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Map of the colony of Suriname


Map of the colony of Suriname

Heneman, Johan Christoph van

Title Leupe: Kaart van de Colonie van Suriname, leggende in de Landschap Cajana op de vaste kust van Suyd Amerika; strekkende van de Rivier Marowyne tot de Rivier Berbice. Coppename.

Heneman arrived in Paramaribo in November 1770 as an ensign in the service of the Society. Within a year he had produced a provisional general map of Surinam on four sheets, utilizing existing material and supplementary new data from such people as fellow soldiers and Hernhutters. In 1772 Governor Jan Nepveu (1768-1779) sent Heneman to the Republic to present his draught map to the directors for their approval. Satisfied, they commissioned him to develop his work into a complete, detailed general map of Surinam as quickly as possible. He returned to the colony later in 1772, and for the next six years he carried out the requisite surveys and worked them out. While lacking a date, this map can be recognized as an outcome of this survey. In comparison to his previous work, this maps shows many details on relief, forests, landscape types, as well as mud

and sandbanks. In addition, numerous creeks and 'Indian' settlements are noted down and the border of all plantations are drawn. This map gives a complete overview of the region.

It is difficult to determine, however, whether this sketch was drawn in South America or later copied in the Republic. When he returned to Amsterdam in May 1778 with a complete model of the planned general map, the board of directors, satisfied with the work, ordered Heneman to have his map ready for publication within two years. Undoubtedly encouraged by the considerable bonus which was offered if he were to finish within this period, he managed to have the manuscript ready to be handed in to the Society in December 1780. The Society commissioned its publication by Gerard Hulst van Keulen and in 1784 Heneman’s masterpiece was printed on eight sheets, under the long-winded title Kaart van de Colonie Suriname en de onderhoorige Rivieren en Districten zoverre derzelver ontdekkingen nu zyn strekkende met de tot Culture gebragt zijnde Landen en Plantagien (Map of the Colony of Surinam and the Rivers and Districts pertaining to it as far as the same have been explored with the Estates and Plantations which have been brought under cultivation), which was ‘humbly dedicated to the Right Honourable Gentlemen, the Lords Directors and Governors of the aforesaid colony’. Until well into the nineteenth century, his survey was repeatedly used as the basis for new maps of the colony, both general and detail, like the 1810 English publication by William Faden and even a revised impression by C.A. van Sypesteyn in 1850. The publication of the printed version of Heneman’s map in 1784 did not mean the end of his work for the Society, although he never returned to Surinam after 1778. Johan Christoph Heneman continued to work for the Council as cartographer and general advisor on landownership matters affecting Surinam and the Guyanas until 1805. After his death on the 6th of February 1806, Heneman’s widow sold his personal cartographical archive to the Raad der Amerikaanse Koloniën en Bezittingen, through which it later passed to the Netherlands National Archives.

North is below.

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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)