In the summer of , Amsterdam shipbuilder Jan Gerbrandse Slegt started work on the construction of the Leusden. The frigate type vessel had been ordered by the Dutch West India Company to serve in the transatlantic slave trade, and was ready just eight months later. Between and , Leusden made nine successful voyages, sailing to Elmina on Africa's Slave coast to collect African captives, delivering them to the slave market on St. Eustatius or Suriname, and returning to the Texel roadstead. While being comparable in size to the well known slave ship Fredensborg, which provided a space of only x 40 x 70 cm per captive, Leusden carried an average of captives on board - more than double that of the Fredensborg.

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Skip to main content. The search for the slaveship Leusden. Maritime Heritage. Other name in original language :. Zoektocht naar het slavenschip Leusden. Project start:. Project end:. The aim of this project is the localisation of the wreck of the Dutch slave ship Leusden The project will be developed as a joint effort of the authorities and scientific and cultural institutions of Surinam, the Netherlands, French Guyane and France.

The vessel hit a sandbank and sunk in the mouth of the Maroni river with African slaves on board. The loss of the ''Leusden'' is therefore an incomparable tragedy in the maritime history of trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The exact wrecking site is unknown and could be located in the sand bank area on either side of the river mouth, in both the Surinam and French Guyane maritime zone.

Slave ships are direct sources of information on the European trans-Atlantic slave trade for South America and the Caribbean region in the 17thth century. Precise archaeological data on these ships are scarcely available. The only other known wreck site is that of the Danish slave ship ''Fredensborg'' which has been excavated in The search for the wreck site will be part of a knowledge programme for a broad international public of scientists and interested in the slave trade in the 17thth century.

The archaeological data add an unique dimension to the history of the world slave trade. The wreck of the Leusden is a source of knowledge, but also a place of memory, a site with a spiritual value related to the loss of African captives.

Balai as a PhD thesis at the University of Amsterdam. In the phase of survey preparation expertise on maritime archaeology is provided by prof. Gawronski, of the Archaeological institute of the University of Amsterdam. The present day estuary of the Maroni river with sandbanks on the Surinam and French Guyane side '''Multilateral cooperation''' The project will be realised on the basis of a cooperation of several national partners. The parties involved include authorities of Surinam, French Guyana, France and the Netherlands, which each introduce their own expertise and responsibilities in the project.

This cooperation is needed because the archaeological wreck site could be located in both Surinam and French Guyana water. The ''Leusden'' is shared world heritage which is related to the history and culture of these four countries. The archaeological authorities in French Guyane and France develop a planning and an executive programme for the communal survey based on the actual French heritage policy.

Project coordination is provided by Balai and Gawronski University of Amsterdam. Its goal is to gather data on the logistical and topographical conditions in the Maroni river to assess the feasibility of mobilising a full marine survey to locate the wreck of the ''Leusden'' in the future: - delimit the survey areas by cartographic and hydrographic research - develop a GIS system - testing of vessels - testing survey equipment under local conditions - execute a mag and echosounder survey in test areas The scientific and financial management of the project was done by the Stichting Olivier van Noort, Amsterdam and UTS had the logistical supervision of the operations.

Survey equipment and expertise was provided by Plymouth University through the support and services of MSc. Hydrography students Arthur Laloe and James Hancock.

The nautical preparations were locally organised in close cooperation with the Maritieme Autoriteiten Suriname MAS , which is responsible for inspection and management of nautical works in Suriname waters. Staff members of the MAS attended the survey on site for the first two days.

RESULTS Google earth image of the Maroni river estuary, with Galibi village on the left bank underneath the mouth of the river SK fishing boat from Paramaribo, used as survey vesel, anchored in front of Galibi Sea chart from with the search areas based on the current and the historical topography: left the Tiger Bank area, right the Banc Francais Review and assessment of the likely construction of the ship and quantity of iron on board in terms of cannon, anchors, ballast, fittings and the slave steel i.

Sea trials of the marine survey spread were undertaken off Penzance late July to ascertain optimum set up for shallow water towing, the most significant technical challenge of the planned recce survey. The equipment was shipped early August and personnel followed mid-August for 10 day operation, 4 days of which we spent at sea in and around the Maroni river estuary survey.

The team was based at the Lodge at the north end of Galibi village at the mouth of the Maroni River. A local SK fishing boat SK was mobilised for survey operations whilst moored of Galibi beached for some of this time. A DGPS base station was set up on the first day of marine operations although ultimately its use proved unsuccessful and unnecessary. A number of tow and buoyancy configuration were utilised during survey operations in an attempt to minimise the impact of noise on the data set.

The direction of lines run with consideration for the prevailing wind and tidal flow was also a key consideration and controlling factor, in minimising noise. There was qualified success in this endeavour and more needs to be done before a more extensive survey is undertaken. Several possible likely targets were noted but the outstanding pair were B and B on line 34 between and hrs LT the morning of 20th August, the final day of survey at the northern end of the most easterly search area.

One a 54nT dipole and the other a 52 negative monopole total amplitude. In terms of extending and expanding the search by means of longer and more robust survey resources various recommendations have been made regarding the mobilisation of the local boat and support services and facilities. It is recommended extensive sea trials re undertaken to establish optimum towing arrangement speed, fish depth, etc. And during any future mobilisation the set-up and initial trials of any new system should take place in Paramaribo prior to final mobilisation to Galibi.

Various survey tools and techniques have been discussed within this report, e. Similarly as part of any future survey there should be the facility and capability for sea-bed sampling and recommendations have been made on such a spread that could be used with the local resources available.

As all operations in the target areas are very sensitive to environmental conditions and further investigations should be made to ascertain the optimum timing for any future survey to take advantage of the most favourable local conditions. It is recommended that a zodiac or similar small support craft will be provided for the support of future survey operations, for access to and from the vessel and beaches and the exposed sandbanks and for safety purposes. Contact person:. Involved organisations:.

Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands. Funding organisations:. Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands In Paramaribo. Involved experts:.

Jerzy Gawronski. Partner country ies :. DutchCulture is generously funded by:. Group 10 Created with Sketch.


Cynthia McLeod

Skip to main content. The search for the slaveship Leusden. Maritime Heritage. Other name in original language :. Zoektocht naar het slavenschip Leusden. Project start:. Project end:.


Tutuba: het meisje van het slavenschip Leusden

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Dossier: The Leusden



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