Creolen and Marrons

The Creoles and Maroons are both direct descendants from kidnapped [west-] Africans forced to labor on the infamous plantations of Surinam. The two distinct cultures have shared much together. Yet the Maroons have known freedom before the Dutch abolition of the trans-Atlantic slavery in 1863 [1873].

The name ‘Marron’ is commonly thought to be derived from the Spanish word ‘cimarrón’, roughly meaning wild animals [or escaped cattle]. Truly a false definition. Redefined by the Maroons when the highly acclaimed warriors of the settled communities successfully waged multiple wars on the Dutch colonialist and their slave trade. The wars continued to the point that the Dutch officials had to concede land and jurisdiction [in Surinam] to the Maroons in exchange for a chance at peace, or risk further damaging their lucrative ‘business’.

The peace agreements [1760] stated that from there on, the Maroons had to return any fugitive slave. An agreement the Maroons accepted in exchange for freedom, jurisdiction and stability. 
The Maroon communities are often seen as the best-kept piece of Africa ‘outside of Africa’. Certain Maroon tribes even sharing a dialect found in Ghana [West-Africa].

The history of the Creoles is more commonly known and presented as the collective Afro-Surinamese history. Our alleged freedom from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was achieved in 1863 [1873].

The name ‘Creole’ roughly translates to someone of mixed European and African descent. But more accurately; a mixture [mengelmoes] of all kinds of lineages [Afro, European, Asian, Latin, Native], often too hard to effectively trace back.

Creoles and Marrons, stadscreolen and boslandcreolen, ‘fotonengre and businengre’. Words to mark our ‘differences’? Or to further divide an already under divided group? I always wondered how much the distinctions should matter… For together, and only together, do we represent all of Afro-Surinam. Creoles and Marrons, two sides of the same coin and invaluable points to the Surinamese star.


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