Published On: Wed, Jul 12th, 2017

What Thomas Morgan did to the Heyligers and Slaak

Jacob Gelt DekkerDear Anansi, listen to what I just heard on the radio.

A rogue politician of St. Maarten is claiming to have become a victim of Dutch persecution.

“My name, my reputation, and determination to do more for St. Maarten are constantly covered in a fog, not of my doing. This fog is covering not only me but St. Maarten. It has been built by the Dutch as the premise for their ongoing call for the Overseers’ Chamber. The Dutch have pumped money into an investigation team, or as I call them, the ‘Gestapo of St. Maarten.

The Dutch want to bring down anyone who they perceive to be standing in their way of making St. Maarten an outpost in the Caribbean for their civil servants and others who can’t be placed in Holland.”

The victimization of St. Maarten by the Dutch is extended to Mr. Heyliger personally, added the news anchor.

No matter how outrageous and bizarre the claims of Mr. Heyliger are, Mr. Heyliger is not ready to budge for the Dutch Crown.

In 1664, the prominent Dutch families on Saba were the Heyliger, Zagers, and Van der Pool.  They refused to swear allegiance to the English crown when the island changed flag. St. Eustatia changed flag twenty-two times, and with it, Saba as its territorial annex.

These original Dutch settler-families were then forcefully evicted to St. Maarten by Sir Thomas Morgan, on behalf of his British boss.

So, the Heyliger-family has been on St. Maarten for a very long time.  After 350 years, they still refuse to pledge allegiance to yet, another crown and continue to play a significant role in local politics.

“What goes around, Anansi, comes around. “

Major-General Sir Thomas Morgan (1604 – 13 April 1679) was a Welsh soldier, an opportunist, and adventurer. He pledged allegiance to any flag, whoever was ready to employ him.

Thus, he played a decisive role in another Dutch affair, during the battle of the Slaak, or the Volkerak, on12-13- September 1631.

Morgan fought as a mercenary on the side of the Republic of the Low Lands.  His opponent was Count Jan van Nassau-Siegen, on the side of Spain. The Count had recently converted to Catholicism, to the embarrassment of all the Nassau family and pledged allegiance to the King of Spain. The traitorous Count fought for the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia. She was the Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands for King Philips IV of Spain.

The Volkerak or Slaak is part of the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta, between the island Goeree-Overflakkee and the Dutch mainland.

Jan van Nassau, for the Infanta, lost and Thomas Morgan, for the Republic, won. The victory marked a turning point in the 80-year war with Spain and the Republic, as a sovereign shipping and trading nation.

“So Anansi, here is another wise lesson of history, that both noble gentlemen adhered to.

Never bite the hand that feeds you.”

By Jacob Gelt Dekker
Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle

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