BRITISH GUIANA. The Dutch West India Company established settlements at Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice between 1621 and 1657. British privateers took the first two of these in 1781, which were then captured by the French the following year and restored to the Netherlands in the peace treaty of 1783. The British again seized the colony that became British Guiana in 1803, holding it until its independence in 1966. Demerara is now Georgetown, capital of Guyana. Essequibo was located about fifty miles northwest, at the mouth of the Essequibo River.
revised by Michael Bellesiles