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

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British Consul for the erection of such a lighthouse in 1836 was unknown
to and unauthorized by the British Gov ernment of the day.

B. C, VII, 124-123.

1890. Foreign Office to Senor Urbaneja.

Her Majesty's Government could not accept . . . any arrangement which
did not admit the British title to the territory comprised within the line laid
down by . . . Schomburgk in 1841. They would . . . refer to arbitra-
tion . . . certain territories to the west of that line. Same, p. /jj.

1890, Foreign Office.

The claim of Great Britain . . . to the whole basin of the Cuyuni
and Yuruari is . . . solidly founded, and the greater part of the district
has been for three centuries under continuous settlement by the Dutch, and

by the British as their successors.

Her Majesty's Government . . . cannot admit any question as to
their title to territory within tlie line surveyed by . . . Schomburgk in
1841, and laid down on Hebert's map. ... On the other hand. Her
Majesty's Government do not wish to insist on the extreme limit of their claim,
. . . and as an indication of good-will towards Venezuela they would be ready
to abandon a portion of that claim . . . between the Schomburgk line and
their extreme claim . . . and ... to submit their claims to the arbitra-
tion of a third party. Same, p. 137.




(Jreat Britain . . . [by] a . . . reco^iiiiioii of the ri^ht of Yene-
zuela to the main stream of the Orinoco . . . including- Point Hariina
and the adjacent district . . . "would at once and unconditionally abandon
a considerable portion of territory of which she is in actual occupation.

That territory . . . accrued to the Netherlands under the Treaty of
Munster of 1648 by right of previous occupation. It was constantly held and
claimed by the States-General in succeeding years. It was publicly and effect-
ively occupied by direat Britain during the wars at the close of the last cen-
tury, and the formal transfer of the country so occupied was effected by the
Treaty of . . . 1S14. B. C, VII, 140.

Her Majesty's Government . . . cannot consent to snbmit to arbitra-
tion what they regard as their indisputable title to districts in the possession of
the British Colony.

Every fresh investigation tends only to enforce and enlarge that title.

Same, p. 141.

1893. Earl of Rosebery.

Her Majesty's Ciovernnient consider that it is quite impossible that they
should consent to revert to the status quo of 1850, and evacuate what has
for some years constituted an integral portion of British Guiana.

Same, p. 14J,

1895, Earl of Kimberley.

I reminded his Excellency [Mr. Bayard] that, although Her Majesty's Gov-
ernment were ready to go to arbitration as to a certain portion of the territory,
which I had pointed out on the map, they could not consent to any departure
from the Schomburgk line. V. C.-C, III, 2^g.

Great Britain has throughout been prepared to make large abatements
from her extreme claim, although Her Majesty's Government have been con-
tinually accumulating stronger documentary proofs of the correctness of
that extreme claim as being their inheritance from their Dutch predecessors.

Same, p. 260.

1895. Lord Salisbury.

The title of Great Britain to the territory in question is derived, in the first
place, from conquest and military occupation of the Dutch settlements in 1796.
Both on this occasion, and at the time of a previous occupation of those settle-
ments in 1 78 1, the British authorities marked the western boundary of their pos-
sessions as beginning some distance np the Orinoco beyond Point Barima, in
accordance with the limits claimed and actually held by the Dutch, and this has
always since remained the frontier claimed by Great Britain. Same, p. 27 j.

The claim which had been put forward on behalf of Venezuela by General
Guzman Blanco in . . . 1877, would involve the surrender of a province
now inhabited by 40,000 British subjects, and which had been in the unin-
terrupted possession of Holland and of Great Britain successively for two
centuries. Same, p. 280.




1895. Lord Salisbury.

The Government of Great Britain have from the first held the same view
as to the extent of territory which they are entitled to claim as a matter of
right. It comprised the coast-line up to the River Amacura, and the whole
basin of the Essequibo River and its tribntaries.

As regards the rest, that which lies within the so-called Sehoniburgk
line, they do not consider tliat the rights of Great Britain are open
to qnestion. Even within that line they have, on various occasions, oflered
to Venezuela considerable concessions as a matter of friendship and concilia-
tion, and for the purpose of securing an amicable settlement of the dispute.
If as time has gone on the concessions thus offered diminished in extent, and have
now been withdrawn, this has been the necessary consequence of the gradual
spread over the country of British settlements, which Her Majesty's Government
cannot in justice to the inhabitants offer to surrender to foreign rule, and the
justice of such withdrawal is amply borne out by the researches in the national
archives of Holland and Spain, which have further and more convincing evi-
dence in support of the British claims. V. C.-C, III, 28J.


1 78 1. British Case.

In 1 78 1 the British captured the Dutch Colony, and . . . surveyed . . .
the coast to a point beyond the Barima, ... A map was drafted by the ofifi-
cer in charge of this expedition and published in London in 1783. I'pon this
map, \atlas, p. jo\ there is a note which makes the western boundary of the
Colony commence at the Barima, show n in the position really occupied by
the Amakuru. B. C, jy-jS.

1783. L. S. de la Rochette.

C. Barima, Cape Breme of the Dutch. Western boundary of the Dutch
according- to their Claim. B. C. atlas, map jo.

1798. Thomas Walker.

The boundary between the Spanish Grovernment [and British Gniaua] is

a line running N. & S. from Cape Breme ; which forms one of the mouths of the
River Oronocco, & is about 60 or 70 miles to the N. W. of Morocco.

Sa7)ie, map j^.
1798. Friedrich von Bouchenroeder.

Ancien poste HoUandaise Sur les Limites des possessions Espagnoles. [on
east or right bank of the Barima River]. Same, map jj.

1 801. British Case.

In 1 SOI, the British Commandant was ordered to report on the extent
of the Colony. His report was illustrated by a chart {atlas, p. jy] which shows
the boundary commencing' at Barima and includes the territories claimed by
the Dutch in their Remonstrances. B. C.,p. 62.

1839. Governor Light.

Mr. Schomburgk . . . having furnished me with the annexed memoir
and map. [ V. C. atlas, f/iap S2\. B. C, VII, J.




1839. Governor Light.

The views of Mr. Schomburgk can be traced with accomp.inyin§: map. [ V.

C. atlas, map 82?^ B. C, VII, 2.

1839. R. H. Schomburgk.

[Map of] British Guiana to explain a memoir on its boundaries.

Shows the North-South boundary and also boundaries claimed by Venezu-
ela and by Brazil " by which, if acceded to, British Guiana would lose more
than half its Territory." B. C. atlas, map 4J.

1840. Lord Russell to Governor Light.

But you will be pleased to adopt the spirit of those views in respect of any
militarj' occupation or any aggression upon the Indians within the line which is
assumed in Mr. Schomburg:k's map as bounding the Colony under your
government. Blue Book, Venezuela, No. i, {iSg6) p. i8g.

1 841. R. H. Schomburgk.

Map's of the limits of British Guiana surveyed under Her Majesty's Commis-
sion by Robert H. Schomburgk — ist section.

The limits between British Guiana and Venezuela. Drawn by Robert H.
Schomburgk, colored by Edward Goodall.

Shows expanded Schomburgk line. B. C. atlas, map 44.

1841. R. H. Schomburgk.

Map's of the limits of British Guiana surveyed under Her Majesty's Commis-
sion by Robert H. Schomburgk.

General map No. i. The limits between British Guiana and Venezuela
Drawn and coloured by Robert H. Schombui^k.

Shoius expanded Schomburgk line, with the note " Western limit of British
Guiana as claimed under Her Majesty's Commission." Same, map 46.

1842. [1898] L.J. Hebert.

Map of British Guiana constructed from the surreys and routes of Captn.
Schomburgk, and other documents in the possession of the Colonial Depart-
ment. Drawn at the Military Depot, Quarter Master Generals Office, Horse
Guards, by L. J. Hebert, April, 1842.

Shows expanded Schomburgk line. Same, map jS.

" The Western Boundary of British Guiana on this Map from the Source of
the Essequibo to the Boundary Post on the Cuyuni at the mouth of the Acarabisi
is the line proposed by Mr. Schomburgk to be determined by Survey.*'

Same, map jg.
1842. Senor Fortique.

It ought to be observed that the line which has been traced is not that
deemed by her Majesty's Government to be the fi'ontier of English Guiana,
but that which Commissioner Schomburgk thought proper to lay down.

B. C, VII, So.
1846. H. Mahlmann.

Karte von Britisch-Gnyana . . . vornehmlich nach den in den Jahren
1835-44 veranstalteten, im Colonial Office zu London befindhchen Aufnahmen des
Sir Robert H. Schomburgk, 1846.

Shows north-south boundary. Same, map 40.




1873. Charles Barrington Brown.

Geological map of British Guiana.

The attached map [t/iis map], containing the geological work of this survey,
is from tracings of Sir Robert Schomhurgk's large map (reduced one-half),
furnished by the Colonial Ollice.

Fo?- the boundary, see V. C. atlas, inap 4.

Reports on Geology of British Guiana, Svo., London, i8js^ P- 4-

We were engaged ... in copying Sir R. Schomburgk's large map, to
serve as a basis for our geological work as directed by the Colonial office.

Same, p. ji.

As far as Otoniong Riyer, which forms the boundary line between the Col-
ony and Venezuela. Same, p. 36.

The boundary line of Venezuela according to the map furnished us.

Same, p. 44.

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 (op-
posite 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 by a line on the large map of
British Guiana constructed from Sir Robert Schomburgk's surveys, and cor-
rected to the present time by Messrs. Chalmers and Sawkins, and published
in 1872. B. C, VI, 212.

1875. Great Colonial Map by Stanford. First Editio7i.

Map of British Guiana compiled from the surveys executed under her
Majesty's Commission from 1841 to 1844. And under the direction of the Royal
Geographical Society from 1835 to 1839. By Sir Robert Schomburgk, K. R.

E., Ph. D. Revised and corrected to the present lime by Cathcart Chalmers, Esq.,
crown surveyor of the Colony, and James J. Sawkins, Esq., Director of the Geo-
logical Survey of the West Indies and British Guiana. With additions by Charles
B. Brown, Esq. Engraved under the superintendence of William Walker, Esq.,
1875. London.

Note. The boundaries indicated in this map are those laid down by the
late Sir Robert Schomburgk, who was engaged in exploring the Colony during
the years 1835 to 1839, under the direction of the Royal Geographical Society.
But the boundaries thus laid down between Brazil on the one side and Venezuela
on the other and the Colony of British Guiana must not be taken as authoritative ;
as they have never been adjusted by the respective governments ; and an engage-
ment subsists between the Governments of Great Britain and Venezuela by
which neither is at liberty to encroach upon or occupy territory claimed by both.

B. C. atlas, map, 41.

[1886.] Same. Second Edition.

Above note omitted : shows expanded Schomburgk line.

Same, tnap, 42.




1879. E. F. im Thurn.

Scliomburgk marked the boundary as conceived by liiin in a map, which,

after lying unpublished for some 30 years, formed the basis of the geological
map published in 1873 by Charles Barrington Brown, and whicli was itself
published in 1877 (though dated in 1875) under theauspices of the Government
of British Guiana. Either this last published map or Brown's geological map
may be consulted with a view to ascertain the boundaries which seemed most
suitable to Scliomburgk. U. S. Com., II, 7/j,

1897. George L. Burr.

I have again this morning studied most carefully, with glass and with naked
eye, the final map — the so-called " Physical Map " — ... of Schombui'gk,
of 1844. There is surely on it no suggestion of boundary anywhere and I

cannot believe there ever has been. V. C.-C, III,joj.


. Venezuelan Case.

At the time of the acquisition by Great Britain of the colony now known as
British Guiana, the territories belonging to or that might lawfully be
claimed by the United Netherlands were all located east of the Essequibo
rlTer. V. C, 2J4-2JJ.

. British Counter Case.

It is not true that at the time of the acquisition by Great Britain of the
Colony now known as British Guiana, the territories belonging to, or that
might lawfully be claimed by the United Netherlands, were all located east
of the Essequibo River ; on the contrary, they extended as far as the Amakuru,
and embraced all the territory eastward of the Schomburgk line, and a very con-
siderable tract of territory to the westward and outside the Schomburgk line.

B. C.-C, 141.

. Venezuelan Case.

The boundary line between the United States of Venezuela and the Colony
of British Guiana, begins at the mouth of the Essequibo river; runs thence
southward along the mid channel of said river to its junction with the Cuyuni
and Mazaruni rivers ; thence around the island of Kykoveral, leaving said island
to the east ; thence along the mid channel of said Essequibo river to the
boundary line separating the territory of the United States of Venezuela from the
territory of the United States of Brazil. V. C, sj^-sjd.

. British Counter Case.

The boundary to which Great Britain is entitled includes a considerable
tract of territory to the westward, and outside of the Schomburgk line, and

Great Britain is in any event entitled to all the territory up to the line drawn by
Sir R. Schomburgk in 1841. B. C.-C, 142.

Recognizing, however, the fact of the establishment of Spanish Missions

during the eighteenth century on territory south of the Orinoco, in the neighbor-
hood of the river Yuruari, which Missions continued to exist up to the year 1817,
the Government of Great Britain has never actively sought to press its claim
to that portion of the district north-west of the Cuyuni. in which Missions were
actually situated. Same, p. 6.




. British Counter Case.

[The Colony] of Essequibo was for a long period the chief settlement, and
besides the district of the Essequibo and its tributaries iiieluded the rivers and
districts of Pomerooii, Waiiii, and Barima on the west. Subsequently, Deme-
rara became the leading settlement and the seat of the Colonial Government has
been at Georgetown in Demerara, Essequibo becoming the name of a county
which included all the territory [in British Guiana] to the West of the Boerasirie
Creek. B. C.-C, 7.

In 1840 . . Seliomburgk . . . laid down a line ivliich com-

nicnced at the mouth of the Amakuru, followed that river to its source in the
Imataka mountains, thence followed the crest of that ridge to the sources of the
Acarabisi Creek, and descended that creek to the Cuyuni, ivliicll it followed to
its source in Mount Roraima.

This line . . . would have given to Venezuela a larg'e tract of terri-
tory north and west of the Cuyuni which was never occupied by the Spanish
Missions, which was, on the other hand, formally claimed by the Dutch.

Same, p. iS.

Prior to 179(> the Dutch, and, since that date, tlie British, have been in
possession of all the territory now in dispute. Same, pp. iS-ig.

From early in the eighteenth century down to the present time, the Dutch
and their successors, the British, have had political control over all the ter-
ritory now in dispute.

Neither the Spaniards nor the Venezuelans ever had possession of any of the
territory in dispute.

Neither the Spaniards nor the Venezuelans ever exercised any political control
over the territory now in dispute.

By the recognized principles of international law, Great Britain is entitled
to a territory far more extensive than that which she is at present claiming.

Same, p. ig.

In 1665 the English captured the [Pomeroon] colony, storming the Dutch
fort of Moruka. The extent and importance of the settlement was such that
possession of it was regarded as carrying with it the country right up to the
Orinoco. Same, p. 28.

For the purposes of militia organization and parochial division, no account
was taken of territory beyond the Pomeroon . . . [but] British officers
never regarded the Colony as so limited. Sajue, p. loS.

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

Same, p. iiS.

Schomburgk did not discover or invent any new boundaries. . . .
He . . . ascertained tlie limits of Dutch possession, and the zone from
which all trace of Spanish influence was absent. On such data he based his
reports. Same, p. 121.

In 1 836 a correspondence had passed between the Venezuelan authorities
and the British Consul at Caracas . . . [regarding] a beaicon on Cape




Bariina . . . This correspondence was in no way authorized by the
British Government, and they had no knowledge of it until it was commu-
nicated to them in 1842. B. C.-C, 122.

. British Counter Case.

Her Majesty's Government submit that, putting aside for the moment all
question of a title derived from the Dutch, Great Britain has, at this moment,
and had, at the date of tlie Treaty of Arbitration,full and complete political
possession of this territory, and that the Venezuelan Case discloses no evi-
dence of any facts sufficient to displace it. Same, p. 124.

That this offer [of 1844] was extremely generous cannot be denied, and it
was prompted by Lord Aberdeen's desire to come to a speedy and amicable
arrangement with a weaker Power whom Great Britain had so often befriended
in the past, and was ready to help again. . . . Lord Aberdeen's proposal,
when communicated some time later to the Government of British Guiana, was
found to he unnecessarily unfavourable to tlie Colony, even to the extent of
interfering* with settled districts, ... In fact, it was generally consid-
ered to have been made in a spirit of undue concession. Satne, pp. 124-12^.


. British Case.

The Dutch and the British have for centuries been in full possession of . . .
both sides of the Essequibo below the point where it is joined by the Masaruni.
. . . This carries with it the right to the whole basin of the Essequibo
and its tributaries, except in so far as any portion of that basin may have been
occupied by another Power. . . . Such right can only be rebutted by proof
of actual occupation by another Power. There is not even a pretence of such
occupation by Spain or Venezuela except as regards ... the neighborhood
of the Yuruari.

The title of the British to the basin of the Essequibo and its tributaries is
greatly strengthened by the fact that the only permanent means of access
to by far the greater part of the upper portion of this basin is by these streams
themselves. B. C, 161.

The occupation and control of the coast would of itself carry with it, in

the absence of any competing occupation, the right to the basins of the Rivers
Pomeroon, Moruka, Waini, and Barima ; bnt the evidence also establishes
actual possession of the greater part of tliese rivers. The British are there-
fore rightfully in possession of the whole coast, ... to the right bank of the
Amakuru. ... In the absence of actual occupation by any other Power tbey are
thus entitled to the whole hinterland of this range of coast, extending to the
watershed constituted by the Pacaraima range, of which Mount Roraima, where
the Cuyuni rises, forms part, and further east by the Akarai range, in which
the Essequibo has its source. Same, p. i6j.

Towards the coast tlie Amakuru constitutes tlie natural boundary be-
tween the territory occupied and controlled by the British and that occupied and
controlled by the Venezuelans. . . . Tlie Imataka mountains and the range



of hills constituting tlie water-shed between the tributaries of the Orinoco and
those of the Cuyuni and Massaruni form the boundary of the river basin to
which Great Britain \?> prima facie entitled. B. C, i6j.

. Venezuelan Case.

There is no pretence that any new title has been acquired by Great
Britain since 1S40 ; and the definition of the present boundary must, therefore,
depend upon the extent of Dutch and Spanish rights in 1803, . . . The

Essequibo settlement was always, until very recent years, confined to the mouth
of that river ; and . . . Great Britain's present pretensions to territory west
of that stream have not, in fact, as they could not have in law, anything in the
history of the present century to support them. V. C, 162.

The occupation by British subjects or by persons under British protection,
of the territory above described, . . . was undertalien after due warning
from the Venezuelan Government that titles thus sought to be acquired would
not be recognized, and after due notice from the British Government that persons
so entering into said territory must do so at their own peril. Same, p. 237.

. British Counter Case.

This proposition is inaccurate. The occupation by British subjects, or by
Indians under British protection, of the territory referred to, existed for many
years before 1880. B. C.-C, /jj.

. Venezuelan Case.

A nation is bound to faithfully observe its treaty engagements ; and no acts
committed by it in violation of such engagements can be made the basis of title,
especially as against the nation with whom such treaty was concluded.

V. C, 22g.

. British Counter Case.

A nation is bound to faithfully observe its Treaty engagements, but it is not
true that no acts committed by it, though in violation of such engagements, can
be made the basis of title. In some cases title can be acquired by the exercise of
hostile or adverse acts. B. C.-C, ijo.

. Venezuelan Case.

Neither the early relations of the Dutch with Guiana prior to 1648, nor the es-
tablishment by them, prior to said date, of a trading post in the Essequibo river,
gave them a right to the soil, nor sovereignty over the territory occupied.

V. C, 230-231.

. British Counter Case.

The relations of the Dutch in Guiana prior to 1648, and the establishment by
them, prior to that date, of their settlements and Posts on the Essequibo and
elsewhere, gave them, and were recognized by Spain as giving them, a right to
the soil and sovereignty over the territory occupied.

The Dutch, from the time of the establishment of their Posts upon the Esse-
quibo and elsewhere, weie entitled to extend their Colonies and possessions.

B. C.-C, 138.
1814. Venezuelan Counter Case.

[Tiic British Case admits] that the sole title of Great Britain to British
Guiana is the title conveyed to licr by the Dutch in 1811. V. C.-C, 13.



i84[. R. H. Schomburgk.

The fall Mecoro-Vussu. . . . It is not known to the Indians inhabiting
these regions that white men had ever penetrated so far before ... I
considered it of importance to trace it [Barinia River] hi^lier up, as, by
its western course on its ascent every mile would add to the British terri-
tory. B. C, VII, 23.

Great Britain has not undertaken the question of determinating the bounda-
ries of British Guiana upon the principles of aggrandizement. She does not

Online LibraryRafael SeijasVenezuela-British Guiana boundary arbitration. Digest of evidence arranged according to subjects → online text (page 16 of 45)