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Map of the Akaio Valley in the river Cuyuni


Map of the Akaio Valley in the river Cuyuni

Heneman, Johan Christoph von / Burght, J. van der

Title Leupe: Kaart van de Val Akaiou en Rio Cajouny.

During his first trip to Essequibo in April 1772 Johan Christoph Heneman travelled to the border area of Spanish Guyana. On their way there, he and his fellow expedition members passed the Akaio Falls in the River Cuyuni. This sketch map was made during this expedition and shows the valley and surrounding rivers, reaching just beyond the point downstream of the Essequibo and Mazaruni confluence.

Originally it was incorporated in the combined journals of the naval frigates Triton and Boreas commanded by Captain Jacob Andries van den Velden (Admiraliteiten, Colleges XXVII Journaal van de Velden, 16), as it was on board those ships that Heneman sailed to the western colonies during his first return home from Surinam.

In addition to the valley with its rapids, the map shows the Batavia Islands, the ‘demolished’ former capital of Cartabo, the dismantled Fort Kijkoveral, and various deserted coffee, sugar and indigo plantations on the Cuyuni. The newer plantations had been established nearer to the river estuary and along the coast.

In Heneman’s explanation the origins of Fort Kijk Overal are alleged to be Portuguese, a contention also held by Hartsinck. Recent research has shown that there are no grounds to assume that such links existed.

The illustrated fish was found by the excursion members in the waters not far from the Akaio Falls. The native name ‘Paco’ is a reference to a freshwater fish from the characid family, most probably a tambaqui or Colossoma macropomum.

Scale-bar of ‘one hour sailing’ = 97 ‘strepen’ [approximately 1 : 57,400] / [drawing] 12 Duym Rhynlands = [approximately 1 : 6].

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)