A policy of ‘Great Confinement’, 1815– 1863
in Leprosy and colonialism
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This chapter investigates the development and implementation of segregation policies after Dutch rule returned to the colony in 1816. The Leprosy Edict of 1830 inaugurated a period of 'Great Confinement' following fifteen years of reorientation and a change in a slave's legal status from commodity to person. The confinement was not limited to leprosy sufferers. By 1820, a differentiation between leprosy and elephantiasis became more common in Dutch medical literature. The German physician Constantin Hering, who practised in Suriname from 1826 to 1832, made a clear distinction between the two diseases. Hering's presentation of Pauline's case story shows how he framed leprosy within a homeopathic perspective, but with characteristic elements of colonial framing reminiscent of Van Hasselaar. In the 1840s, colonial authorities maintained the impetus of the 'Great Confinement' policy. The regulations of the leprosy edict were tightened. Sufferers were no longer permitted to own patents or companies.

Leprosy and colonialism

Suriname under Dutch rule, 1750– 1950


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