and their stay on the plantations was lon ger. The unfavourable mix between the sexes caused tensions and many conflicts . The growth of this group therefore was less than the other one. Due to this "temporary migration" Suriname, in a few decades, had changed from a slave society to a multi racial society. In 1930 the total country popu lation was 116.480 inhabitants of which; 44.7% Creole, 26.9% Hindustan , 23.1% J avanese. The Europeans were less than 1% and the number of Bush-African-Surinamese and Indians is unknown.

From imperialism to nationalism 1870-1940

The sub-title "Onze West" (our West) by the pictures in the fotoalbum Onz e West over Suriname and the Dutch Antilles issued in 1917 gave the impression o f peace and kind-heartedness. The tone was friendly lecturing. With a certa in distance it told us that the Javanese immigrants showed themselves to be quiet and usefull citizens within their new environment. The authors show ed a bit more of their opinion at the moment where they told us that there we re "even" some half-Chinese and British-Indians among the policeforce. From the uniform of a "kapitein" the remark was that the stars on the coat were made of goldpaper. The distance between the colony and the Dutch establishment was hereby unwittingly given. It is understandable that whe n the book was issued, under the picture of the building from "Koloniale Staten " there was no explanation how the members were choosen, not even in Holland a universal right to vote existed. The West Indian colonies had since the 19th century representative organi sations, the "Staten van Suriname" existed of thirteen members four of them were a ppointed by the governor (mostly civil servants). In 1901 the the appointed member s of the council disappeared and from that day on all members were chosen (consens us suffrage). The authority to settle internal affairs was enlarged with the exception of state-budget, tax regulations and the issue of crown land. In 1922 the authority of the Colonial states was enlarged and the Dutch p osessions were imbedded in the Constitution and became a part of the Kingdom. In 1937 a State assembly was appointed by elections according to a syst em that was a combination of concensus- and capacitysuffrage. Those who had not p ayed enough taxes could be nominated on a certain degree of education. The mem bers appointed by the Govervor was reinstalled thus enabling a vote to minorit ies who would never be able to get a seat in the assembly. The position of the Governor was s trenghtened by giving him authority to cease laws and regulations to be in operation if the situation demanded so. Like in previous years budget affair remained under control of the Netherlands parliament. This half-hearted position was a source of irrit ation and friction. In Suriname the idea had taken place that the Motherland would not listen to the Assembly The peace and quiet as shown on old Surinamese photographs often was deceptive.

In Suriname the idea had taken place that the Motherland would not listen to the Assembly The peace and quiet as shown on old Surinamese photographs often was deceptive. In Suriname the idea had taken place that the Motherland would not listen to the Assembly. The peace and quiet as shown on old Surinamese photographs often was deceptive. Under the surface racial, political and economical tensions existed and could come up at special occasions. The position of reluctancy of the Dutch government, the strong control over financial affairs and the arrogant attitude of some governor s led to collisions between "De Staten" and the "Goeverneur". The Assembly often was very critically espescially if the interest of "country-children" for nomination in high ranking positions was at stake. On practically all matters of importance there were different ideas. A conflict between governor jhr. M.A. de Savornin Lohman (1881-1891) and the Assembly turned into riots and looting of houses of the higher classes. For the Dutch government this was a reason to enlarge the authority from the Governor towards the Assembly. Besides conflicts between governor and the Assembly there were conflicts of interest between the governor and the government at The Hague mostly on issues to improve the bad situation in Suriname. Step by step political live in Surinam was build up and by shortage of other possibilities to express themselves the influence of the press as speaking-tube for criticasters was larger as in other places of the Kingdom. In 1908 the first electoral associations were erected for the nomination of candidates for the Assembly. Soon the association: "Eendracht maakt Macht" (Union makes power), under social-democrat influence, was t he largest. But untill 1940 no political parties existed . Due to the small number of entiteld voters in the beginning of this century, the interests of the planters overclassed the Assembly untill 1910. After that period representatives of the Middle Classes appeared, among which journalists and school-masters, and they took over "Eendracht maakt Macht" but disappeared in the mid twenties thanks to internal troubles. Untill WW-2 the Creoles , the Hindustanen and the Javanese hardly participated in political life. For the Javanese this was a result from their isolated position as plantation-workers and for the Hindustans the fact that until l 1927 they were British-Indian subjects was the reason. In the thirties various political, social and economical tensions had a burst-out. The crisis had caused great unemployment even enlarged by the return of Surinamers w ho had worked in the oil-industry at Curacao. The government, with a policy of strictly economising, did almost nothing to improve the situation, poverty was wide-spread and even starvation existed and in 1931 the general unsatisfaction exploded. Among the returners from Curacao there were some with socialistic and communist sympathies and founded an organisation for unemployed the "Surinaamse Volksbond". One of the meetings got out-of-hand and ended in a fight with the police and looting of shops and markets. With hard hands order was restored and as the government had forbidden the SVB the SAWO was founded (Surinaamse Algemene Werkers Organisatie - Suriname General Workers Organisation) which was the first Union in Suriname being zealous for minimum wages, 8-hour labour day and social securities. The case "De Kom" came to burst-out in 1933 and should be seen against th e same background of poverness and unsatisfation, however the supporters were different from the earlier movement (See Albert's postings on Anton de Kom). When De Kom was sent back to Holland the government's control on Javanese and Hindustan organisations was enlarged and governor A.A.L. Rutgers (1929-1933) implemented 4 anti-revolutionar regulations by law that gave the governme nt the possibility to act against anti-state crimes. Freedom of union and meeting, freedom o f the press, and allowing printings from outside to come in was reduced. The motivatio n for these harsh measures was the fear that communists could take over Suriname. Rutgers was succeeded by J.C. Kielstra a man with great intelectual-, management- and governamental capabilities and a large colonial experience brought in from Indonesia. He governed Surimane from 1933 till 1944 a period in which he drew a lot of attention by his attempts to better organise the fit-in of the Asiatic communities and his policy during WW-2 For the Creole community the Kielstra-period was, on many items, a difficult one; their professional possibilities and their identity was at stake. The governor, with his arrogant and detached attitude did not make it easier for them and for this he regularly had collisions with the Assembly. In more then one occasion Kielstra used his power give n to him by the special regulations and measures were taken outside the Assembly. The conflict escalated during WW-2.

World War-II

When WW-II started in Europe the Gouverneur took firm action to strengthen de defense of Surinam. Compulsary military service was implemented and the army was enlarged to 5.000. Being the governor, Kielstra was head or the army as well. Germans and other suspected persons, like NSB members (Dutch pro German Nationaal Socialistische Beweging party) and left wing supporters were placed in internment-camps. Suriname was directly involved in the War by German Sub-marine activities in the Caribic and the American fear of a German occupation of the Bauxiet-mines. Suriname supplied the major part of Bauxiet used by American aircraft industry. The Dutch government was put under pressure to allow American troops being based in Suriname. Kielstra had problems with this, fearing that the autonomy of the country could be jeopardized and he had good reasons for that. Dissatisfied oppositional groups twice had taken action, with the full knowledge of the American Commander, to dismiss him from his function. The repression of the Creols was not forgotten. There was no wide-spread anti Dutch attitude but to prevent these affaires coming-out in the world Kielstra was replaced in 1944. The strong economical impulses for the Antilles and Suriname were not a result of Government actions but were triggered by the discovery of minerals like oil in Venezuela and Bauxiet in Suriname. Venezuela had nout enough deep-waters for large crude-oil carriers and Curacao was in a good geographical position. The Surinamese economy had a short uplift in the beginning of the 20th century thanks to gold and balata but kept being problematic during the 20-s and 30-s. The percentage of agricultural export decreased to 7% but the part of bauxiet increased substantial. With a relative small labourforce the industry took 80% of total-export in 1940. Thanks to the revenue on this product the Surinames government was able to close the budget-years with a positive balance.

The road to Independence

The deep impression, caused by the War, on political and social life in Indonesia, was not present in Surinam. The great attachment to the House of Orange was shown during the visits, by members of the Royal House, at the West. There were signals however, that not everybody accepted that relation with the Netherlands. The moderate political formation by most of the "Statenleden" in pre-war years was e reflection of the political inactivity in Suriname. The census-suffrage excluded the majority of the population. Active-suffrage for woman did not exist. The edition of most publications was limited. During the war censorship was added so not everything could be published. Unions were erected in the 30-s and during the war they had a moderate position. The political conflicts between Kielstra and the Staten primarily had impact on the Creole top-layer and coloureds whom felt discriminated. The announcement of a stateconference in which all parts of the Kingdom should participate had no effect as, due to War conditions, no delegation was appointed. Both the Atlantic Charter and the speech of Queen Wilhelmina on December 6, 1942 was a reason for de Staten to claim more independence. The most outspoken member, the teacher W. Bos Verschuur, even spoke out for full independence from The Netherlands. Others supported a closer cooperation with Caribic and South-American countries in the area. Different members rejected a division by ethnic groups and wanted to create a new Unity as citizens of Suriname loose from Dutch tutelage. In all parts of the West Indian territory, at the end of the War there was a strong call for autonomy. Beside to that one was very disapointed when the Dutch government gave more attention to the unrest in Indonesia as to the wishes of the people in the West who had remained faithfull. This led to a delegation to The Netherlands in 1946 to plea for autonomy. They had little succes in Tha Hague. The Netherlands had the plan to come to new structures in all parts of the Kingdom but the autonomy-thought had a positive effect on political activities. New political parties were erected, for the Creoles the PSV, The Hindustans the VHP and the Javanese the KPTI. General right of suffrage was implemented in the Round Table Conference in 1948 of which two more followed in 1952 and 1954 agreeing on a comprehensive settlement for rules regarding mutual relationship of equal partners within the Kingdom on matters of internal affairs. Foreign affairs, defense, maintaining Human Rights, legal security and virtue of administration remained a central - all other matters were a local responsibility. With this "Statuut" a federal structure was created for all parts of the Kingdom oversae and the former colonial relation was the main affiliation.

Independence achieved With the "Statuut" a federal structure was created for all parts of the Kingdom overseas and the former colonial relation was the main affiliation but nor on economical nor on political area's were much points of contact. On the longer term the "Statuut" squeezed and Suriname wanted more "space". The Creoles in 1950 formed a minority but with 40% of the population they were the largest ethnic group. Therefore during preparation of the general suffrage right, proportional representation was not implemented. The decission was taken for a mix of a district system giving possibilities for proportional representatives within the electorial districts. But the allotments of seats within the districts however was such that the Creole-parties had a majority in the "Staten". Hindustans and Javanese were underrepresented. At the first elections in 1949 the NPS with 32% of the votes achieved 62% of the seats which was almost twice the number of the Asiatic groups together. This election-system, despite later alterations, has strengthened the ethnic segmentation of Suriname. The overwhelming position of the NPS did not lead to autocracy, contradistinctions within the party between the lighter coloured elite and the darker coloured classe of the people promoted the rapproachment of the Hindustan leader Lachmon and the Creole "unionman" Jopie Pengel. Pengel and Lachmon worked closely together and in 1958 they won the elections. They pushed their mark of fraternization on Surinamese politics untill 1967. The ethnical lines in politics forced every political party to be successfull and unite people of all social layers of the own group. The leader sets the tone, mostly more balanced on sentiments as on pragmatical reasons. Under Pengel the system of "Patronage" reached enormeous heights: in the year 1963 some 63% of civil servants were Creoles to 20% Hindustans and 10% Javanese. This extraordinary form of labour-procurement was enabled by both taxing foreign companies in the Bauxiet industry and Dutch development aid. The resistence to the Pengel policy came from young Creoles who wanted to sail a more international course and as a result of that Pengel adopted their views pushed for independence and took a more firm line to the international Bauxiet - industry. Lachmons problem was a decreasing sense of confidence by his supporters to their underrepresen- tation in government. Next to that corruption was rampant there. For the 1967 elections the division of "seats" and the district-system was altered. Despite the growing opposition NPS and VHP remained in power but cooperation broke up as Lachmon claimed an extra minister-position for his party which sharpened ehtnical contrasts. Pengel had to cooperate with his political opponents, lost his grip on the Creole community and a strike organsised by "De Moederbond" caused his step-down. Shortly whereafter he died in 1970 thus making the road free for younger more natinalistic Creoles. In the NPS Henk Arron took the lead and Eddy Bruna was the man in the PNR. An investigation brought up a serious fraude with the register of voters thus advantaging NPS members. The VHP won the 1969 elections but Lachmon gave, as a gesture of reconcilliation, the function of Prime minister to the Creole Sedney, one of the PNP founders. The new cabinet tried to create a larger share, for Suriname, in the profit of the large companies by joint-venturing and the bringin in of tax-money by the authorities which brought no advantage as they had to share the losses as well. The cabinet stumbeled over a new strike-wave in 1973. New elections brought a coalition of different Creole and a Javanese party (NPK) to power with Henk Arron, an advocate of independence, as Prime-Minister. The Hindustan population feared an overruling by Creoles and migration to Holland started. The Dutch Government under the Socialistic Prime-minister Den Uyl did'nt want to be involved in colonial adventures, and the mistakes made in Indonesia, by sticking to colonial traditions, should be avoided. Next to that a growing anxiety for the increasing immigration from Suriname was present. In order to agree with all parties the Dutch government obliged itself to great financial concessions. Over 3 billion DG development aid was promised and a financial support for the development of West-Suiriname was agreed. The Dutch Parliament demanded a two/third majority for independence thus forcing Arron to cooperate with Lachmon and agree on the terms. On november 25, 1975 Suriname became independent. In the foregoing months there were periods of great agitation and even incendiarism in Paramaribo, the independence festivities however passed off quietly.

A historical and political analysis by A.J. Heideman









suriname . NU  naar boven



Ontwerp © Webteam ANDA Suriname - Afdeling Nederland - Telefoon   06 1998 7075
Last update: