Stephen Snelders
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‘Battleground in the jungle’
The Batavia leprosy asylum in the age of slavery
in Leprosy and colonialism
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Leprosy sufferers detected under the 'Great Confinement' policies, and particularly those who were slaves, were sent to the Batavia leprosy asylum. The geographically isolated leprosy asylum in the Suriname colony performed an essential role in colonial society. The asylum also established a working relationship between the colonial state and the Roman Catholic Church. To provide support and sustenance for the sufferers, a symbiotic alliance developed between the colonial government and a religious group on the margins of Surinamese society, the Catholics. The Catholic presence was contested by another Christian group, the Protestant Moravians, who tried to compete with the Catholics in caring for the leprosy suffers in Suriname. Faced with the breakdown in order in the asylum, the Moravians appeared to have a chance to become established in Batavia.

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Leprosy and colonialism

Suriname under Dutch rule, 1750– 1950


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