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Suriname Old History

 

Current Surinam came under Dutch rule in 1667. During the following centuries plantation work was based on imports of slaves from West Africa, then contract workers from northern India and Java. After the Second World War, a liberation process began, leading to independence in 1975.

People may have existed in Suriname already 10,000 years ago. From around 1000 BC the inhabitants grew maize and manioc alongside hunting and fishing. The Spaniards landed on the coast in 1499, and later the Dutch built trading stations. However, the first colony was founded in 1651, near the present Paramaribo, by British sugar growers who brought their slaves from Barbados. The British state changed this colony to the Netherlands in 1677. In return, Britain gained a small area in North America called Nieuw Amsterdam (today New York).

  • AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Suriname, covering history, economy, and social conditions.

The colony now called Dutch (Dutch) Guyana would remain under Dutch rule for 300 years, with the exception of brief periods in the context of the Napoleonic Wars.

Dutch settlers built sugar and cotton plantations, and from the 18th century cocoa and coffee were also grown. Between 1650 and 1820, some 300,000 slaves from West Africa were introduced. Some did, however, enter the rainforest where they organized their own communities. Around 1728, escaped slaves, maroons, who attacked plantations and colonial authorities were reported. After unsuccessful attempts to subdue the Maroons, the Dutch in 1761 entered into an agreement with them. The Maroons were given autonomy and the right to annual arms deliveries. In return, they promised to start returning escaped slaves who wanted to join them and not to appear in Paramaribo in armed groups of more than six.

Old History of Suriname

Workers are imported

The abolition of slavery in British and French Guiana led to unrest among the slave population in Dutch Guiana. In 1863, the Dutch were also forced to ban slavery. Portuguese from Madeira and Chinese had already been recruited as so-called contract workers, and now the plantations began to import large numbers of workers from India and Java to replace freed slaves who relinquished to cities and mining communities. When the workers completed their contract period, they could choose between a small piece of land and a return ticket to their home country, and Indians and Javanese therefore came much later to own most of the cultivated land.

Another group was Southern European Jews who came via Brazil. In the 19th century, one-third of all whites in Dutch Guiana were Jews. They were given a prominent role in the agriculture, trade and banking sectors.

The importance of agriculture declined in the early 1900s, and the main export product instead became aluminum. After the Second World War, the various ethnic groups began to form political parties in what was now called Surinam. In 1948, general voting rights were introduced and in 1954 internal self-government. Coalitions between Creole and Indian parties ruled during the 1960s. Many Creoles demanded full independence, while others, especially Asians, feared economic and ethnic divisions. The unrest caused about 40 percent of the population to emigrate to the Netherlands just before independence in 1975.

 
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