Research begins into the continued effects of slavery on Curaçao
Historians from Radboud University launched a joint project with the National Archives of Curaçao and the University of Curaçao Dr Moises Da Costa Gomez (UoC) to investigate the impact of slavery on the lives of the inhabitants of Curaçao between 1839 and 1950. The first result will be the publication of the Curaçao slave register and emancipation registers on the websites of the National Archives of Curaçao and the National Archives of the Netherlands on 17 August 2020.
A database will be built for the research project, containing digitised archive sources with information about a cross-section of the Curaçao population between 1839 and 1950. Both the research database and the digitized archive sources will be made freely available.
Insight into the continued effects of slavery
Project leader Coen van Galen of Radboud University, who previously initiated the digitisation of the Surinamese slave registers, is enthusiastic that the research will start with Curaçaoan sources. “Curaçao has special archives that offer a lot of information about people who lived in slavery and their descendants. Society on the trading island of Curaçao was very different from that in plantation-dominated Suriname. This means that we can ask different research questions, as well as compare the two areas.”
The basis of the database of the Curaçaoan population will be based on the Curaçaoan slave registers and the Civil Registry of Curaçao, supplemented with archives from the Emancipation (the abolition of slavery in 1863) and other related archives. Together they offer the opportunity to track the island’s inhabitants across generations and thus investigate the continued effects of slavery on the social and economic conditions of later generations.
Een boek van de slavenregisters van Curaçao.
Slave register and emancipation registers
The collaboration between Radboud University, the National Archives of Curaçao and UoC got off to such a flying start that its first results will already be published on 17 August 2020. With support from the National Archives of the Netherlands, a database will be launched that day containing the slave register of Curaçao. It will list the people who lived in slavery on Curaçao between 1839 and 1863. The emancipation registers will also be included in the database. These contain data about enslaved people who were freed in 1863 when slavery was abolished on Curaçao.
Based on both sources, it will then be possible to conduct online research into ancestors who lived in slavery on Curaçao. The 17 August date was chosen because it is Tula Day. On that day, Curaçao remembers its history of slavery and the revolt against slavery that Tula led in 1795, exactly 225 years ago this year. The database containing the Curaçao slave register and emancipation registers will become available on the websites of the National Archives of Curaçao and the National Archives of the Netherlands on 17 August.
Want to know more? Please contact
- Coen van Galen, Radboud University, email@example.com, for general questions about the project and research
- Max Scriwanek, National Archives of Curaçao, firstname.lastname@example.org, for questions about the significance of the sources
- Johan van Langen, National Archives of the Netherlands, email@example.com, for questions about the online availability of the slave registers