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The development of Guiana

The map below shows the area of South America under Dutch control (marked Hollandoise) c1767 and the relation of this to some of the islands of the West Indies.

Part of South America by De Vaugondy, c1767 [David Rumsey Map Collection]

The Dutch-controlled territory extended from Surinam in the east to the river Orinocco [in modern Venezuela and marked Boc ra grande on this map] at the west.

From: Part of South America by De Vaugondy, c 1767 [David Rumsey Map Collection]

The River Essequibo (in the centre of the map above) was then the most prosperous part of what would later become British Guiana. Surinam remained a separate Dutch colony.

The map below shows the rivers Essequibo, Demerary and Berbice on which the three colonies, which would become British Guina and subsequently Guyana, were established. All three colonies were controlled by the Dutch West-Indische Compagnie (West India Company).

Part of Chart of the Guiana Coast by Edward Thompson, 1783 [David Rumsey Map Collection]

In 1781, during the American War of Independence, Britain was at war with the Netherlands, who supported the American cause, and British forces seized Berbice, Essequibo and Demerara. The Netherlands' ally, France, regained the colonies in the followed year and governed them until 1784, when they were restored to the Dutch.



               - the Dutch West India Company (WIC)

               - the Colony of Essequebo

               - the Colony of Demerara

               - the Colony of Berbice

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