Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast

New Pr. Aug. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781620974599. $27.99. HIST
In 1763, enslaved Africans staged a wide-scale rebellion on the Berbice River in what is now Guyana, then known as the Wild Coast. Kars (Breaking Loose Together) has uncovered a detailed account of this little-known revolt by utilizing extensive Dutch records of the subsequent 900 interrogations and trials. The coffee and sugar plantations that lined the river were owned by Dutch planters of the Colony of Berbice, many of them absentee. After a brief revolt in 1762, enslaved people planned an uprising that spread throughout many plantations that lined the upper part of the river. For more than a year, rebels took over plantations and attempted to re-create a functioning slave plantation economy, taking advantage of the weakened Dutch colony and military forces who waited months for reinforcements. When they finally arrived, the rebels were eventually forced out into the hinterlands to live as maroons while starving and trying to elude the Native Americans hired to capture them. Eventually, hundreds of rebel slaves were rounded up and many were executed after their trials.
VERDICT A must-read for anyone interested in slave revolts and the history of Atlantic slavery.

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