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WHAT MAKES
JODENSAVANNE UNIQUE?

  1. Jewish Civilization
    Although physically separated, both the Cassipora Creek cemetery and the Jodensavanne settlement are historically very much intertwined with each other, the Cassipora burial ground being a remnant of an older Jewish settlement whose members gradually integrated into the community of Jodensavanne. They are an exceptional testimony of a Jewish civilization within the Atlantic Sephardic Diaspora situated in a rural setting at a frontier zone amidst Indigenous territory, and with ample physical remnants;


     

  2. Owned, Governed And Inhabited By Jews
    Both the Cassipora Creek and Jodensavanne villages  are entirely unparalleled in the Jewish diaspora. Established in the 1650s and 1680s, respectively, these sites constituted the only villages in the world at the time that were owned, governed, and inhabited by Jews;

     

  3. Among The Oldest Surviving Jewish Cemeteries In The Americas
    The two Jewish villages feature one of the oldest surviving Jewish cemeteries of the Americas as well as the foundations of houses, institutional buildings, and a synagogue;


     

  4. African Descendants In The Jewish Community
    Both villages emerged within a slave society where enslaved people of African descent formed upwards of ninety percent of the population. Over the centuries, African descendants were legally integrated into the Jewish community as bonafide Jews, both during and after their enslavement;


     

  5. The African-Creole Cemetery
    The village of Jodensavanne is also the site of an African-Creole cemetery, whose decedents were born both during and immediately after the period of slavery, which was abolished in 1863;


     

  6. Cordon Path, The Military Defense Line
    Jodensavanne was the starting point of a ninety four kilometer long military defence line designed to protect plantations against Maroon attacks. A military post of the Colonial Army was stationed at Jodensavanne, consisting of white soldiers and several Redimusu soldiers (Black Rangers). Apart from that, the Jews also had their own civilian militia.


     

  7. The Largest Jewish Community In The Americas
    The Jewish community of Jodensavanne functioned for approximately 150 years, from the 1680s through the first half of the nineteenth century. In early modernity, Suriname was home to the largest Jewish community in the Americas, with 1.500 residents at its peak in the late eighteenth century, constituting one quarter of the Jewish population in the Americas and up to two thirds of the colony’s white population; 


     

  8. The Highest Degree Of Privileges
    In the seventeenth century there were several early attempts to establish Jewish communities in the New World (such as Curaçao, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten en St. Nevis) and mainland South America (for instance Recife/Pernambuco in Brazil, Cayenne in French Guiana and Pomeroon/Essequibo in present-day Guyana), but they were all short-lived. Most of the diasporic Jewish communities of the early modern Dutch World (Dutch Atlantic), Caribbean Jewry, hemispheric American Jewry (Americas), Atlantic Jewish World, South America, or the Guianas, functioned within existing urban settings, were much shorter lived, and did not exhibit the intense overlap with local African descendants. The Cassipora Creek and Jodensavanne villages attest to the high degree of political privilege attained by Jews in the Dutch Atlantic world. In Suriname, under English rule (1651-1667, 1799-1803, 1804-1815) and Dutch rule (virtually uninterruptedly from 1667-1975), the Jewish community attained the broadest array of privileges and immunities anywhere in the early modern Jewish world, including ownership of their own village, schools, court of justice, plantations, limited franchise in the colonial governance, and ownership in human beings. The last time Jews had enjoyed this degree of autonomy was during antiquity in the Land of Israel. Only in Leghorn (Livorno) did Jews ever reach such a degree of autonomy, although in that urban environment Jews did not have a say in broader local governance, nor did they own and live in their own village; 

     

  9. There Are No Similar Properties Like The Jodensavanne
    With regard to the World Heritage List and the Tentative List there are no similar linked sites like the Jodensavanne Archaeological Site on both Lists. Masada can be considered as the only remotely close parallel, although in a completely different setting.