THE CURAÇAO SLAVE REVOLT OF 1795

BY: Natasha Gregg

 

THE CURAÇAO SLAVE REVOLT OF 1795 –

 

The morning of August 17, 1795 saw the beginnings of an uprising on the Knip plantation in the Dutch colony of Curaçao. Led by a slave named Tula, approximately 40 to 50 slaves met in in the square of the plantation and informed their slave owner Caspar Lodewijk van Uytrecht, that they were no longer his slaves and their intentions to liberate themselves. The slave owner in turn informed them that they would have to take their case to the governor. On their way to the governor in Fort Amsterdam, they liberated about 22 slaves from prison, joined with more rebels and went from plantation to plantation, freeing more slaves and destroying plantations now left abandoned by their owners. Two days after the rebellion began, Tula and his rebels were attacked by a Lieutenant R.G. Plegher led military strike, however they were soundly defeated by the rebels. With the military’s defeat, the governor now considered the rebellion a serious threat to the colonial powers. The colonials attempted to negotiate with Tula, who was aware of the Haitian revolution and its success. His demands to the imperialists other than freedom were an end to collective punishment, an end to labor on Sunday, and the freedom to buy clothes and goods from others than their own masters. When negotiations fell through, a full scale attack on the rebels were ordered. A month later, On September 19, Tula and his other rebel leaders were betrayed by a slave, and taken as prisoners, effectively ending the rebellion. Tula was essentially put to death. As a result of the rebellion, the colonists formulated rules that provided some rights to slaves, however, slavery in Dutch colony wasn’t completely abolished until 1863.

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