Mayken Angola, The Face Of Netherlands’ Anti-Slavery Struggles Who Sued For Being Asked To Clean Her Owner’s House

Photo credit: Women & American history


The Dutch West India Company carried her to New Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where she began her days as a slave.

She may have been taken prisoner in 1628 from a Portuguese ship sailing towards the Netherlands, according to historical accounts.

She was forced to perform domestic tasks that her failing strength could no longer tolerate over the final three decades of her enslaved life.

On December 28, 1662, an enslaved woman named Mayken Van Angola petitioned the government for freedom. She wasn’t acting alone in this search. According to newyorkalmanack, two more enslaved women, Susanna and Lucretia, were motivated by her action and submitted applications for their liberation.

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She was granted freedom on the proviso that she clean Director-General Petrus Stuyvesant’s home once every week.

After completing the task for a while, Mayken appealed this conditionality once more, claiming that the workload was too much for her given her advanced age and that an injury she sustained in her childhood is preventing her from executing the duty of cleaning the Director-home. General’s

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She was said to be from West Africa. She lived in English New York and was married to Domingo Angola, a free man.


People cannot ignore the impact of the black community in Amsterdam, according to Professor Jaap Jacobs, an expert on the impact of slavery in Dutch society.

In 1664, according to the village sun, there were roughly 17% of enslaved Africans in Amsterdam, many of them worked for the Dutch West India Company. Slave owners controlled the remaining workforce.

He said that after the English were about to annex Amsterdam, the Dutch system of slave ownership changed.

It witnessed a growth in the number of families converting slaves to free people and giving them land ownership rights.

According to Professor Jacobs, the welfare of the slaves in Dutch society was the fundamental motivation behind this.

He said that Mayken battled for her freedom in this way. She believed that the enslaved African lady deserved to be counted among the founding mothers of the city because of her tenacity and bravery.

He claimed that Mayken’s power was greater than the hold her owner and wife had on the other slaves. He said that Mayken and her spouse had a good chance of being interred beneath St. Mark Church, just like her owner Stuyvesant and his wife Judith.

If a statue is erected in Mayken’s honor, history will judge her correctly, according to Professor Jacobs. However, he will treat it as a rhetorical inquiry and leave any responses to the authorities.

He emphasized that the interesting aspect of the Amsterdam system was how different it was from the American and British systems of slavery.

He mentioned how many slave owners used owning slaves as a sort of status symbol and how it allowed the enslaved to own land and work on it. One could understand why Mayken was granted the privileges she requested in this situation.




Written by How Africa News

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