Daily Archives: 06/17/2011

British Guiana in 1853

British Guiana in 1853 – 15 years after slavery was abolished

Written by LandownerJohn Brumell

British Guiana in 1853  – Page 1

British_Guiana in 1853  PDF copy of Book 135 pages.

This is an extremely important book as it gives a snapshot of British Guiana almost 160 years ago…. in 1853.  It is interesting, even with its biased analysis of the colony as viewed by a landowner and colonist.

The writer gives a brief history of the three colonies – Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice – that were combined to form British Guiana now Guyana.

He highlights the difficult geography, drainage and irrigation problems and the shifting coastlines are expalined in detail, and the use of steam pumps for drainage. Many of the same problems of  drainage remain to this day.

Most of all he notes the falling production of sugar, coffee and cotton after abolition, and the efforts to recruit workers to fill the labour needs. Workers were recruited from other West Indian islands, Africa, Madeira, China and most of all India.

 Original Published by: T. Bosworth in 1853 in 133 pages; Subjects: Slaves; Blacks; Guyana; Labor; Working class; Labor and laboring classes; Business & Economics / Labor; History / Latin America / South America; Political Science / Labor & Industrial Relations; Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies; Social Science / Slavery.

Amerindians – The Wai Wai

Amerindians – The Wai Wai

by Peter Halder

The Wai Wai is now an endangered Amerindian tribe in Guyana. In 2007, according to International Cry online website, there were only 240 Wai Wai left in Guyana.

Amerindian Tribes
The Wai Wai is one of nine indigenous Amerindian tribes in Guyana. The others include the Patamona, Arecuna, Macusi, Wapisiana, Carib, Warrau, Arawak and Akawaio.

Wai Wai means “tapioca people” and they were given that name because of the enormous amount of the tapioca (cassava) they eat.

Early History
The Wai Wai people and its tribal territory were discovered by the famous explorer R. Schomburgk during his exploration of the province of Essequibo in 1837.

U.S. Protestant Missionaries established a permanent Christian Mission near the Wai Wai tribal area in the 1950s. The Paramount Chief of the Wai Wai and his tribe converted to Christianity by the end of the 1950s.

The Wai Wai live in small remote villages in the southernmost tropical forest of Guyana. They migrated from Brazil in the early 19th century and their population increased to some 1,250. As the tribe expanded , so too did trade and marriage contracts. When the Protestant Mission was established, nearly all the Wai Wai relocated near to it. In the 1970s, due to the uprising in the Rupununi area and events that followed, there was massive re-migration of the Wai Wai back to Brazil. By 1989, there was only one major tribal area remaining.

The Wai Wai dialect is similar to that of the Carib. The Umana Yana Amerindian structure in Kingston, Georgetown, is a Wai Wai word meaning “meeting place.”

Tribal Land
Their tribal land, to which they hold title, covers about some 2,300 square miles. The area is known as Konashen and includes the headwaters of the mighty Essequibo River.
The paramount Chief of the people is the Kayaritomo. The Medicine Man is called a Yaskomo.                Continue reading