Fort Zeelandia (Paramaribo)

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Fort Zeelandia
Part of Suriname
Fort Zeelandia.jpg
Fort Zeelandia in Paramaribo
Fort Zeelandia is located in Paramaribo
Fort Zeelandia
Fort Zeelandia
Coordinates5°49′31″N 55°09′00″W / 5.8252°N 55.149872°W / 5.8252; -55.149872
Site history
Built1651 (1651)
Fort Zeelandia
Officers houses at Fort Zeelandia

Fort Zeelandia is a fortress in Paramaribo, Suriname. In 1640 the French built a wooden fort on the same spot which is now Fort Zeelandia. During the British colonial days the fort was reinforced and became Fort Willoughby. It was taken in 1667 by Crijnssen to become from that day Fort Zeelandia.[1]

In 1651 a small trading post was created by the Dutch. The Dutch presence increased and strengthened. In 1667 the Dutch Admiral Abraham Crijnssen took Paramaribo and recaptured the Essequibo-Pomeroon Colony. Byam, the British commander of Fort Willoughby defended the fort against Dutch Navy officer, Admiral Abraham Crijnssen[2] renamed the fort to Zeelandia.[3]

The battle which ensued between William Byam and Abraham Crijnssen lasted only three hours as British munitions were exhausted.[4]

"In December 1666, Crijnssen received the command over a squadron, composed of the frigates Zeelandia, West-Cappelle and Zeeridder, and 4 smaller ships, including the Prins te Paard. He was sent to the West Indies and the east coast of North America in an expedition against the English."

"Crijnssen left Veere on December 30 with 700 men aboard, including more than 200 soldiers. On February 25, 1667 he reached the Suriname River where the English fort Willoughby was situated. After a short bombardment the English surrendered the fort and on March 6 they gave up the entire colony. Crijnssen renamed the fort Fort Zeelandia and left a garrison behind. The West-Capelle captured the English frigate York, and sailed back to Zeeland in October 1667 with 1000 pounds of elephant teeth from the York."

"In February 1668, Crijnssen was sent back to Suriname with 3 ships. Despite the fact that the Treaty of Breda (1667) had given Suriname to the Dutch, the English had retaken Fort Zeelandia in October 1667. Crijnssen arrived in Suriname on April 20, and by April 28 the whole of Suriname was firmly back in Dutch hands. It was to remain a Dutch possession until 1975."

On the 25th of February 1667, Abraham Crijnssen captured the English fort, Fort Willoughby.[5]

"On the 25th of February 1667, Abraham Crijnssen captured the English fort, Fort Willoughby, on the northern coast of South America. Having departed from the Dutch port of Veere, Crijnssen led a force of three frigates (Zeelandia, West-Cappelle and Zeeridder) and four smaller ships to the West Indies to engage the English. Arriving at the Suriname River, he proceeded to bombard the fort, upon which the English surrendered. Within a short period of time, the Dutch secured the entire colony, and renamed the fort as Fort Zeelandia."[6]

After the Surinamese independence in 1975, during the military government of Dési Bouterse in the 1980s, Fort Zeelandia was the location of the "December murders" of 1982 and was used to hold and torture political prisoners.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Chronological History of the Discovery and Settlement of Guiana ..."
  4. ^ "Chronological History of the Discovery and Settlement of Guiana ..."
  5. ^ "On this day 25 February".
  6. ^ "Wars of the Americas".

Coordinates: 5°49′31″N 55°09′00″W / 5.82528°N 55.15000°W / 5.82528; -55.15000