Remnants Of The Early Dutch in Guyana – 1616-1815 – By Dmitri Allicock

Remnants Of The Early Dutch in Guyana  – 1616-1815 – By Dmitri Allicock

Flag - Dutch West Indian Company

Flag – Dutch West Indian Company

Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America, but English has been the official language for less than half the time Europeans occupied the country. The Dutch language was the main medium of communication for 232 years, from the time a group of Dutchmen sailed up the Pomeroon River and settled there, to 1812 when English replaced Dutch as the language used in the Court of Policy (Parliament). To this day, hundreds of villages have retained their original Dutch names like Uitvlugt, Vergenoegen and Zeeburg. Some present-day Guyanese have names like Westmaas, Van Lange and Meertens. No Guyanese citizen or visitor can escape visible and other reminders of our Dutch predecessors.

The ruins of a brick fort can still be seen on a little island where the Essequibo, Mazaruni and Cuyuni rivers meet. The original fort was a wooden structure built around 1600 by some Dutch traders who called it Kyk-over-al or “See-over-all” because it provided a commanding view of the three rivers.     

From 1627 the fort was controlled by the Dutch West India Company, a Holland-based organization which was vested with the power to establish colonies and which monopolized Dutch trade in the New World. The Company appointed Adrianetz Groenewegel as its first Commander to administer Kyk-over-al. The wooden fort was replaced in the 1630s by a brick structure which also served as an administrative centre.

Read More : The Remnants of The Early Dutch in Guyana

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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 04/28/2013 at 3:59 am

    Dmitri, thanks for sharing that piece of our history. Guyana has a colorful past. It should make some intriguing historical fiction for those prepared to do the research.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 04/28/2013 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks Rosaliene

  • Deen  On 04/28/2013 at 8:48 pm

    Dmitri, you have done an excellent piece of work in documenting this important chapter of our history. Thanks so much for sharing this piece and educating us about Guyana’s historical and interesting past.

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 04/28/2013 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks Deen and glad to hear from you.

  • Cyril balkaran  On 04/29/2013 at 2:04 am

    The entire sea defence all over the Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice have been built by the Dutch while they occupied and owned the Country, that is until the British beat them to create a retreat into Suriname and stayed there while the British occupied and ruled British Guiana. Today those sea walls form the powerful sea defence that Guyana Knows. We are building over their infrastructure and helping to save the Cosatal Regions from further damages and erosion. Thank you Dmitri Allicock for the passion of your researches!

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 05/02/2013 at 8:17 pm

    Bless you Cyril and glad to hear from you.

  • Beatrice Adams  On 01/18/2020 at 7:26 pm

    I have nieces and nephews with the name OPRECHT, pronounced, OPRECK. Their dad was a Dutchman.

    • Trevor  On 01/18/2020 at 9:42 pm

      Is it true that Dutch people are giants? Are your nieces 6 foot tall, with the males reaching 7 foot?

  • Dmitri Allicock  On 01/18/2020 at 8:20 pm


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