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Template:Infobox Former Country Demerara (Dutch: Demerary) is a region in South America that was colonised by the Dutch in 1611. The British invaded and captured the area in 1796. It was located about the lower courses of the Demerara River, and its main town was Georgetown.

Demerara sugar is so named because originally it came from sugar cane fields in the colony of Demerara.


In 1781 the American revolution induced the Dutch Republic to join with the Bourbon side against the British, a large fleet under Admiral Lord Rodney's was sent to the West Indies, and after having made some seizures in the Caribbean Islans, a squadron was detached to take possession of the colonies of Essequebo and Demerara, which was accomplished without much difficulty.[1] In 1782 the French took possession of the whole Dutch settlements compelling Gov. Robert Kinston to surrender.[2]The peace of Paris, which occurred in 1783 restored these territories to the Dutch.

The British returned the colony to the Dutch in 1802 under the terms of the Peace of Amiens, but re-took control of it a year later. On 13 August 1814 the British combined the colonies of Demerara and Essequibo into the colony of Demerara-Essequibo. On 20 November 1815 the colony was formally ceded to Britain by the Netherlands. On 21 July 1831 Demerara-Essequibo united with Berbice as British Guiana, now Guyana. Demerara is now one of three counties of Guyana, the other two being Berbice and Essequibo.

The name "Demerara" comes from a variant of the Arawak word "Immenary" or "Dumaruni" which means "river of the letter wood".[3]

Large slave rebellions broke out in West Demerara in 1795 and on the East Coast of Demerara in 1823[4]. Although these rebellions were easily and bloodily crushed, according to Winston McGowan, they may have had a long-term impact in ending slavery:

"The 1823 revolt had a special significance not matched by the earlier Berbice uprising. It attracted attention in Britain inside and outside Parliament to the terrible evil slavery and the need to abolish it. This played a part, along with other humanitarian, political and economic factors, in causing the British parliament ten years later in 1833 to take the momentous decision to abolish slavery in British Guiana and elsewhere in the British Empire with effect from 1 August 1834. After serving four years of a modified form of slavery euphemistically called apprenticeship, the slaves were finally freed on 1 August 1838."[5]

Notable Demerarans

Commanders of Demerara

Governors of Demerara


Lieutenant governors


Leaders of rebellions

See also


  1. Hadden p.64
  2. Dalton p.239
  3. Guyana the Name
  4. McGowan, Winston (2006). "The 1763 and 1823 slave rebellions". Starbroeck News. Retrieved 2006-12-07.
  5. McGowan, Winston (2006). "The 1763 and 1823 slave rebellions (Part 2)". Starbroeck News. Retrieved 2006-12-07.

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