After Essequibo (1616), Berbice constituted the oldest permanent Dutch settlement of the Wild Coast and, because of the divergence of its history and ownership relationships, came to occupy a somewhat special position.
The colony was set up in 1627 under the patronage of the Zeeland merchant Abraham van Pere, whose heirs remained the sole patent holders until 1712.
The Berbice Society, which wielded power from 1720, liberalised economic access to the colony in 1733, opening it up for free trade and freely allocating land to entrepreneurs who were deemed fit.
In the three decades that followed, Berbice became an important plantation colony.
This was disrupted by the major slave rebellion of 1763. The huge stock market crisis in the Republic ten years later, however, was even more detrimental to the Society and would saddle it with permanent financial problems. Even then, however, the colony continued to grow at a steady pace.
In 1795, like all the remaining West Indian colonies, Berbice fell under the auspices of the Dutch Committee for the Affairs of the Colonies and Possessions on the Guinean Coast and in America, following the establishment of the Batavian Republic and the disbanding of the Society.
Berbice / Wilde kust (WIC-gebied)
|fortification(s)||Brandwacht, fort (Berbice)|
- Heijer, H. den, Grote Atlas van de West-Indische Compagnie = Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch West India Company, II, de nieuwe WIC 1674-1791 = the new WIC 1674-1791 (Voorburg, 2012), 152-153