"Verhandlingen over den Landbouw in de Colonie Suriname".
Subject: [History, Agriculture] The Plantation, A Book for Dummies
In todays world Anthony Blom's book could be classified as 'The Plantation, a Book for Dummies' as the popular books are called now.
In the 18th century, Anthony Blom explains in detail the lay-out of a plantation in his book "Verhandlingen over den Landbouw in de Colonie Suriname".
He suggests you start your plantation at the end of July as there are fewer rainy days and the ground water level in the jungle begins to recede. Then begin to clear all the under brush and cut down all small trees first and afterwards you clear the big trees. All is done with sharp axes. The under brush, branches and trees are placed on piles and burnt. The bigger trees and trunks will survive the fire and can be used later for fire wood or left on the soil to rot and decompose. Four weeks later one starts digging an earth wall (dijk or dam) around the to be cultivated area. Ditches are needed to channel the rain water during the rainy season. Thus a knowledge of hydraulic engineering is a must.
Top soil and peatmoss are also used to prepare the land for cultivation. When the little (kleine) rain season begins one starts to plant: bananas, 'tajer', corn, wheat etc. Most of these crops are for local consumption.
Each plantation is located near the river or creek. The plantation house for the owner or platation director stands near the water and behind it are the other buildings located. Sluices are part of the plantation system as they control the drainage of water and ground water level of the plantation. Most sluices are made from brick and often carry a tile with an inscription of the sluice builder or the name of the plantation owner. A comon sluice builder name in the years 1820-1830 was 'C. Paardekooper'.
Anthony Blom also has computed in his book how much it costs to have a sugar plantation of 1636 'akkers' (430ha=1000 akkers). He estimates the cost of a plantation to be f208,700 and gives a breakdown of his estimate. Real estate/ buildings.......f90,300 232 slaves @ f500............f 116,000 infirmary....................f300 furniture, boats, tools......f 2,100
Many black and white photographs of plantation homes can be found in: De Architektuur van Suriname, C.L. Temminck Groll, A.R.H. Tjin a Djie, De Walburg Pers, Zutphen, 1973 ISBN 906011.441.8
Many sketches and drawings of plantation homes can be found in: Bouwkunst in Suriname, Ir. J.L. Volders, Kersten Co, 1973 No ISBN
Met dank aan Albert Buys