Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Spranger, Daniel Guerin
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Spranger, Daniel Guerin
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|Edition of 1900. See also List of colonial and departmental heads of French Guiana on Wikipedia, and our Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography disclaimer.|
SPRANGER, Daniel Guerin, Hebrew colonist, b. in Holland about 1610; d. in Cayenne, South America, in 1664. He accompanied Maurice de Nassau in the conquest of Brazil, as he had a contract for furnishing supplies to the invading army. During sixteen years he lived in Brazil occupied in colonization schemes, and opened an extensive trade between that country and Amsterdam. When the Portuguese army recovered possession of Brazil in 1654 all Hebrews living in the country were expelled, and Spranger sought refuge in the island of Cayenne, which had been abandoned by its former possessors, the French company of the twelve lords. Although he was opposed at first by the Galibi Indians, he gained their favor with presents and made a treaty with their principal chief, who granted to him the absolute possession of the island. Being joined by several parties of Hebrews from Brazil, he undertook to colonize the island, and succeeded. This is the more remarkable as it is the only instance in which a Hebrew colony has exclusively devoted itself to agriculture. Spranger introduced the culture of the sugar-cane and indigo-plant, which so prospered that, according to Jacques Dutertre in his “Histoire générale des Antilles,” “under Spranger's administration, the island of Cayenne was reputed an El Dorado.” The population of the island at that time was
about 600 — all Hebrews. In 1659 the Dutch company, organized in Amsterdam for the colonization of Guiana, sent a party of 250 Jewish emigrants, and 150 more from Leghorn followed in the next year. The colony was destroyed in 1664 by Le Fèvre de la Barre, who retook Cayenne, and again expelled all Hebrews, Spranger being killed while he was defending his dominion.