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Map of the river and colony of Essequibo


Map of the river and colony of Essequibo

Anoniem / Anonymous / Destouches, Albertus Siraut

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), next to which the settlement in question was established in 1718, is however depicted. 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, this map 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, found under 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. The early 20th-century attribution to Johan Christoph Heneman can, however, confidently be rejected.

North is right.

Scale-bar of 4800 Roeden = [approximately 1 : 252,000].

Please contact Nationaal Archief for reuse and copyrights.

Sources and literature

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 (2012)