The Cassard expedition was a sea voyage by French Navy captain Jacques Cassard in 1712, during the War of the Spanish Succession. Targeting English, Dutch, and Portuguese possessions, he raided and ransomed the colonies of Cape Verde, Sint Eustatius, and Curaçao—factories, depots, and seasoning camps used in the Atlantic slave trade. He also raided and ransomed Montserrat, Antigua, Surinam, Berbice, and Essequibo—wealthy sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean whose economies were based on the exploitation of slave labor.
In many of the places he landed, officials paid a ransom to avoid pillage; this was not always successful, as Cassard sometimes ignored the terms of the agreements he made. At the end of its expedition, Cassard's squadron returned to France with prizes in the form of cash, goods, and enslaved Africans worth between nine and ten million French livres. Cassard's exploits won him the Order of Saint Louis.Effects on the fortifications, enslaved populations, and profitability of the targeted colonies continued well into the rest of the 18th century.
On December 2, 1711, Cassard received command of a squadron of three ships of the line and five frigates from the king. Departing in early March 1712 from the port of Toulon with a fleet of eight ships, 3,000 seamen, and 1,200 soldiers, he embarked on an expedition during which he raided English, Dutch, and Portuguese colonies at Cape Verde and in the Caribbean. Over the course of twenty-seven months, Cassard also raided enemy fleets for ransom.
Among his most notable seizures was the Portuguese capital on the island of Santiago at Cape Verde:
He completely destroyed Santiago, the Portuguese base for their commerce with the West African coast. He took so much plunder, according to Mémoires du temps, that, in order not to overload his squadron, he had to leave behind a part, valued at more than a million livres.
After crossing the Atlantic, the squadron stopped at Martinique for resupply, and to unload the plunder taken at Cape Verde. The freebooters of Saint-Domingue, who hadn’t forgotten Cassard’s actions during the Raid on Cartagena, came to meet him and requested to join the expedition. Now at the head of a small fleet, he sacked the English islands of Montserrat and Antigua before heading to Dutch Guiana.
Cassard started his Dutch colonial raids in Surinam, which he besieged, captured, and ransomed.
On 10 October 1712, he landed a portion of his force near the plantation Meerzorg across the Suriname River from Paramaribo, the Surinamese capital. From here, he bombared the city and neighboring Fort Zeelandia in support of an amphibious assault.On the 27th, he departed the colony after securing a promise from the governor for delivery of a ransom consisting of enslaved people, goods, and cash valued at 2.4m French livres, or 747,350 Dutch guilders, equivalent to a full year's production in the colony, or €8.1m in 2018.
The following month, Cassard turned to Berbice, briefly occupying the colony. The descendants of Abraham van Peere, the Dutch colony's founder, did not want to pay a ransom to the French to free the colony, which as a result ceded to French control.
After having also sacked Essequibo, yet another colony in Dutch Guiana, Cassard returned again to Martinique to deposit his latest prizes. He did not stay long, setting sail for the island of Sint Eustatius, also colonized by the Dutch. He ransomed this colony in the same way as he had the Dutch landward settlements.
Finally, Cassard returned to Surinam to collect his ransom in Paramaribo and then headed toward Curaçao.In 1678, the well-defended island had successfully avoided invasion by a larger fleet led by Jean II d'Estrées that foundered on the Las Aves archipelago. According to a French source, Cassard overcame his officers' objections with a demonstration of his preferred method of attack, and also because Curaçao was richer and more significant than the other colonies already raided—this despite the fact that the official ransom demanded and received in Curaçao was only 600,000 livres, though this may have been supplemented by plunder. Cassard himself was injured in this phase of the expedition.
The Cassard expedition to Cape Verde and the Caribbean was successful, and after another stopover at Martinique, Cassard returned to France with prizes in the form of cash, goods, and enslaved Africans whose net value was estimated at nine to ten million livres.
Thanks to his exploits, Jacques Cassard was named Knight of the Order of Saint Louis on his return to France. From 1713, he focused his efforts on lawsuits relating to the plunder. Eleven ships of the French Navy have been named for him.
In Cape Verde, Ribiera Grande was slowly replaced as capital of the Portuguese colony by Praia, due to the latter settlement's strategic position farther east and on a plateau, giving it better natural protection against pirate attacks. This move, initially ordered by King Philip II of Portugal on 14 August 1712, was implemented gradually, and not complete until 1770.
In the Americas, the 1713 Peace of Utrecht, which shrank navies as it ended the War of the Spanish Succession, put a temporary end to the privations of French corsairs and large-scale naval raids fortified by freebooters like the Cassard expedition, capable of sacking even the largest colonies. As a result, there was a resurgence in the Golden Age of Piracy as "fully illegal" independent pirate captains took on unemployed sailors and focused on commerce raiding and smuggling.
An Amsterdam-based consortium consisting of the brothers Nicolaas and Hendrik van Hoorn, Arnold Dix, Pieter Schuurmans, and Cornelis van Peere paid the ransom of ƒ180,000 in cash and ƒ120,000 in sugar and enslaved people on 24 October 1714, thereby returning Berbice to Dutch control, and acquiring the colony for themselves.In 1720, the colony's five new owners founded the Society of Berbice, akin to the Society of Suriname which governed the neighbouring colony, to raise more capital for the colony. The Society was a public company listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. While economic activity in Berbice now increased as compared to the Van Peere years, the Society of Berbice payed smaller dividends than similar corporations, and continued underinvestment led to supply shortages which, when exacerbated by the Seven Years' War, led to hunger among the enslaved population, a contributing factor to the 1763 Berbice slave uprising.
There was an uptick in marronage in Surinam during the period of Cassard's expedition. Some plantations let their enslaved population enter the forests to avoid capture, an opportunity some took not to return. Other Africans escaped almost immediately after disembarking in the colony, joining bands of Maroons in the interior. Escapees from plantation Vreedenburg and escapees from recently-landed slave ships joined the Saamaka Maroons who eventually settled on the Upper Suriname River and made peace with the colonial government in 1762. They preserve the memory of their ancestors' escape in their oral history.
In 1715, Fort Sommelsdijk was constructed up the Commewijne River (itself the Suriname River's northernmost tributary) at the mouth of the Cottica to protect plantations in the region. As there was still need to further fortify Paramaribo, which had never successfully repelled an invasion, it was decided to build another fort closer to Meerzorg above the confluence of the Suriname and the Commewijne. Fort Nieuw-Amsterdam was finished in 1747, and Fort Sommelsdijk was downgraded to an outpost.
The effort entailed in provisioning and financing the ransom demanded by Cassard was a heavy burden on the Sephardic Jewish community of Surinam, which owned a third of the colony's plantations in the early eighteenth century. As such, it was a contributing factor to the century-long decline of plantations with Jewish owners, who slowly relocated the seat of their operations from Jodensavanne to Paramaribo, where they integrated more closely with the rest of the colony's European population. In the early 19th century, the remains of Jodensavanne were destroyed in a Maroon raid.
Suriname, officially known as the Republic of Suriname, is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers, it is the smallest sovereign state in South America. Suriname has a population of approximately 575,990, most of whom live on the country's north coast, in and around the capital and largest city, Paramaribo.
The early history of Suriname dates from 3000 BCE when Native Americans first inhabited the area. The Dutch acquired Suriname from the English, and European settlement in any numbers dates from the seventeenth century, when it was a plantation colony utilizing slavery for sugar cultivation. With abolition in the late nineteenth century, planters sought labor from China, Madeira, India, and Indonesia, which was also colonized by the Dutch. Although Dutch is Suriname's official language, with such a diverse population, it developed a Creole language, Sranan.
Dutch colonisation of the Guianas—the coastal region between the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in South America—began in the late 16th century. The Dutch originally claimed all of Guiana but—following attempts to sell it first to Bavaria and then to Hanau and the loss of sections to Portugal, Britain, and France—the section actually settled and controlled by the Netherlands became known as Dutch Guiana.
Commewijne is a district of Suriname, located on the right bank of the Suriname River. Commewijne's capital city is Nieuw Amsterdam. Tamanredjo is another major town, while Meerzorg is the most populated.
Demerara is a historical region in the Guianas on the north coast of South America which is now part of the country of Guyana. It was a Dutch colony until 1815 and a county of British Guiana from 1838 to 1966. It was located about the lower courses of the Demerara River, and its main town was Georgetown.
Berbice is a region along the Berbice River in Guyana, which was between 1627 and 1815 a colony of the Dutch Republic. After having been ceded to the Kingdom of Great Britain in the latter year, it was merged with Essequibo and Demerara to form the colony of British Guiana in 1831. In 1966, British Guiana gained independence as Guyana.
Jodensavanne was an agricultural community in Suriname, South America established by Jews fleeing persecution in Spain. It was located in what is now Para District, about 50 km (31 mi) south of the capital Paramaribo, on the Suriname River. Sugarcane plantations were established and Black African people were used as slave labour. The colony faced an attack and heavy levies imposed by a French captain, competition with sugar beets, disease and revolts from indigenous people and slaves. The community eventually relocated to the capital of Paramaribo. Clearing of grave-sites and maintenance of the synagogue ruins has taken place in the 21st century.
The Berbice slave uprising was a slave revolt in Guyana that began on 23 February 1763 and lasted to December, with leaders including Coffy. It is seen as a major event in Guyana's anti-colonial struggles, and when Guyana became a republic in 1970 the state declared 23 February as a day to commemorate the start of the Berbice slave revolt.
Jeronimo, Jeronimy or Hierome Clifford was one of the biggest plantation-owners in Suriname in the late 17th century.
Meerzorg is a town in Suriname, located on the eastern bank of the Suriname River, directly opposite the capital Paramaribo. Its population at the 2012 census was 12,405. Since 2000 it has been connected to Paramaribo by the Jules Wijdenbosch Bridge, named after the former President Jules Wijdenbosch.
Jacques Cassard was a French naval officer and privateer.
Abraham van Peere was a Dutch merchant from Vlissingen in the County of Zeeland. In 1602, a charter was given by the States General of the Dutch Republic to his father Jan van Peere to found a colony on the Berbice River on the coast of Guyana. Abraham van Peere eventually founded the colony of Berbice in 1627.
The Society of Berbice was founded on 24 October 1720 by the owners of the colony of Berbice currently in Guyana. These owners had acquired the colony from the French on 24 October 1714, who in turn had occupied the colony which was previously a hereditary fief in the possession of the Van Peere family.
Pomeroon is the name of a former Dutch plantation colony on the Pomeroon River in the Guiana region on the north coast of South America. After early colonization attempts in the late 16th century were attacked by Spaniards and local Indians, the original inhabitants fled the interior of Guiana, founding the colony of Essequibo around Fort Kyk-Over-Al shortly after. A second, and more serious attempt at colonization started in 1650, but was ultimately unsuccessful, as French privateers destroyed the colony in 1689. In the late 18th century, a third attempt of colonization was started, this time under the jurisdiction of the Essequibo colony.
Suriname was a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands between 1954 and 1975. The country had full autonomy, except in areas of defence, foreign policy, and nationality, and participated on a basis of equality with the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands itself in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country became fully independent as the Republic of Suriname on 25 November 1975.
Surinam was a Dutch plantation colony in the Guianas, neighboured by the equally Dutch colony of Berbice to the west, and the French colony of Cayenne to the east. Surinam was a Dutch colony from 26 February 1667, when Dutch forces captured Francis Willoughby's English colony during the Second Anglo-Dutch War, until 15 December 1954, when Surinam became a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The status quo of Dutch sovereignty over Surinam, and English sovereignty over New Netherland, which it had conquered in 1664, was kept in the Treaty of Breda of 31 July 1667, and again confirmed in the Treaty of Westminster of 1674.
Netherlands–Suriname relations refers to the current and historical relations between the Netherlands and Suriname. Both nations share historic ties and a common language (Dutch) and are members of the Dutch Language Union.
The history of the Jews in Suriname starts in 1639, as the English government allowed Spanish and Portuguese Jews from the Netherlands, Portugal and Italy to settle the region, coming to the old capital Torarica.
Bokilifu Boni was a freedom fighter and guerrilla leader in Suriname, when it was under Dutch colonial rule. Born in Cottica to an enslaved African mother who escaped from her Dutch master, he grew up with her among the Maroons in the forest. He was such a powerful leader that his followers were known as Boni's people after him. They built a fort in the lowlands and conducted raids against Dutch plantations along the coast. Under pressure from Dutch regular army and hundreds of freedmen, they went east across the river into French Guiana. Boni continued to conduct raids from there, but was ultimately killed in warfare.
Wolfert Simon van Hoogenheim was a Dutch governor of the colony of Berbice. During his rule, the Berbice Slave Uprising took place.