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Map of the river and colony of Essequibo

Map of the river and colony of Essequibo

Title Leupe: "Kaart van de "rivier en colonie Essequebo".
The anonymous map of Essequibo seems, from the style and general execution, to date from the latter half of the eighteenth century but the content partly hints that it is considerably older, roughly from around 1715. The only fortification shown is Fort Kijkoveral, and the temporary administrative seat in Cartabo, on the opposite western bank of the Mazaruni, does not yet feature. The plantation belonging to Governor Pieter van der Heijden (1707-1719) is indicated though, adjacent to which, in 1718, the settlement in question was established. On Fort Island there is as yet no reference to Fort Zeelandia, which served as the seat of government from 1744. In the river’s lower reaches and on the islands in the estuary, on the other hand, a fair number of plantations are shown. This points to the map dating from a later period. In 1896 it was one of the sources used by the Venezuela-British Guiana Boundary Commission during arbitration. At that time it was attributed to the French surveyor Albert(us) Siraut Destouches, and dated 1779-1780. This assumption is probably mainly based on the correspondence, in terms of topographical representation, with the map by, of copied from, Siraut Destouches given on 4.AANW1473 in the National Archive of the Netherlands. If this connection is indeed relevant then it could, at most, relate to a copy made by Siraut Destouches of an unknown map dating from at least half a century earlier; otherwise it must be a retrospective illustration. What is not tenable, bearing in mind the totally deviant style of the map, is the generally adhered to later attribution to Johan Christoph Heneman, made by S.P. l’Honoré Naber in his supplement (1914) to the inventory of the map collection in the then Algemeen Rijksarchief (General State Archives), now the Netherlands National Archives.
North is right.
Scale-bar of 4800 Roeden = [approximately 1 : 252,000].

creator Destouches, Albertus Siraut

(land surveyor / mapmaker)





category drawing

coloured drawing


45,5 x 121 cm



owner Nationaal Archief
location(s) Essequibo Flag Island Kyk Overal
fortification(s) Kyk Overal, fort

Map/Chart/Plan   estate / plantation  


  • 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), 122-123