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Map of the village of Botter-Baalie


Map of the village of Botter-Baalie

Heneman, Johan Christoph van

Titel Leupe: Plan van 't nieuwe ontdekte doorp, genaamt Botter-Baalie enz.

The Marrons were former enslaved people who had fled the plantations and formed new communities in the Surinamese interior. As their numbers swelled in the course of the 18th century, not least because they tended to raid plantations and then incorporate the slaves there into their own ranks, they became an increasing threat to the plantation system. In the 1760s, the colonial government hoped to improve the situation by making peace treaties with the Auka, Saramacca and Matawai. This hope was subsequently proven idle by the Boni Wars in the 1770s. The pursuit of the Marrons as well as the contacts with those groups the colonial government made peace with, did have the effect that increasingly large parts of the thusfar unexplored Surinamese interior were charted.

Even quite near Paramaribo, to the west and southwest, there were Marron settlements, and it is assumed that these are the ancestors of the Kwinti Marrons. The depicted village ‘Botter-Baalie’ (its real name is unknown, Heneman named it after the creek on which the village was located) is one example. From such villages, travellers and fishermen were often attacked, and even raids on Paramaribo were undertaken. Expeditions to find and destroy such villages met with mixed success. Villages were regularly discovered and destroyed, but those inhabitants that got away usually immediately set up new settlements somewhere in the region.

In fact, the village of ‘Botter-Baalie’ was ‘discovered’ and its inhabitants driven away by Musinga, a paramount chief of a group of Marrons on the Saramacca, the ancestors of the present Matawai. Musinga promised to attack the village, if he was rewarded with handguns and gunpowder. In December 1770, Musinga sent twenty-two prisoners-of-war to Paramaribo. A month later, the mapmaker Heneman visited the village. Reports state that the village had some sixty inhabitants and besides several small guardhouses there was a ‘Gado Huys’ (sanctuary), possibly the building Heneman has recorded on his map with a dotted line.

Also see VEL2125, which shows the situation of the village in its environs.

North is left.

Scale-bar of 40 Schritt = [approximately 1 : 300].

Please contact Nationaal Archief for reuse and copyrights.

Sources and literature

Heijer, H. den, Grote Atlas van de West-Indische Compagnie = Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch West India Company, II, de nieuwe WIC 1674-1791 = the new WIC 1674-1791 (2012)