The Beeckestijn

This post is about the Beeckestijn ship that carried enslaved Africans to the Caribbean.

Dates of Our Past

The Beeckestijn is depicted here as the only known drawing of a Dutch West India Company that transported enslaved Africans. This engraving by Hendrik de Leth shows the ship in front of the Dutch West India Company warehouses on the Prins Hendrikkade quay.

"The Beeckestijn transported about 4,600 [enslaved Africans] from the African west coast to the Dutch colonies of Suriname and St. Eustatius over seven voyages to South America and the Caribbean between 1722 and 1736. At least 1,000 [enslaved Africans] died on board."

Historians estimate that the actual number is likely closer to 1/3rd of the total passengers.

The Beeckestijn set sail for the first time on February 19, 1721, from the Dutch port of Texel. It was captained by Dirk de Wolf. On April 28, 1721, 615 enlaved Africans were forced aboard. They did not land in the Caribbean (St. Eustatius) until April 2, 1772-- nearly 1 year later. Only 560 survived.

On February 18, 1731, 753 Africans embarked on the ship in present-day Ghana. It arrived in Suriname on July 12, 1731 with a 31% mortality rate.

"[T]he fact that the Beeckestijn was a slave ship had not been recognised until the recent discovery of the vessel’s records by historian Mark Ponte, who is curating the archive’s exhibition [in Amsterdam]."


This post was about the Beeckestijn ship that carried enslaved Africans to the Caribbean.

By Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. | This content is copyright of West Indian Diplomacy, LLC and may not be reproduced without permission.

She runs West Indian Diplomacy, a Caribbean blog aimed at promoting West Indian history and business in the global marketplace.

Melissa has been an attorney for over 10 years. She currently focuses on trademark registration, trademark searches, and office actions. She also has extensive legal experience in the areas of trademarks, copyrights, contracts, and business formations. She owns her own Trademark Law Firm that is virtually based out of Fort Lauderdale.

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