November 29, 2010

Surinam’s deed of independence has been lost

Filed under: History by Branko Collin @ 2:13 pm

A reporter from Surinam daily De Ware Tijd has discovered that the document in which former Queen Juliana recognised the independence of Surinam in 1975 has been lost.

Home Affairs Minister Soewarto Moestadja, has started a search and is focussing on three leads. The document that signifies the birth of a nation may be in the vault of the national bank, it may be in the national archive, or it may have been lost to the flames of the fire that destroyed the Ministry of General Affairs during the 1980s.

The Netherlands still has its own copy of the deed of recognition, somewhere.

In 1667 the Netherlands ‘traded’ New York (then New Amsterdam) for Surinam in a treaty that concluded the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In reality both colonies had already been conquered by respectively the English and the Dutch, and the treaty merely cemented the status quo. The independence 318 years later was accompanied by the same lack of dramatics, as Surinam asked for independence in 1973 and received it two years later.

(Link:, Photo by Ian Mackenzie, some rights reserved)

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