• Johan Heinsen Adjunkt Institut for Kultur og Globale Studier Aalborg Universitet
Nøgleord: danmarkshistorie, kolonitiden, Dansk Vestindien, straffefanger, stemme


Johan Heinsen: Evasive Voices: Convicts in the Danish West Indies
From its foundation in 1672 to 1686, the colony of St. Thomas in The Lesser Antilles was attempted populated with convicts. The West India and Guinea Company had the right to see Copenhagen’s prisons as reservoirs of labour. The fragments that the archives offer up about these men and women form narratives about fraught social relations and desperate actions. This article explores the history of the convicts and their place within the colonial hierarchy and discourse.

The article pays special attention to questions of voice, as it traces the actions
of a single group of convicts who repeatedly challenged their unfreedom. Along
their side were two soldiers, one of whom was a convict who managed to masquerade as free. His name was Niels Krog, and when he became embroiled in a desertion plot, the governor enquired into his past. Krog offered him a narrative about a life among honest people. This made the governor wary of punishing Krog in ways that would dishonour the soldier. Krog’s tale can be read as a performance
carefully tailored to foil the governor.


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