Zes Jaren in Suriname, 1836-1842, A.Kappler,Walburg pers, Zutphen, 1983. With intro Ir. F.C. Bubberman. ISBN:906011.239.3 Reprinted at Suralco request.
Subject: [History,Agriculture] Life on the Plantation -1836-1842-(part 2)
Between 1836-1842, about 1000 Europeans lived on the plantations and there were at least 40,000 slaves. At this time, no more slaves were brought in from Africa as the plantation owners preferred Creoles born in Suriname.
The slaves were classified into four groups: (1) field slaves, (2) house/domestic slaves, (3) Creoles- small slave children, (4) elderly slaves who no longer worked.
A plantation owner who owned 200 slaves could call himself fortunate if he possessed at least 75-80 field slaves. The field slaves did all the heavy work while the domestic slaves did very little more than: cooking, washing the laundry, sewing etc. Some of the male domestic slaves were given the job of hunter, fisherman and gardner. Female domestic slaves took also care of the pigs, cows and chickens. An elderly slave guards the kitchen garden (kost grond).
Field slaves work 9 hrs daily and they begin their work in the fields at 6 or 7 AM and do not return until late in the afternoon. No slaves work on sunday. If a slave works on sunday he/she is given a day off during the week. The food which all slaves received was controlled by law and the colonial government. Each Sunday they receive two stalks of bananas, and 3 lbs salted fish. Adult slaves received in addition some tobacco, pipes and a glass of rum a day. The women received one glass of 'melasse' a day. Each slave family also received clothing and cooking utensils which mostly were ordered from Holland.
At this time, every two months or so Moravians or missionaries arrived from Paramaribo at the plantations to teach the slave children. They read the bible also. These visitors were received with mixed feelings on the one hand they were welcome but on the other hand it may interrupt the work schedule at the plantation. The plantation owners or directors did not say this openly. The effect of these visits on the slaves were minimal as they were infrequent visits and the language of the Christian teachings was foreign to the slaves and much was therefore not understood by them.
Boredom on the plantations was sometimes interrupted by private parties even among the slaves as they made music on their drums and it was time to dance ('benen los gooien') until late at night. The biggest dance was given by the director on new years day for his invited guests to close the old year and welcome the new year. --------end--------
Met dank aan Albert Buys