‘A rebel negro armed and on his guard’

This print is from 1796 and was used in John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative of a Five Years’ Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam. The account describes a major rebellion by slaves in the Dutch colony of Surinam in South America. There were many slave revolts throughout the Americas. They were often co-ordinated and involved several plantations. Colonial authorities and the plantation owners were terrified of the possibility of armed resistance and organized rebellion, and stationed troops and warships in the Caribbean to put down any resistance. Nonetheless uprisings were frequent. Some of those who ran away formed organized rebel bands and planned attacks against the European plantation owners and military forces. There was often a great deal of bloodshed in repressing rebellions and the punishments for those captured were horrific.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Accession reference: National Maritime Museum, PBD4145