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General map of the colony of Berbice and the west of Surinam

General map of the colony of Berbice and the west of Surinam

Title Leupe: Kaart van de Colonie de Berbice alsmeede van de rivier Corantyn met deszelfs Oostzeekust en de rivier de Nickerie, gelegen in Bats. Guiana in America, gedeeltelyk gemeeten door de Landmeeters C. Ruerlach van Suriname en S.H. Wiedenman van Berbice enz.
Due to the gradual economic shift to the areas in the lower reaches of the Berbice river and on the adjacent coast by the late eighteenth century, it was inevitable that also the administrative centre of power would eventually move to the estuary, and in 1785 that was exactly what the Society directorate decided to do. The plan was implemented in 1790 and the result is shown on this map.
The new main town is located on the confluence of the Berbice and the Canje, which after the previous main town near Fort Nassau was again given the name Nieuw-Amsterdam.
In the interim years, the plantation acreage downriver and on the coast had extended spectacularly, especially under British rule after 1796, as can also clearly be seen on the map.
After the British occupation of Surinam in 1799, the border between the colonies of Surinam and Berbice was finally fixed on the Corentyne in January 1800, as is mentioned on the map.
Like before, the agreed to western border of Berbice was the Duivelskreek (Devil’s Creek), now known as the Abari River.
The index in the top left mentions the designations and owners of the 200 plantations shown on the map.
In the annotation at the bottom right, it is stated that the colours of the plantations indicate the crops grown on them. Yellow land means cotton is cultivated, brown indicates coffee, red indicates sugar and blue indicates wood.
Uncultivated lands are drawn with dotted lines, the three projected canals show plans are being made to open plantations there soon.
In general, the map shows the border did not separate the colonies, as for instance is illustrated by the coastal road to Demerara.
North is lower right.
Scale-bar of 4000 Rhineland rods = 74 ‘strepen’.

creator Rulach, C.

(land surveyor / mapmaker)

Baarsel, C. van


Wiedeman, J.H.

(land surveyor / mapmaker)





category drawing

copperplate printing


0.69 - 0.50 El.



owner Nationaal Archief
location(s) Berbice Courantyne River New Amsterdam, Berbice (II) Icoerwa
fortification(s) Brandwacht, fort (Berbice) Nassau, fort (Berbice)

Map/Chart/Plan   plantation   compass / dial