Life tables of two enslaved populations: Suriname and Curacao, 1851-1863

Activity: Talk or presentationAcademic


Our historical knowledge of demographic processes started properly when states began to register the vital events of their citizens. Historical statistics from civil registration are widely used to estimate life tables and mortality rates, so that historians can gain insight in the impact on the human body of malnutrition, infectious disease, and labour. However, outside Europe and East Asia our knowledge is limited, as civil registration in tropical or slave societies are rare and based on small snippets of information, which made it impossible to reconstruct individual life courses. Thanks to the work of hundreds of volunteers, the daily lives of enslaved people in the Surinamese plantation society and Curacaoan trade colony can now be studied. We use this data to construct period life tables for the 1851–1863 period to improve our understanding of the lives of enslaved people in these societies and the Caribbean as a whole.
Period16 Mar 2023
Degree of RecognitionNational