||Map of Surinam, indicating the Jewish held plantations with full names and products produced. Surinam, Dutch Guiana, territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands located in N.E. South America, between Guyana (former British Guiana), Brazil, and French Guiana and bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean. Jews apparently arrived from Brazil or Holland and settled in Surinam as early as 1639. Jewish settlers enjoyed free exercise of their religious rites and usages under the rules of Surinam. Surinam surrendered to the Dutch in 1667 and the Jewish community continued to prosper under their rule, owning numerous slaves and plantations. By 1694 there were 92 Portuguese Jewish families and some 12 German Jewish ones in the colony, totaling 570 persons who had holdings of more than 40 plantations and 9,000 slaves.
The economic decline of the community was largely connected with the abolition of the slave trade in 1819 and the emancipation of the slaves in 1863. As the export of sugarcane dropped off during the 19th century, the inhabitants made efforts to adapt the soil to other uses; as their efforts failed, they moved largely to the coastal areas. In 1861 the archives of the former Jewish court at Joden Savanne were declared government property and put in the Surinam library, later transfered to The Hague in 1916.