Inter-cultural Trade and the Sephardim, 1595-1640
Choosing Family, Friends, and Familiarity over Freedom in the Leeward Islands, 1835–1863
Jessica V. Roitman
Planters and colonial officials throughout the Caribbean feared the consequences of emancipation in the nineteenth century, especially after the British abolished slavery in 1834. Concerns were particularly strong among the planters and colonial officials of the Dutch Leeward islands of St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius, as their geographical location left them vulnerable to the decisions of neighboring imperial powers. As early as 1825, when British law prohibited the extradition of foreign runaway slaves from their colonies, freedom was just a short boat ride away for the enslaved population of the Dutch islands, leading to worries that their islands would quickly become depopulated of their laborers. These fears were ultimately unfounded, however. As this article shows, the majority of slaves of the Dutch Leeward islands chose to either stay home or, after sojourning in another place, decided to return to their homes.
Jessica Vance Roitman
Oppression, exclusion, and alliance are themes common in frontier zones like Suriname where cultures come into contact, collide, and connect. This article shows how Suriname functioned as a frontier not only between European empires but also between cultures and peoples. The meetings, clashes, and exchanges between Jews and Amerindians are a lens through which to analyze this zone of encounter. This relationship also illustrates the dynamics at play on the frontiers of nation and empire. These are places where peoples who are “in between” such as the Portuguese Jews and Amerindians broker between two cultures and two worldviews.