1598 - The Dutch make their first trip
1621 - Dutch West India Company
receives a charter for Essequibo.
1640 - Slaves arrive in the colonies
1657 - A small Dutch settlement is
established on the Pomeroon River.
1666 - War breaks out between
England and Holland.
1763 - The Berbice slave revolution
breaks out (at the time when Berbice is a separate Dutch colony).
The revolt begins on one estate but soon spreads to others along the
Berbice River and is the result of the cruelty with which the Dutch
plantation owners have been treating their slaves. It is led by a
male slave called Cuffy. The few hundred white settlers are soon
overwhelmed, and the uprising will only be put down after the
arrival of war ships and with the help of troops as far away as
Cuffy will commit suicide 3 months after beginning the uprising.
His followers are hunted down for another year until the Dutch
authorities are satisfied that the rebellion has been crushed.
1781 - War breaks out between
England and Holland. The colonies of Demerara, Essequibo, and
Berbice are taken by the English.
1782 - Some months later, the
French, who are also at war with England (and who are the allies of
Holland) under the command of the Marquis de Lusignan (who's name is
perpetuated in the plantation of that name) take the three colonies.
The French build Fort Dauphin at the mouth of the Demerara and,
nearby, begin to build a town, "Longchamps".
1783/4 - (a) The colonies are
restored to Holland; (b) Longchamps is chosen as the new colonial
capital, later to be called Stabroek;
(c) The Dutch move the seat of government down river to its
mouth, where they begin to build the town of Stabroeck in a
geometrical "grid iron" system of streets, divided by canals in the
manner of their home country;
(d) The Dutch build a series of sluice gates or kokers at points
where the canals meet the Demerara estuary. At high tide the kokers
(see picture of koker) form a barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and
the canals. At high tide they are opened to allow the accumulated
water to flow away
1796 - War breaks out again between
England and Holland. The colonies are taken by England for a second
1802 - At the peace of Amiens,
Guiana is returned to the Dutch. English settlers are given three
years to wind up their affairs, and then to leave.
1803 - War breaks out again between
England and Holland. In September, Hood arrives at the mouth of the
Demerara and demands the surrender of the colony. Guiana is handed
over without fighting never again to be returned to Holland.