Guyana Colonial Newspapers

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Background

This site contains transcripts and images of early 19th century newspapers from the colonies that made up present day Guyana.

According to David Granger

At the time of the British conquest, the Courant had already ceased publication and the Dutch had reverted to circulating manuscript notices by corial. The British military commander, Lieutenant Colonel Hyslop, anxious to consolidate his hold on the colonies, was dissatisfied with that method of communication. He arranged to buy a press and to contract two printers, Messrs. Ellis and Cox, from Barbados who were able to publish an English language newspaper, paid for with Government funds. It was called the Royal Essequebo and Demerary Gazette and appeared regularly, every week, from 22 August 1796 until the Peace of Amiens of March 1802, when the colonies were handed back to the Dutch.

The early Guyanese press mirrored the rivalry between the Dutch colonists and British rulers. After the Peace, the restored Dutch authorities were dissatisfied with the English language paper and, from January 1803, published a state-owned paper named Niewe Courant van Essequebo en Demerary, printed in Dutch and English by Nicolaas Volkerts. On 18 September of that year, however, after a resumption of hostilities, the British recaptured the colonies and restored the old names and language of the paper. Since Volkerts knew only Dutch, he went into partnership with Edward Henery, who spoke English. But they soon fell out. Henery bought his own press, hired two English printers and resumed printing on 6 January 1806, giving the colonies two rival papers with the same name.

Newspapers from this era form a valuable resource for research into the history of British Guiana, as many other records have been lost. Archives are held at


Created: 28 March 2003   Last modified:     Creator: Wilmer, John Lance    Maintainer: Rodney Van Cooten
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