Today In Caribbean History
On the morning of August 17, 1795, at the Knip plantation of Caspar Lodewijk van Uytrecht at Bandabou, Curaçao, a slave called Tula led an uprising of 40 to 50 fellow slaves. They met on the square of the plantation and informed van Uytrecht they would no longer work for him. He told them to present their complaints to the lieutenant governor at Fort Amsterdam. They left and went from Knip to Lagun, where they freed 22 slaves from jail.
From Lagun, the rebels went to the sugar plantation of Saint Kruis, where they were joined by more rebels under Bastian Karpata. Tula then led the escaped slaves from farm to farm, freeing more slaves.
Van Uytrecht in the meantime had sent his son on horseback with a note to the governor, and at 7 p.m., the council met to prepare a defense of the colony. Sixty-seven men, both white and black, under the command of Lieutenant R. G. Plegher were sent against the rebels. When the Dutch military arrived there on August 19, they attacked Tula’s group, but were defeated.
Tula was aware of the revolution that had resulted in freedom for slaves in Haiti. Tula argued that, since the Netherlands were now captured by the French, they should get their freedom as well. The three demands of Tula were: an end to collective punishment, an end to labor on Sunday and the freedom to buy clothes and good from others than their own masters. There were two attempts at negotiating with the slaves. The first one carried out by Father Schink. When Father Schink spoke with Tula, he refused to accept anything less than freedom. Schink reported back to Baron Westerholt, the latter decided to get more reinforcements and attack. He attempted a last negotiation, but when he was turned down by the rebels, he ordered that any slave with a weapon be shot. In the ensuing fight, the rebels were defeated. Ten to twenty of them were killed, and the rest escaped.
On September 19, Tula and Karpata were betrayed by a slave. They were taken prisoner, and the war was effectively over. After Tula was captured, he was publicly tortured to death on October 3, 1795, almost seven weeks after the revolt began. In addition, many slaves had been massacred in the earlier repression. After the revolt had been crushed, the Curaçao government formulated rules that defined the rights of slaves on the island.
At the height of the insurrection, there were probably 1,000 rebels. August 17 is still celebrated in Curaçao to commemorate the beginning of a long fight for freedom. When slavery was finally abolished on the island in 1863, there were fewer than 7,000 slaves. There is a monument to Tula and the rebel slaves on the south coast of Curaçao, near the Holiday Beach Hotel. This is the site where Tula was executed. (text via Wikipedia)
—Submitted by MagicBar, thanks!