Online Slave Registers from Curaçao Allow Descendants to Find Ancestors

The National Archive of the Netherlands is putting the names of 21,000 people who lived as slaves in the former Dutch colony of Curaçao online, enabling their descendants to find out about their ancestors.

The new list if names went online on Tula Day, which celebrates a major uprising in the island led by resistance fighter Tula in 1795. Tula and his fellow rebels demanded freedom, inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution and the successful slave uprising in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti; at the time, a French colony). The revolt was suppressed by the Dutch colonial authorities and Tula and his fellow fighters were tortured and executed.

The register covers the period between 1839 and 1863 when Curaçao became the slave trade hub in the Caribbean. A register of names dating from 1863 when emancipated slaves were compelled to take a last name, will also be made accessible online. ‘Slaves were not allowed to have a last name,’ Coen van Galen, who worked with the Curaçao national archive to carry out the project, told broadcaster NOS.

You can read more about the newly-released archive in the DutchNews.nl web site at: https://bit.ly/3gzLaeI while the “Curaçaose slavenregister en emancipatieregisters online” archive is available in both Dutch and English at https://www.nationaalarchief.nl/beleven/nieuws/curacaose-slavenregister-en-emancipatieregisters-online.

You can also read a bit more about the Curaçao slave trade at: https://www.canonvannederland.nl/en/slavernij.

One Comment

Thanks for sharing – these sorts of records are so important for people of African descent researching their ancestry, and I imagine would provide useful context for people of Dutch descent trying to understand the full story of their ancestors’ lives.

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