Creator: Jordaan, Han
Slavernij en vrijheid op Curaçao : de dynamiek van een achttiende-eeuws Atlantisch handelsknooppunt
This dissertation is predicated upon the hypothesis that the agency of the non-whites in 18th century Curaçao in realising their freedom and bringing about the improvement of their economic and social situation is largely underestimated in the historiography. The specific nature of the colony’s economic orientation, centred on commerce and shipping, offered opportunities for both slaves and free non-whites. Discussed are manumission, the judicial position of free non-whites, their social-economic development, their military role and the development of their political awareness during the revolutionary years at the end of the 18th century. Possibilities to earn an income gave enslaved Curaçaoans opportunities to buy their freedom. The majority of the manumissions was made possible by the free non-white population itself. Free non-whites were not treated as equal to whites judicially, but they had access to all legal instruments. There were no judicial barriers preventing free non-whites from engaging in economic activities. Free non-whites were active in most branches of the economy and ownership of real estate and slaves was not uncommon. They played a crucial role in the defence of the colony and in maintaining law and order. There is evidence for a development of political awareness, be it largely circumstantial.
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