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History Of Slavery In Surinam Essay

1001 words - 5 pages

In the 17th century, more precisely in 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch colonized Surinam. With the gain of Surinam, the Dutch viewed the new colony as a chance to prosper and gain an abundance of wealth through utilizing the land as plantations; with the establishment of plantations came the prominence of slavery in Surinam.
Settling in Surinam wasn’t a particularly glamorous prospect; while the impending possibility of becoming wealthy was there, settlers were often bribed and persuaded to land in Surinam by the WIC with the exemption of taxes for a set number of years and the necessities for turning their land into plantations. Other provisions were also outlined in a ...view middle of the document...

And due to being overworked because of lack of slave help on plantations, many sugar plantations lost the majority of their slaves due to exhaustion, disease, and starvation. Starting around the 1690’s, the WIC was pressed by the Dutch leaders of Suriname to import at least 2000 slaves per year in order to fulfill the demands of plantation owners; while it is reported that from 1630 to 1795 Dutch slavers moved over 475,000 slaves, during this time of the shortage of slaves it had been reported that in 15 years only 24 ships of slaves had arrived in Surinam to supply the colony.
In Surinam, it was typical for plantation owners to hold an equivalent number of slaves and acres of plantation; if one sugar plantation had three hundred acres of land able to be cultivated, the owner would start out with three hundred slaves. Once the plantation began to flourish, however, plantation owners often require more and more work from their slaves, often having one slave per every two acres. Due to being overworked because of lack of slave help, many slaves died on sugar plantations due to exhaustion, disease, and lack of food. With the low supply of new blacks coming into Surinam via the WIC, the death of each slave on a plantation added pressure to perform to the other slaves, in turn driving the cycle of overworking and ultimately death.
On WIC slave trade boats, capacity for slave cargo was typically around 350-500 slaves; oftentimes boats would arrive in Surinam with little over 150. On the vessels, many precautions were taken to ensure the health and overall wellbeing of the slaves and ultimately, the arrival of as many slaves in the ports as possible. WIC commissioner Jan Wils wrote of the conditions in which slaves were expected to meet while on the passage to the ports, including giving up...

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