A major task in rethinking the situation of Maroons in Guyane (French Guiana) 15 years after Sally Price and I first published Les Marrons (R. & S. Price 2003) 1 has been to pinpoint demographic change. For a new edition of that book scheduled for 2019, we have drawn on many months of fieldwork
A little over a decade ago, I published detailed estimates of Maroon population figures, including rough geographical distributions (Price 2002 ). They were summarized in the following table and accompanying note.
Table 1 .
2002 Population Figures*
* For the Ndyuka, “Suriname
Then and Now … for Maroons, for Anthropologists In the fifty years since RP and I have been learning and writing about the history and culture of the Suriname Maroons, increased contact between the villages of the interior and the towns on the coast—by both Maroons and non-Maroons—has led to the
. Although these assumptions may have come under sustained critique over recent decades, the study of some subjects still seems to resist coming to terms with the epistemological orientation that invented them. Studies of Maroon populations settled in the forests and cities of Suriname and French Guiana is
From the early eighteenth century, the Maroons, runaways from British colonial slavery in Jamaica, were perceived as freedom fighters. They won concessions from the British military in a historic treaty of 1738, but they have a chequered history because of the role they played in
The Suriname Maroons Suriname was an English colony (1650–1667) before it passed into Dutch hands. Its agricultural regime was built on the labor of African slaves with sugar as its main cash crop. The colony became notorious for forcing these Africans to work long hours under inhumane conditions
Maroon Cosmopolitics: Personhood, Creativity and Incorporation sheds further light on the contemporary modes of Maroon circulation and presence in Suriname and in the French Guiana. The contributors assembled in the volume look to describe Maroon ways of inhabiting, transforming and circulating through different localities in the Guianas, as well as their modes of creating and incorporating knowledge and artefacts into their social relations and spaces. By bringing together authors with diverse perspectives on the situation of the Guianese Maroon at the twenty-first century, the volume contributes to the anthropological literature on Maroon societies, providing ethnographic, and historical depth and legitimacy to the contemporary lives of the descendants of those who fled from slavery in the Americas.
Maroons in Suriname and French Guiana was estimated to be 40,000, with almost all of them residing in the traditional Maroon territories of the interior (R. Price 1976 :3–4). Today, these peoples number some 210,000 and fewer than half live where they (or their ancestors) once did, the others being
In 2011 verscheen
Een zwarte vrijstaat in Suriname; De Okaanse samenleving in de 18e eeuw. Het vertelt de geschiedenis van slaven die in de achttiende eeuw de plantages ontvluchtten om diep in het regenwoud, in het zuidoosten van Suriname, een nieuwe samenleving op te bouwen. Deze Marrons, zoals de ontsnapte slaven werden genoemd, sloten in 1760 een vredesverdrag met de planters. Zij noemden zich Okanisi. Hier, in dit tweede deel van deze historie, wordt verslag gedaan van de gebeurtenissen zoals die zich na 1800 afspeelden in de onafhankelijke gemeenschappen van Okaanse Marrons. Het is een bewogen geschiedenis van profetische bewegingen, heksenvervolgingen, en de opkomst van een eigen, inheemse, kerk. Al deze voor buitenstaanders exotische gebeurtenissen speelden zich af in een samenleving die hecht was geïntegreerd in het economische leven van de Guiana’s. In de twintigste eeuw vinden de eerste grote botsingen plaats tussen de Okanisi en het koloniale en postkoloniale bestuur van Suriname. Soms ging het om een staking die het economische leven van de kolonie dreigde te verlammen; later, eind jaren tachtig, toen Suriname onafhankelijk was, zorgde de opstand van enkele honderden Okaanse jongeren, en de gedoogsteun van de bevolking, voor een kritieke situatie in de jonge republiek. In deze eeuw zijn het voornamelijk conflicten over het behoud van het oude grondgebied, en zijn natuurlijke hulpbronnen, die de oude vrijstaat bedreigen.
Een zwarte vrijstaat in Suriname, deel 2, Van Wetering and Thoden van Velzen relate the history of the Okanisi after their successful escape into the South American rainforest and the signing of a peace treaty with Dutch planters in 1760.
Following Part 1, which deals with their struggle for freedom, this volume describes the emergence of an autonomous Okanisi Maroon state; its integration into the economic life of the Guiana’s, but also its internal development, as it manifested itself through prophetic movements, anti-witchcraft purges and the rise of a native church. Predominantly based on oral sources, this book charts a previously undocumented history and provides a unique insight into a culture emerging from the roots of slavery.
The area along the Lawa River, the border river between Surinam and French Guiana, is presently inhabited by about 2,000 Maroons who call themselves Aluku or Boni. They are the descendants of Surinamese slaves who escaped from plantations during the period of slavery. After protracted fighting on Surinamese territory, they finally fled to French Guiana.
This is a fascinating account of the genesis of the Boni- Maroons and their continuous warfare against the white planters and their colonial armies. The works that have been published on the Boni-Maroons, for instance John Gabriel Stedman's famous 'Narrative' from 1796, represent only fragments of the Boni-history.
Wim Hoogbergen's book is a successful attempt to paint an overall picture of this interesting Maroon-history. The author combed the archives of The Netherlands, France and Surinam in search of data referring to the Boni-Maroons from their origins until 1860, with astonishing results.