Dutch & Surinamese universities collaborate on digital slave registry

The Surinamese Anton de Kom University and Radboud University Nijmegen have collaborated to digitize more than 17,000 pages of the unique slave register from the national archive in Paramaribo. This registry was previously stored in the Surinamese National Archives but through digitalization is now available for public access.

Radboud University said initiators Coen van Galen (Radboud University) and Maurits Hassankhan (Anton de Kom University) began crowdfunding and recruiting volunteers for the project in January 2017. Nearly 1500 volunteers, donors, and supporters in both the Netherlands and Suriname collaborated to finish the project.

The government originally used the registry to prevent illegal slave trade. All humans living in slavery were required to be recorded in the slave register with their date of birth, their mother’s name, “and any changes such as birth, death, liberation, sale, leprosy, or other information that was important for the status and value of the slaves.” The Suriname registers name roughly 80,000 people who were enslaved between 1830 and 1863.

Radboud University calls the registery “a unique resource about the Surinamese-Dutch history of slavery” which combines websites of both the Dutch and Surinamese National Archives.


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