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GUYANA: Map of British Guiana / Published by Authority of His Excellency the Governor, Sir Graeme Thomson, K.C.B. / Revised and corrected to date from the records of the Department of Lands and Mines, Georgetown, Demerara / Under the Direction of Hon. G.



An excellent large-format official map of British Guiana, made under the direction of George D. Bayley, the colony’s Land Commissioner, rich in new information from recent surveys.

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This stellar map was by far and away the best general survey of British Guiana (today’s Guyana) to date, predicated on the latest scientific surveys and reconnaissance.  The manuscript for the map was composed in Georgetown under the careful direction of George D. Bayley, the colony’s Commissioner of Lands & Mines, before being sent off to London to be printed by the leading cartographic publisher, Stanford’s Geographical Establishment.

The map showcases all of British Guiana with unprecedented accuracy, yet at the same time reveals that apart from the relatively limited traditional areas of agrarian settlement along the main estuaries, the vast majority of the colony was still an untamed wilderness.  British Guiana is shown divided into its three provinces, Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice, with the capital, Georgetown, located in the upper centre.  Most rivers of any consequence are precisely delineated, while areas of elevation are expressed through contour lines.  As explained in the ‘Reference’ (below the title), all towns and villages of note are labelled (with their class of size), as are the colony’s fledgling railway and Frist Class Road systems.  Indeed, almost all of the roads in the wild interior are labelled as trails, unfit for motor traffic.  Also noted are navigable canals, the locations of post & telegraph offices, as well as ports for mail dispatch.  Interestingly, the map also delineates the limits of the colony’s ‘Indian Reservations’.

Despite the great number of recent surveys sponsored by the Department of Lands and Mines, significant parts of the interior are shown to be unexplored, particularly in the far south, near the Brazilian boundary.  Also notable is the fact that the map shows British Guiana’s international boundaries as being unambiguous and authoritative, even though Venezuela still officially contested these borders, claiming all of Essequibo as their own (a dispute which still rages to this day!).

It is worth noting that, likewise in 1924, another version of this map was issued, with the same topographical detail, yet overlaid with geological information.

References: OCLC: 945615491.

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