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information from the Indians, and one of them survived, returning to England after being held in a Spanish gaol for some time. His story encouraged Raleigh, who fitted out an expedition under the command of Lawrence Keymis. The expedition sailed along the Guiana coast from the Amazon to the Orinoco, where Keymis collected more material for the mythology of El Dorado, and returned to England. Within a few weeks another expedition inspired by Raleigh was on its way to Guiana under the command of Captain Berry, who penetrated, among other rivers, the Courantyne, which today forms the boundary between Dutch and British Guiana. He heard that goo Spaniards were settled on the Essequibo but it appears that within a short while this settlement was at an end, the colonists either dead or dispersed.
In 1598 the Dutch made their first voyage to Guiana, a voyage entirely of inspection. The Dutch reports frequently mention meetings with small English vessels up the rivers and it seems clear that the English made trading voyages among the Guiana Indians, who were very friendly to them. In 1604 Captain Charles Leigh arrived at the Oyapok River, in what is now French Guiana, with the intention of starting a settlement. At first his only difficulties were a mutinous crew, but after some months disease and lack of food were added, and Leigh himself went into a decline, finally dying. A ship full of cargo for the colonists was blown off its course and its crew and passengers murdered by Carib Indians, so that the survivors of Leigh's expedition were left to themselves. Gradually they were rescued by visiting merchantmen, who gave passage to as many of them as they had room for. Thus ended the first attempt by the English to colonize the coastland of Guiana.
The second attempt came four years later, in 1609, when Robert Harcourt sailed for the Oyapok, where he set up a small colony before sailing westwards along the coast in search of further possibilities-not forgetting that El Dorado and the fabulous city of Manoa lay somewhere beyond the coast. Harcourt's idea, however, was realistic; he intended to use the Oyapok settlement as a trading centre for a series of smaller posts throughout the Interior. In his Voyage to Guiana Harcourt writes with admirable good sense; his peroration is interesting as an indication of the thought which lay behind
Jacobean colonization and had such an influence on the development of British colonialism. 'Furthermore,' he writes,
'all younge Gentlemen, Soldiers, and others that live at home in idleness, and want imployment to abandon and expell their slouthfull humours, and caste off their fruitlesse and pernitious designes: may worthily exercise their generous spirits in honourable travels, and famous discoveries of many goodly and rich terretories, strange and unknowne Nations: and a multitude of other rarieties, hitherto unseene, and unheard off in these parts of the world: which may be thought incredible, but that our own experience, and the generall and constant report and affirmation of the Indians, doth assure us thereof.'
Harcourt, a member of the Catholic family of Stanton Harcourt, was persecuted for his recusancy, and by 1613 he was fighting to preserve his colony. But he had lost much money and finally the project languished. His ambitious schemes for colonization of the Essequibo and the Demerara came to nothing.
Sir Thomas Roe's expedition of 1610 had little of the seriousness of Harcourt's expedition. Roe was interested in El Dorado, and in finding a route to Manoa. He was convinced that English enterprise should centre on the Amazon region, and planted there two small settlements, whose members returned to Europe a year later with a cargo of tobacco which brought them some wealth.
The next Guiana expedition of importance was Raleigh's last voyage of 1617. Raleigh had been released from the Tower by the King, in order that he might make this voyage. He intended to search for gold-mines whose position had been given to Lawrence Keymis in 1595. Gondomar, the Spanish Ambassador to England, insisted that Raleigh would have to go through Spanish territory to reach the mines, and this Spain would not tolerate-an attitude supported by James I, who wished for friendship with Spain. Raleigh answered that he would avoid all Spanish territory, and Gondomar informed the Spanish garrison at San Thomé de Guiana, on the Orinoco, of Raleigh's plans, telling them to watch the matter closely. Raleigh's fleet was on a scale which suggested invasion rather than a gold prospection-fourteen ships and a thousand men. Raleigh lay at Trinidad with half his forces, to guard the mouth of the Orinoco from the Spaniards, while 400 men,
under Lawrence Keymis, sailed up-river in search of the mine. Keymis said that neither he nor Raleigh was aware that San Thomé had been moved thirty miles downstream a few years before, and now the fort and surrounding Spanish territory barred the way to the mine. Sir Thomas Roe knew that San Thomé had been removed and had reported the matter to Lord Cecil in 1611, so that it is odd that this vital piece of information had not reached Raleigh or Keymis.
Keymis was not prepared to turn back and decided to land. They were met by the Spaniards, whom they drove back, taking San Thome by storm. In the fighting one of Raleigh's two sons was killed. The English were, however, now beleaguered in the town and their attempts to reach the mine, whose position Keymis knew only roughly, were thwarted by the Spaniards. After losing 250 men Keymis set off down-river, rejoining Raleigh at Trinidad, where, after giving his account of the matter, he hanged himself in his cabin. The results of the failure and the trespass are well enough known not to be gone into here, but one or two points may be mentioned. Raleigh would not have gone to Guiana with so large a force had he not expected trouble with the Spaniards and the King must at some point have been prepared to permit a trespass, accepting Raleigh's easy assurances without much thought. When Raleigh returned, not only without the vast promised wealth but having broken his word to the Spanish, the vacillating King had nothing to lose by allowing Raleigh to stand as scapegoat to preserve the peace and convince Spain of the honesty of his colonial policy. Had Raleigh come back with the promised nuggets his life would certainly not have ended on the block.
If the history of the English attempts to colonize Guiana has its romantic aspects the colonization of the area by the Dutch is one of patient and long-suffering perseverance. In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was formed in an attempt to regulate the contraband trading in Spanish waters. The Company was authorized to plan colonies, and with foresight it was given the right to take slaves from Africa in order to supply cheap labour for its future American possessions. It was this aware
ness of the necessity to import such labour which assured its eventual success. At first the Company was little more than a cartel for piracy, and its projects were financed by captured booty from Spanish treasure-ships—until the piracy drastically reduced the Spanish trade. The Company drew up a scheme by which it would give feudal rights to 'patroons' who could buy coastal and riverbasin areas and settle up to fifty people on them; the patroon received rent and held sovereignty in matters of law and policy. All rivers in Guiana were open to these patroons, except the Essequibo, whose richness the Company intended to preserve for exploitation by itself. In 1627 the first patroon, Abraham van Pere, settled on the Berbice at his own expense. Van Pere was connected with the first project to grow sugar, in 1637; but the cane was grown in the Essequibo colony, on the banks of its tributary, the Mazaruni. At this point on the Mazaruni there is a small but commanding island on which today stands the ruined arch of what was once the Dutch fort of Kijk-over-al, or 'Look over all', the seat of Dutch government in the area. In 1637 the Dutch were well enough entrenched on the Essequibo1 to send an expedition to the Orinoco to sack San Thome. Within ten years Holland had lost her Brazilian possessions and the fugitive colonists left for the Essequibo and the Pomeroon, the river some miles to the west, where they founded the town of Nieuw Middleburg, which by 1662 was a flourishing settlement trading in sugar. Its prosperity was short-lived; a force sent from Barbados by Lord Willoughby wiped out the town and for nearly a century Dutch activity on the Pomeroon was ended. The same English force continued up the Essequibo and took Kijk-over-al, but had to retreat when the Indians-who had been well treated by the Dutch-refused to co-operate with the English. It was a setback for the Colony and in 1668 both Essequibo and Pomeroon lay almost abandoned, the planters moving east to the new colony of Surinam which has now reverted to its original name after many years as 'Dutch Guiana'. Although
1 Some authorities say the river is named after Juan d'Ezquibel, who sailed with Columbus, and the earliest spellings of the name retain the prefixDissequebe, Dessekeebe, etc. But im Thurn points out that the Carib name for the river is Scapi or Esscapi.
a new company was formed and African slaves arrived in numbers it was considered unworthy of plunder by buccaneers for the next few years.
In 1678 Samuel Beckman was made Commandeur; he was a man of some vision who organized the Colony well during a period of consolidation when, if there was little expansion, knowledge of the Interior was accumulating from the reports of 'swervers' or wandering Dutch traders. Beckman died in 1702 and shortly afterwards the War of the Spanish Succession broke out, Holland finding herself allied with England against France. French privateers stormed Kijk-over-al and held it to ransom after plundering the plantations and destroying the sugar-mills. With stolid perseverance the planters set to work once more and by the time of the Peace of Utrecht, in 1713, they had almost recovered their prosperity. They now built a fort at the mouth of the river and a Colony House, called Huis Nabij or 'house nearby' on the bank of the Mazaruni near Kijk-over-al. They were employing more and more African slaves, whom they graded from the robust pièces d'India to the weakling macroens.
After 1713 the Dutch realized that the sandy soil on which they had settled was becoming exhausted by over-cultivation, and the years that followed saw a gradual migration towards the fertile lands at the river mouths. The necessity there for drainage and irrigation canals may perhaps have appealed to the sentiment of the Dutch, who could turn the wastes of the estuary into a landscape reminiscent of their home-country. The migration had a great effect on the economic formation of the Colony. In the area of Kijk-over-al any poor settler could free his few acres of bush and plant his sugar without considering his neighbours, but at the estuary the elaborate system of canals and dykes which was necessary meant that no unit could act on its own; each part had to be considered in relation to the whole, or chaos would result. The sugar plantations could only succeed if they were on a large scale, with great areas of land owned by as few planters as possible. Thus a wealthy plantocracy began to grow up which was to overthrow the power of the Company. This economic formation of the coastal lands has persisted until today, when there is a virtual monopoly of the sugar-land. It is arguable that this history of a plantocracy