Plantation Slave Village, Suriname, ca. 1831

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This record was last updated on 02 May 2012

Image Reference

Pierre Jacques Benoit, Voyage a Surinam . . . cent dessins pris sur nature par l'auteur (Bruxelles, 1839), fig. 49. (Copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University)

Describing the layout of a plantation, the author writes: "several hundred feet from various plantation buildings, and within view of the master's house or the lodgings of the watchmen, is the village/hamlet ( "hameau") that is composed of many huts, constructed of wooden planks ("planches") and covered with banana/plantain leaves, with a small door and two small windows. . . . These houses are surrounded by palisades/fences to protect the vegetables and poultry" (p. 30). Benoit (1782-1854), a Belgian artist, visited Suriname around 1831 and apparently stayed for several months. The 100 lithographs in his book (hand colored in the John Carter Brown copy), accompanied by textual descriptions of varying detail, are derived from drawings he made during his visit, which included time in Paramaribo, the capital, as well as trips into the interior visiting Maroons and Amerindians. Forty of his lithographs, with our translations from the French text, are shown on this website.