EXTENT OF DUTCH SETTLEMENT
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In 1676, the Spanish Council of War of the Indies discussed the question of the Dutch colonies on the coast of Guyana. The Council was concerned that the Dutch were establishing new settlements in the region without informing the King of Spain. However, it decided that to bring such a complaint before the States-General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands was not advisable. The Council was advised that the Dutch at that time held the chief portion of the coast of Guiana from Trinidad to the Amazon River, and had settlements in Berbice, Essequibo and Surinam.
In 1684, Santo Thome was sacked again, this time by the French and Caribs, and when the Spaniards reoccupied it, the Caribs in the portion of the Orinoco district under Spanish control, fled to Barima, Waini and Amakura, areas which they knew were controlled by the Dutch.
As early as 1679, a Postholder had been stationed on the Pomeroon, and in 1686, the Central Council of the West India Company decided to recolonise that area. station. A new Commandeur, De Jongge, was appointed to govern that river independently of the Governor of Essequibo and he immediately proceeded to organise cultivation of sugar, coffee and subsistence crops. A wooden fort was completed in 1688, but in 1689 it was surprised and sacked by the French. After the French withdrew, it was not rebuilt, even though the Company did establish a Post on the river.
In the Essequibo River area, from 1681 onwards the area of actual plantation extended along the rivers Cuyuni, Mazaruni, and the middle Essequibo. In 1681, an island in the mouth of the Cuyuni River was cleared and planted with cassava for the use of the garrison. By 1694, a new plantation on the River Cuyuni above the fort was established.
But the Dutch, in addition to planting, also were involved in hunting and fishing, and Posts were established at various parts of the territory in question.
The hunting and fishing were undertaken as a necessary part of the economy of the colony, for the supply of meat to the plantations which had been cleared from the forest. Small sailing vessels were sent to the mouth of the Orinoco and also in the Amakura to salt manatees and turtles for the sustenance of the garrison. Bush hogs were hunted in the Cuyuni River area with the assistance of the Akawois and Caribs. These two tribes were previously at war, but the Dutch were able to get them to establish a truce.
The system of Posts probably came into existence in 1674 when Postholders received payment for services upon the Essequibo. In 1679, a Post was set up in Pomeroon and four years later in Barima where the Dutch obtained much annatto and letter-wood.
By the year 1703, Posts were in existence on the Demerara and Mahaicony Rivers and there was one on the Pariacot Savannah, in the upper Cuyuni.
Lists of Posts prepared by the Dutch from time to time showed that Postholders were at different periods stationed at different places a considerable distance up the Essequibo, at more than one place on the Cuyuni, and in Pomeroon and Moruka.
In 1701, in view of the approach of war (by a number of European nations), each district in the colony of Essequibo was organised for defensive purposes. In the regulations issued for this purpose by the Court of Policy, the governing council of the colony of Essequibo, Commissaries were appointed to visit plantations in order to organise the planters against attacks.
In 1709 and 1712, the Dutch Post at Wakepo (Pomeroon) was attacked by the French and Spaniards, but was successfully defended by the garrison with the help of Amerindians until 1714 when the war ended.