Saturday, December 24, 2011
Blogging Break & first black minister to serve in a Dutch cabinet
I am going to take a blogging break, but it doesn't mean no news will be posted. Sibo is also blogging. But before the break I am going to post some information of an old exhibition of the Dutch Rijksmuseum in 2009.
The highlight of the exhibition was the earliest known photograph from Surinam of a young married couple in 1846. (The picture on the right is their son, the only Surinamese minister to serve in a Dutch cabinet. He also became a Vice Admiral.)
This photo, a so-called daguerreotype, depicts Maria Louisa de Hart, the daughter of a mulatto female slave whose freedom had been purchased, and the Jewish plantation owner Mozes-Meijer de Hart. Her husband was Johannes Ellis, the son of Abraham de Veer, who was a Dutchman and the governor of Elmina in what is now Ghana, and the Ghanaian Fanny Ellis. Their son, Abraham George Ellis (1846-1916) was the first and only Surinamese minister to serve in a Dutch cabinet (1902-1905, Minister of the Navy). Until now, it was not known that any pre-1860 photographs from Surinam existed.
The photo of the young married couple is not exactly a celebration of black Surinamese history. Slavery was abolished in 1863, so this photo of the rich couple was taken during that time.
In 1860 Abraham left Suriname with his parents and four younger sisters and moved to Amsterdam in The Netherlands. His Father had already amassed enough capital to retire at the age of 48, and the family settled at the posh Herengracht in Amsterdam. His father later returned to Suriname.
Ellis is problably the first black minister and Vice admiral in a Western country.