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Venezuela-British Guiana boundary arbitration. Digest of evidence arranged according to subjects online

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creek south of the Weyne River, situated between the latter and the Pomaroon
River, where from time immemorial the Company had also a tradiug place
aud a Post, and nliich also iucoutestahly belong-ed to the territory of the
Butch. B.C., IV, 30.

i76g. [1897] George L. Burr.

Ill the formal remonstrance, addressed in 1769, . . . by the States-
General to the Spanish Court, a definite claim was made as to the boundary

on the (iluiaua coast. The territory of the Netherlands, according to this docu-
ment, stretched from the river Marovvyn to beyond the river Waini.

So far as appears in the diplomatic correspondence of the Netherlands, no
answer to this claim was ever made by Spain. Spanish aggressions, however,
did not cease. V. C.-C, II, 114.

The Dutch claim to the ownership of the Waini was officially enounced
to Spain in the remonstrance of 17G9, and was (however forgotten in the in-
terval) still a basis of action for the Dutch Colonial authorities in the period im-
mediately preceding the final loss of the colony. Same, p. 113.

1775. West India Company, (Zeeland Chamber).

He [Spanish Captain] . . . said that his lord and master would shortly
set a guard in the creek of Weena, called the Barmani, and that the whole of
Maroekka also belonged to the Spaniards, and I thereupon answered that the
river Barima belonged to the Swede, and Weene as well as Maroekka, to
the Dutch, and they said that it was not so. B. C, IV, 138,

1779. Don Jose Felipe de Inciarte.

Having arrived within musket-shot of the said [Moruka] Post, I hoisted the
Spanish flag. . . . Thereupon, two white Dutchmen appeared, without any
other people. Having arrived opposite the said Post and moored the vessels in
front of it, . . . the said Dutchmen came on board. . . . Having re-
proached him, as though the lands where the Post was situated belonged to
the Prince of Orange, with not replying with the Dutch flag to that of our
Sovereign, he answered that he had no flag, nor knew to whom the said lands
belonged, but that in Essequibo the said Birector-General assured him verbally
that the said lands of Moruca, and those included in the whole Creek of Ouiaua
belonged in ownership to the High and Mighty Estates of the Butch Republic.

B. C.-C, App., 229.

It is also to be noted that Paul Fernero, formerly Corporal of the said [Mo-
ruka] post, and at present a soldier therein, said that the former Director-
General 01 Essequibo told him in a letter, that the lands and rivers of Moruca
and (juiana belonged in ownership to the Butch, and the creek of Barima and
its lands to Sweden. Same, p. 2^5.

1839. R. H. Schomburgk.

The Butch . . . recognized neither the mouth of the River Pomaroon
nor that of the Morocco ... as the limits of their territory.

B. C, VII, 4.



. British Case,

The Essequibo Dutch had made friends with these Caribs by the end of the
[i7thj century, and the Bariuia district was thenceforward cousidered as
within the sphere of the Postholder of Pomeroou. B. C, ii^.

The Bariuia district . . . was treated by both the Dutch and British
Governments successively as within their territorial jurisdiction.

Same, p. iiS.
. British Counter Case.

The Barima continued to be generally regarded, in accordance with the
belief and practice of more than a century, as within Dutch jurisdiction.

B. C.-C, pi.
1683. Commandeur in Essequibo.

I wish their Honours would take possession of that river [Barima] as well,
which has been done by me provisionally in order to see what revenue it will
yield, since I am of opinion that the Honourable Company has the right to
trade and traffic there in an open river as much as other private persons.

B. C. , 1, 185-186.
1734. Commandeur in Essequibo.

If the Swedes undertake to try to establish themselves between the Orinoco
and this Colony, on your Honours' territory, I should be obliged to try to pre-
vent it. B. C, II, 18.

1749. Commandeur in Essequibo.

All the itinerant traders which go from there [Surinam] in order to deal in
slaves stop here, as all go to Barima, which is situated under this jurisdiction,
to the great prejudice of the inhabitants, because they pay far more for the slaves
than we usually do. Same, p. 61.

1758. Don Jose de Iturriaga.

Those of Essequibo publish and sustain that the dominion of the States-
General extends to the Ship's Mouth or Great Mouth of tlie Orinoco, and they
even enter well inside that river to enjoy its fishery. Same, p. 141.

1758. [1897] George L. Burr.

In 1758, the Governor of these Dutch colonies addressed to the Governor of
Spanish Guiana a remonstrance against Spanish aggressions, in which he claimed
for the Dutch the boundary laid down on the map of D'Anrille. This claim
was made, however, without authority from the West India Company or from the
State, and was not urged in the remonstrance [1759] addressed on this occasion
at the instance of the Company by the States-General to the Court of Spain.

V. C.-C, II, I go.

1760. Director-General in Essequibo.

They [Spaniards] also took some canoes on this side of Barima, and thus
within the Honourable Company's territory. B. C, II, igj.

1761. West India Company (Zeeland Chamber).

The new outrages of the Spaniards in seizing the boat of Mr. Persik and the
five canoes, which were busy salting, have greatly surprised us. . . . We
still hope to receive these, and the earlier the better, together with the rea-
sons why you deem that everything: which has happened on this side of
Barima must be deemed to have occurred on territory of the Company.

Same, p. igS.




1764. Diiector-General in Essequibo.

The whole jurisdiction of the Company, from Abary to Barima.

B. C, HI, 105.
1764. Shareholders of West India Company.

The Colony of Essequibo comprises the district of the north-east coast of South
America lying between the Spanish Colony, the Orinoco, and the Dutch Colony,
the Berbices, and . . . the same is crossed not only by tlie chief river,
the Essequibo, but also by several small rivers, such as Barima, Waini, Moruka,
Pomeroon, and Demerary, from which it takes the name of the Colony of Esse-
quibo and the rivers belonging thereto, though in the whole of the aforesaid
district — at least, as long as it was under the direction of the West India Com-
pany, until the year 1750, no other river than the chief river of Essequibo was
inhabited or populated. Same, p. 116.

1766. Court of Justice, Essequibo.

Resolved . , . that . . . the following proclamations should be
made : —

All dwelling' or sojourn in Barima is forbidden to all colonists, all upon
penalty of being further punished according to the exigencies of the case, but
those who still have some timber cut there are permitted to fetch away
the same. B. C.-C, App., 2og-2io.

1803. G. A. W. Ruysch — proposed Charter by.

As in Pomeroon, Waini, and Barima, there are still found well stocked
forests, tlie inliabitauts who wish to devote themselves to lumbering will be
granted a certain extent of forest, wherein they shall be at liberty to fell timber,
upon payment of certain dues to the Republic. . . . The ownership of the
land remaining' reserved to tlie Republic, unless the petitioners should sub-
sequently desire to establish plantations there, in which case the Governor and
the Court of Policy, . . . shall grant letters of pre-emption and recommend-
ation. B. C, V, iSj.

1804. Lieutenant-Governor Myers.

It [Colony of Essequibo and Demerara] is separated from Berbice by the
Abari Creek. The boundary with the Spaniards is disputed. According- to
Dutch, it is a line running- north and south from Cape Brama or Brem ; and
according to the Spaniards it is the Morucco Creek, a little to the westward of
Cape Nassau. Same, p. 1S6.

1839. R. H. Schomburgk.

They ] Dutch] had even occupation of the eastern banks of the . . .
Barima | before . . . i666| . . . which military outpost they con-
sidered to be their western boundary. B. C, VII, 4.

The Dutch West India Company considered the mouth of the Orinoco to be
the limit of their possessions.

I Humboldt says| The Dutch, far from recognizing the Rio Pomeroon or the
Moroco as the limit of their territory, plaiced the boundary at Rio Barima,
consequently near the mouth of the Oroonoko itself, when they draw a line of
demarcation from N. N. W., to S. S. E. towards Cuyuni. Same, p. J2.




1839. R. H. Schomburgk.

The mouth of the Orinoco had always been considered to form the western
boundary of the former Dutch possessions. B. C, VII, jj.

1844. Earl of Aberdeen.

The mouth of the Orinoco always claimed by the Dutch as their western
boundary. Same, p. go.

1875. Governor Longden.

The boundary claimed by the old Dutch Colony, namely, a line from Point
Barima. B. C, VI, 212.


. [1897] George L. Burr.

It was even believed among the [Spanish] missions that the Dutch Oovernor
of Essequiljo claimed jurisdiction as far as a line running due south from the
mouth of the Aguire. This was told their prefect by a fugitive slave, who
claimed to have brought from Essequibo an official document in which this was
shown ; and a Dutchman from Essequibo told the same prefect that the Mission
of Curumo had been destroyed because it lay east of this Hne. The slave-traders
are even said to have once presented a passport m which the Essequibo governor
styled himself " Governor of Essequibo and the mouth of the Orinoco." But all
this is unknown to the Dutch records, and was certainly never reported to the
home authorities. V. C.-C, II, 142.

1762. Director-General in Essequibo.

Register of the Colony of Essequibo, Demerary, and the dependent districts.

Situated on the north coast of South America, at about 7° latitude north and
42° longitude; from the creek Abari on the east to the river Amacura on the
north, and comprising the rivers Demerary, Essequibo, Pomeroon, Weyne, and
the large creeks Maykouny, Maheyka, Wacquebo, and Maroco, being a stretch
of land along the sea-coast of about 120 (Dutch) miles, of 15 in 1°.

Belonging to the Honourable General Chartered West India Company of the
United Netherlands, under the administration of the Chamber of Zeeland.

B. C, II, 2 1 2-2 1 J.

1762. Muster Roll.

Directory of the Colony Essequibo, Demerarij, and dependent districts :
Situate on the north coast of South America . . . from the Creek Abari
on the east to the River Amacura on the north, including the Rivers Demerarij,
Essequibo, Powaron, Weijne, and the large Creeks Maijkounij, Maheijka,
Wacquepo, and Maroco.

Belonging to the . . . West India Company. B. C, VII, 164.

1764, Director- General in Essequibo.

Register of the Colony of Essequibo, Demerary, and dependent districts.

Situated on the north coast of South America, at 7° north latitude and 42^
longitude from the Creek Abari on the east to the River Amacura on the north,
comprising the Rivers Demeiary, Essequibo, Pomeroon. Waini, and the great
Creeks Maykouny, Maheyka, Wacquepo, and Moruka, being a stretch of land
along the sea-coast of about 120 [Dutch] miles of 15 in 1° belonging to the Char-
tered West India Company. B. C. ///, 118-119.



1765. Muster Roll.

Directory of the Colony Essequibo, Demerarij, and dependent district :
Situate on the north coast of South America . . . from the Creek Abari
on the east to the River Aiuacnra on the north, including the Rivers Dim-
merarij, Essequibo, Povvaron, Weijne, and the large Creeks Maijkounij, Maheijka,
Wacquepo, and Maroco.

Belonging to the . . . West India Company. B. C, VII, i6^-

1839. R. H. Schomburgk.

When ... in the possession of the Netherlands ... its limits
were considered to extend from Punta Barima ... to the nioutli of
the River Amacnra, following the Caiio Cuyuni ... to its source, from
whence it was supposed to stretch . . . towards the River Cuyuni, . . .
and from thence southward towards the Massaruni. Same, p. 4.



1 741. Storm van 's Gravesande, Secretary in Essequibo.

He [Nicolas Hortsman] had considered it necessary to remain above [up the
Essequibo] where lie had planted the flag' and cleared a bread garden.

B. C, II, 32.
1 741. Commandeur in Essequibo.

It is fully two months ago since Jacques Donacq (who attended to the Post in
Essequibo in place of the deceased Jacobus van der Burg) came to me to report
how an Indian had arrived at the Post, and had informed him, by order of the
Surgeon Hortsman, that he had planted the flag of your Honours by the Lake
of Parima, and had taken possession of the land, had cleared a cassava
garden there, and had dispatched Christiaen Reijs over sea to give a further
account of the journey which had succeeded according to his wish. Savie, p. jj.

1749. Commandeur in Essequibo.

Having written to the Governor of Cumana that, if he persisted in the design
of founding a Mission in the River Cuyuni, I should be obliged to oppose
myself thereagainst effectually, he has replied to me that such was without his
knowledge (not the founding of the new [Mission], but the site), and that it should
not be progressed with, as in reality nothing has been done. On the map your
Honours will find the place marked, as also the site of the one already estab-

The discoveries made in our neighborhood by the Spaniards in the year 1748,
[1747 on his map] a copy . . . whereof ... I have been able to obtain
cognizance of, is also of no small advantage for us — that notorious sea of Parime
. . . having now at last been discovered and found, and even, according
to the map, situated within our jurisdiction. Same, p. 6j.

1754. Court of Policy.

I had the honour some years ago to inform your Honours that they [Spanish]
had located a Mission in the Creek Mejou, which flows into the Cuyuni, . . .
this Mission was so absolutely and indisputably on our territory.

Same, p. gj.

These two Missions are not in the Creek Mejou, but some miles lower on the
River Cuyuni itself. Same, p. g^.



1758. British Case.

The Director-General of Essequibo addressed to the Commandant at Guay-
ana a letter of remonstrance as to this raid [on the Cuyuui Post in 1758J. In this
letter the claim of the Dutch to the territory is assumed as indisputable.

B. C, 4g.

1758. Director-General in Essequibo.

That the Post of your Lordships' Company was on Spanish ground, which is
utterly and indisputably untrue. . . . It is my opinion that this river [Cuyiini]
is of the greatest importance to youi' Lordships, much more so than any one of
the others, and also that it is perfectly certain and indisputable that they [Span-
iards] have not the slig-htest claim to it. If your Lordships will . . . look
at the map of this country, drawn by Mr. D'Anville, . . . your Lordships will
clearly see that this is so. Our boundaries, too, are defined in a way which
proves that the compiler was very well informed. B. C, IT, 144.

1759. Director-General in Essequibo.

There not being tlie slightest difficulty or doubt concerning' the owner-
ship of this portion of Essequibo, most undoubtedly belonging, as it does, to the
West India Company, this unexpected and unheard-of act [destruction of the
Cuyuni Post] is a violation of all existing Treaties — a violation even of the uni-
versal law of nations, and as a matter of the greatest importance it demands your
Lordships' attention and vigilance. Same, p. iy2.

1759. Resolutions of the States- General.

Remonstrance of the Directors of the West India Company, . . . set-
ting forth that they . . . have been from time immemorial in undisturbed
possession, not alone of the aforesaid River Essequibo, but also of all the
branches and tributaries . . . and especially of the northernmost arm of the
same river, called the Cuyuni. . . . They, ... in virtue of that posses-
sion, have always considered the said River Cuyuni as a domain of this
State. Same, p. 176.

1759. Ambassador of States-General at Madrid.

[The States-General] have been from time immemorial in undisturbed
possession of the River Essequibo, and all the little rivers which flow into it,
and especially of the right arm of the said river, which flows northward, and is
called tlie Cuyuui ; that, in virtue of the said possession, his masters have for a
very long- time considered the whole of the said river as a domain belonging
to them, and have consequently caused to be constructed ... an outpost
as to which the Spanish Governors have never raised any objection, or made
the least complaint, understanding that such outposts are absolutely necessary to
us for the maintenance of the peace of the Colony against the raids of the sav-
ages, and are constructed with noother object. V. C, II, ijj.

1761. Director-General in Essequibo.

There can be no dispute about it with the Court of Spain, it being only too
clear and evident that the [Cuyuni] Post not only stood upon the . . .
Company's territory, but tliat that territory extends much farther.

B. C, II, igg.



1765. Director-General in Essequibo.

[An Indian scout reports] that preparations are being made to establish a
new Mission between Cuyuiii and Mazaruni, that is, in the middle of onr land.

B. C, III, 121.
1767. Director- General in Essequibo.

If no redress can be obtained at the Court of Spain, to use reprisals against
the Missions, situated on our frontier, even on our territory ; I think they
would then be brought to reason. Same, p. 143.

1767. West India Company (Amsterdam Chamber).

Tlie natural meaning of the expression " Essequibo and adjoined or subor-
dinate rivers " is not that which the Zeeland Chief Participants attribute to it,
(namely, that all the places which are situate on the mainland of the so-called
Wild Coast, between the boundaries which the Chief Participants themselves
have . . . defined as extending from Moruka to Mahaicony, or from Rio
Berbice as far as the Orinoco, are " adjoined, subordinate to, and inseparable
from " the Colony Essequibo), but, on the contrary, only this, that under that de-
scription are comprehended the various mouths and rivers, originating from
Rio Essequibo or emptying into it, which are marked on the map, such as, for
instance, Cuyuni, Massaruni, Sepenouwy, and Magnouwe. Satne, p. 147.

1769. [1897] George L. Burr.

But. in 1769, another remonstrance to the Spanish Court, drawn by the Zee-
land Chamber of the West India Company, urged by the Stadhouder, and
adopted by the States-General, stated or implied defluite claims as to terri-
torial boundary in Guiana. On the coast the Dutch territor)^ is represented as
stretching to beyond the Waini; in the interior, to a point between the Dutch
post on tlie Cuyuni and the nearest Spanish Missions. This is the one docu-
ment known to the diplomatic correspondence of the two countries which suggests
the place of the boundary. V. C.-C, II, igo.

1769. Remonstrance of the States-General.

A Spanish detachment coming from the Orinoco had come above that Post
and had carried off several Indians, threatening to return at the first following
dry season and visit Masseroeny, another arm of the Essequibo, lying between
that and the Cuyuni River, and, therefore, also unquestionably forming part of
the territory of tlie Republic, ... and then to descend the River Masse-
roeny, ascend the Cuyuni and visit the Company's said Post in Cuyuni.


1776. Director-General in Essequibo.

It is a pity that that boundary line, if I may call it so, lies so far up the
[Essequibo] river. Same, p. 140.

1875. Governor Longden.

The boundary claimed by the old Dutch Colony, namely, a line from Point
Barima, where an old Dutch post subsisted, to the Dutch post on the Cuyuni,

(opposite to the ancient fort marked on the map as " the most easterly Spanish
Post- Humboldt") is the boundary which I understand to have been always
claimed by Great Britain. This boundary is indicated ... on the large
map of . . . Schomburgk's surveys . . . corrected . . . by . . .
Chalmers and Sawkins ... in 1872. . . . This line . . . includes
both banks of the Amacura River. B. C, VI, 212.



-. Venezuelan Counter Case.

No claim to the whole of this coast was ever made by the Dutch.

V. C.-C, i6.

-. [1897J. George L. Burr.

Thus, in 1669, the Dutch West India Company conceded to the German
Count of Hanau a strip thirty Dutch miles broad, . . . the grant reads:
. , . " A piece of land situated on the wild coast of America, between
the river Oronoque and the river of the Amazons," adding the condition, " which
His Excellency will be entitled to select provided he keeps at least six Dutch
miles from other colonies there established or founded by the said chartered West
India Company, or with its consent."

Tliat tlie grant implies that the wliole Wild Coast was counted by the
West India Company open to Dutch colonization cannot be questioned. It
seems to imply also that there were still on that coast unoccupied stretches of
thirty Dutch miles in breadth lying at least six miles distant from the Dutch
establishments of Surinam, Berbice, and Essequibo ; and that such a stretch
might by the Dutch be granted outright, even to a foreigner. But it does not
assert an exclusive Dutcli rig-ht to colonize tliat coast ; and . . . Great
Britain and . . . France were also freely granting patents of territory on
the Guiana coast, and . . . there has been found no record of the slightest
Dutch protest against it. . . . It should be added that the colony of the Count
of Hanau was a flash in the pan, no attempt ever being made to establish it.

V. C.-C, II, 26-27.

From the terms of these grants may unquestionably be inferred the as-
sumption by the Dutch (xovernment of a right to plant colonies, either
directly or through the West India Company, in the district known as the Wild
Coast. There is, liowever, in none of them, anything to suggest that this was
counted exclusively a Dutch right; nor is there in them any claim of
sovereignty over this coast as a whole. Same, p. 28.

Of any claim by the Dutch to (Tuiaua as a whole, or to any part of its
western coast, there is thus far [1613] no intimation. Same, p. jS.

Neither in connection with the early trading expeditions to Guiana nor with
the first projects for its colonization is there now to be found in Dutch records
a claim to definite territory there. The most that is anywhere urged is that
this region is not yet occupied by the Spaniards or the Portuguese, and is there-
fore open to trade or to settlement. Same, p. 176.

But wliile there is . . . .abundant evidence of a claim of the Dutch
to plant colonies freely on the coast of truiana from the Amazon to the
Orinoco, I have found in Dutch records no claim, as against other European
states, of an exclusive right thus to colonize Guiana ; and no protest at any
timeL against the similar attempts which, throughout the greater part of this
(i8th) century, the English and the French were likewise making to plai.t colonies
on this coast. Same, p. iSo.

I. The whole coast of (iuiana was, from the beginning of the seventeenth
century, loolied on by the Dutch as open to colonization ; but no exclusive
claim to that coast, as a whole, seems ever to have been made by them.

Same, p. igo.



• [1897] George L. Burr.

2, From 1621 to 1674 the right to colonize that coast on behalf of the Dutch
was vested in the Dutch West India Company, which was empowered by its
charter to settle unoccupied districts. That Company, while freely exercising
this right of colonization, and granting lands for its exercise by others, has left
on record no definition of the limits of its occupation in Guiana, and no claim as
to a boundary on the side of the Spanish colonies. V. C.-C, II, igo.

1632. States-General,

None of the said vessels shall be permitted ... to sail to the coasts of
African or to New Netherlands, or any other place where the Company may trade ;
but shall be permitted to sail to the coast of Brazil ; item, in the West Indies, to
wit, the River Oronocque westwards along the coast of Carthagena, Portobello,