De rebellen van Berbice | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 136, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0040-7550
  • E-ISSN: 2212-0521



In the preface to his neoclassical tragedy (1774), Nicolaas Simon van Winter advocates for the gradual abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies. He declares that he wrote this play in reaction to the brutal executions of African rebels after the nearly successful slave revolt in the Dutch colony of Berbice. The plot, however, centers around the enslavement of the Mexicans by Hernán Cortés in the early sixteenth century. Following Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s notion of ‘silencing’ the past (1995), this article explores the absence of the Dutch Atlantic in . Van Winter’s choice to present enslaved Amerindians under a Spanish yoke, I will argue, is strongly connected to late-eighteenth-century ideas about suppression, the legitimacy of revolt, and ‘race’ in the Dutch Republic.


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