Marjoleine KarsDec 29, 2020
Blood on the River
A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast
In Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast (New Press, 2020), historian Marjoleine Kars tells the story of a massive eighteenth-century slave rebellion in the Dutch colony of Berbice (in present-day Guyana). Drawing on some nine hundred pages of interrogation transcripts and letters that provide rare first person accounts from enslaved African-born rebels, Kars chronicles how nearly 5,000 of the total enslaved population held onto Berbice for over a year holding onto 135 plantations. Sorting through the competing political visions of the various African-born slave rebels, Kars provides an intimate look into a people demanding freedom and trying to figure out what that can mean to them.
Sharika Crawford is an associate professor of history at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and the author of The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean: Waterscapes of Labor, Conservation, and Boundary Making (University of North Carolina Press, 2020).