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Open Access Policing and Transgressing Borders: Soldiers, Slave Rebels, and the Early Modern Atlantic

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Policing and Transgressing Borders: Soldiers, Slave Rebels, and the Early Modern Atlantic

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image of New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids

In 1763, a regiment of mercenary soldiers stationed on the border of Suriname and Berbice in South America, rebelled. The men had been sent to help subdue a large slave rebellion. Instead, they mutinied and joined the rebelling slaves. This paper reconstructs the mutiny from Dutch records and uses it to look at the role of soldiers as border crosser in the Atlantic world. Colonial historians have usually studied soldiers in their capacity of border enforcers, men who maintained the cultural and legal divisions that supported colonial authority. However, as I show, soldiers with great regularity crossed those same borders, threatening the very foundations of colonialism.

Affiliations: 1: University of Maryland.


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