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"The Berbice Rebellion" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2023 8:45 p.m. PST

"You are not alone in not having heard of the Berbice slave rebellion. Marjoleine Kars was herself unaware of it until she chanced upon hundreds of pages of reports, interrogations and copies of letters written in Old Dutch by self-liberated former bondspeople, held in the Netherlands' National Archives in The Hague. The resulting book is a model for how academic history can reach a wide audience, a narrative-driven work which presents pioneering archival scholarship in which we can hear the voices of the enslaved protagonists.


The colony of Berbice was situated on the coastal plain where the Berbice, Demerara and Essequibo Rivers meet the Caribbean Sea in what is now Guyana. Before 1763 Berbice had a population of between 4,200 and 5,000 enslaved people, 300 indigenous people and 350 Europeans. It was the possession of the SociŽteit van Berbice, a private company under the sovereignty of the Dutch Republic, until it became a British colony in 1815. In 1763 thousands of enslaved men and women fought off the Dutch and their European allies for nearly a year. Their stories have remained largely hidden until now…"


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