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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The tricontinental voyage of Negro Corporal Manus Ulzen (1812-1887) from Elmina
Author:Kessel, Ineke vanISNI
Periodical:Afrique & histoire
Geographic terms:Netherlands
Subjects:black soldiers
colonial forces
biographies (form)
Abstract:This article describes the voyages of Manus Ulzen, a young man from the West African town of Elmina (in present-day Ghana), who in 1832 enlisted in the Dutch East Indies Army. His army career took him to Java and Sumatra (Indonesia), and subsequently to the Netherlands, where he spent a year in hospital for the treatment of a leg injury sustained in an army campaign on Sumatra. The article, based on detailed archival evidence, demonstrates that subaltern subjects, such as an illiterate young man from West Africa, could exercise a considerable degree of control over their life, even when far removed from their land of birth. Even in the unfamiliar environment of a Dutch hospital, he was apparently not intimidated. The Dutch king was persuaded to change the rules for military decorations so that Manus Ulzen could receive his promised bronze medal. Subsequently, his exposure to the wider world served to enhance his status in Elmina society. BIbliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English, French and Dutch. [Journal abstract]