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News of British Guiana Reached shores of US......

     For decades, newspapers pick up some news from other states and world news from the news wires (such as Associate Press, etc.) and pre-wireless forms of news sharing. Therefore, United States newspapers can yield news of the colonial British Guiana or today's Guyana. The following news stories were transcribed from various old US newspapers by searching on "British Guiana".
  Many newspapers would print articles from other countried as "fillers" or because the article was of interest. The majority of the British Guiana articles printed in US newspapers before and after 1895 were updates of the continuing Venezuela border conflict. An occasional article which is humerous, or otherwise interesting were chosen to transcribe. Please note that the articles were transcribed as found; i.e. spelling was not changed, nor misspellings corrected.

1839 - Yellow Fever
From Bermuda {1839]: We have Bermuda papers to the 3d inst. The yellow fever was making dreadful ravages in St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Demerara. At Fort Charlotte, upwards of sixty men had already died of it, including Lieutenant Hawker of the 70th Regiment. At Demerara, Col. Dancy, Capt. Bruce, Lieut. and Adjutant Hopkins, Ensign and Ensign Dickinson had felled victims to the disease, together with a large number of soldiers. So great was the mortality that it was found necessary to remove the troops from their Barracks.
The Royal Gazette of 15th Aug. publishes gloomy accounts from St. Vincent. On some estates, the negroes are doing well but on others they will not work at all, very few estates hold out any prospect of a crop the coming year.
The earth quake felt a Barbados on the 2nd ult. was also felt at Demerara, Grenada and St. Vincent. [New York Express] {Source: September 23, 1839 – Daily Whig and Courier, Bangor, Maine, pg 2)

An immense waterfall has just been discovered in British Guiana. There appears, in fact, to be a series of cataracts on the Massaruni River, near Rorainia Mountain. From this mountain, four distinct waterfalls plunge. Two thousand feet is given as the height of the mural precipice over which the water falls, and the sight, with the rays of the setting sun shining full upon this immensesheet of water is said to be magnificent. (24 April 1872 - Compiler, Gettysburg, PA; page 1, col. 8)

1890 - A BIG DRUNK - An entire Town goes off on a prolonged spree
Dr. H. C. Sutton of Rome, N.Y., was telling some acquaintances in the Leland rotunda one evening about a big spree in which an entire town in British Guiana participated. “A few weeks ago,” said the doctor, “I landed at Georgetown, Demerara, during a Southern cruise and was there two days without seeing a person “no loaded with a jag.” There might have been some sober folks in that warm little town but I did not see them. The cause of the spectacular spree was the sale of liquor at an extremely low price. The excise board refused to renew the license of the Bengal Tiger rum shop in Robb Street and the owner had but four days to dispose of his stock. He announced that he would sell his goods at less than cost. The love of the common people of the West Indies for rum is proverbial and it is needless to say that they appreciate cheap rum. As soon as it was known that a pint of white rum was being sold for sixpence and a quart for a shilling, the people crowed into the shop and the excited rush was almost a riot. “The news was spread over the land and customers came from all directions, the stream of people increasing as the news extended. Finally, the mob was so moisy that the entire police department was called out to regulate the traffic. The people seemed to think it would show a lack of gratitude not to drink at such a low price and they did their best to get rid of the stock. The government allows a citizen to buy only one quart at a time or some one would have purchased the entire establishment at once. For two days, the riot kept up and from the start, the whole town was on a big spree. It was the strangest sight I ever sitnessed or ever heard of, and it seemed barbarous to me for I was all alone in my soberness”. – (Chicago Tribune) (Sunday morning, Vol IV., no 132 –New series, July 20, 1890 – Chilicothe Morning Constitution, Chilicothe, Missouri – pg 6)

1893 Bounty
Chinamen who are liable to arrest and deportation under the Geary act have an opportunity to leave the country and get a bounty for doing so. The legislature of British Guiana offers a bounty of $25 per head for 5,000 Chinese from the United States to work under contract on sugar plantations and on gold mines. (8 September, 1893 – Daily Nevada State Journal, Reno, NV)

1899 - A DESPARATE COMBAT between a man and a wounded jaguar
A Demerara correspondent of the Pall Mall Budget describes a desperate fight between a man and a jaguar which recently took place on the Demerara river. The hero of the combat, a black named Lally DAVIDSON, a farmer, was out with his dog which roused a jaguar from its lair. The ferocious animal made tracks for the thick scrub, followed by DAVIDSON and his dog. Being close pressed, the jaguar climbed a tree where DAVIDSON shot it, wounding it in the head. This made the animal descend and again he dived into the bush and was pursued by DAVIDSON. The beast concealed himself in some brambles and as DAVIDSON was again trying to take aim, the jaguar leaped upon him, knocking him bodily into a drain full of water. DAVIDSON now engaged in a desperate struggle with the fierce brute and seizing the jaguar, now somewhat exhausted from loss of blood, he exerted all his strength and managed to hold the head under water until he was slowly suffocated. But before this, the jaguar had severely wounded the courageous man; his hand was badly bitten, the scalp on the left side of his head was partly ripped off and his left eye was gouged out. Suffering as he was, DAVIDSON slowly crawled home and while he went into hospital, sent his friends for the dead jaguar. The latter measured five feet eleven inches from head to tail. DAVIDSON, on whose happy escape his friends warmly congratulated him, was slowly recovering when the last mail left Demerara. (23 August 1899, Wednesday – The Mexia Evening News, Mexia, Texas, Page 1, Col. 6)

Two bright stowaways from Demarara, Anthony de SILVA and James SALMON, fifteen years of age, were the leading performers in a concert given on board the Ellis Island steamboat Narraganseett, Sunday afternoon. Both boys have excellent voices, which they used with such good effect at the concert as to make for them many friends among the attaches of the immigration service, who were present at the performance. SALMON was an employee of the Demarara Daily Chronicle, he says, and gives A. J. Cromble of 1520 South Twenty-eighth Street, Philadelphia, formerly and editor of the paper, as among his friends. Asked why he ahd shipped as a stowaway, he replied that he was sent with a copy of The Chronicle for Capt. Anderson of the Themis and that as he wanted to come to the United States, he thought it too good a chance to let slip. He hid in the coal bunkers where he remained for thirty-six hours without anything to drink and only a few crackers and a piece of cheese to eat. De SILVA shipped in the hold. He said that, like his friend, he had a desire to visit the United States and thought the Themis a very good ship on which to make the trip. He said Girffeth JURBERT of 227 West Sixty-third Street was one of his friends. Unless they manage in some way to raise the $10 fine that is imposed on stowaways, both boys will be sent back to Demarara on the next outward trip of the Themis. ( New York Times, Nov 20, 1900)

Demerara Rioters Shot- Five Members of Strikers’ Mob killed by the Police
Governor Will Forcibly Suppress Outbreak of Wharf Laborers – British Warships sent to the Scene
Georgetown, Demerara. Dec. 1, 1905 ----A Strike of wharf laborers which is in progress here assumed a very serious aspect this morning when the police were compelled to fire on a riotous mob. IT is reported that five of the rioters were killed. Later in the day, the rioters attacked the governor’s house. The governor and other offers are now besieged in the public buildings. The arrival of warships is anxiously awaited.
The strike, which was the result of a demand for higher wages, began Tuesday last, and since then the strikers have been parading the streets. Some acts of violence were committed yesterday but they were not serious. However, they resulted in the reading of the riot act and the issuing of a proclamation by the governor, closing all the retail spirit shops from 6 o’clock in the evening until 6 o’clock in the morning until further notice. The governor announced that he intended to forcibly suppress all riotous proceedings. As the result of today’s troubles, all business has been suspended.
St. Thomas, Danish West Indies, Dec. 1 ---- The British cruisers Sappho and Diamond have gone to Demerara. Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday, December 2, 1905, No. 10,766, Pg. 1, Col. 2

Bar of Gold Vanished
Special to the Washington Post
New York, April 7, 1906 ----- Somewhere in the little city of Demerara, British Guiana, or on board of the steamship Corona, of the Quebec Steamship Company as she came up the coast , or in the harbor of New York a person without title thereto took possession of a bar of gold worth $15,000. In the box in which the gold was cased, he left a piece of lead pipe, with the idea of matching the weight of the gold.
The bullion was consigned to the British Guiana Gold Concessions Company Limited, which has offices in the Mills Building and mines in British Guiana. Officers of the company having been notified of the shipment were on the pier waiting for the gold when the Corona was docked on Friday afternoon. The wooden box in which the gold had left the mines was sealed by a customs inspector and then turned over to Van Rensselaer Cogswell, treasurer of the company and Donald McLean, the company’s attorney. In a cab, they took it to their office.
The box should have contained 850 ounces of gold and weighed all told about seventy-five pounds. At the office, the men tipped it over and discovered that the box had been tampered with. Officers of the company were summoned. Customs Inspector Worthington waited until his arrival before opening the box.
Breaking the top seals and prying off the lid, the officers of the company discovered the piece of lead pipe. It was a small piece weighing only half as much as the 850 ounces of gold. Close examination of both the inside and outside of the box appeared to show that the bottom had been pried off. Private detectives are working on the case but there is not the slightest clew {sic} to the party or parties who stole the gold.
Washington Post, Washington D.C., No. 10,893, Sunday April 8, 1906, Pg 1, Col.5

St. Thomas D.W.I., Jan. 24 –   Earthquakes have been felt in a number of the West Indian islands. Sunday afternoon, there were two sharp shocks at St. Vincent and Demerara, one at Trinidad and slight but prolonged shocks at St. Lucia, Barbardos and Grenada. No damage is reported. (Colorado Springs Gazette, Pg 4, Tuesday, January 25, 1910)

1910 - WEST INDIAN CRUISE A DELIGHTFUL TOUR is popular with American Travelers
A Voyage Among the Islands Offers Many Interesting Features. Characteristics of Natives. BY Frederic J. Haskin
Ever since the Panama canal became a certainty, American interest in the West Indies has grown steadily until now it is probably greater than at any time since the Amercian flag was to be seen on every ocean and American bottoms carried more than their share of the world’s commerce. Americans resemble the Athenians in always seeking some new thing and in their relentless search, more and more of them are beginning to appreciate the delightful voyages that may be made from their eastern coast through summer seas at comparatively low prices. An evidence of this was furnished this winter when the first strictly excursion ship carrying a full quota of passengers, left New York to cruise among the West India islands and down the coast of South America as far as the Straits of Magellan.
   At one time or another, France owned nearly every island in the West Indies but its possessions there are now limited to Martinique, Guadaloupe, St. Bartholomew (better known as St Martin, the other portion of which belongs to Holland.) England has persistently Anglicized its islands until the French suzeraintly has been almost forgotten yet it is a curious fact that a French patois is the language of the natives of nearly all the English islsands below the Virgin group. The people are bilingual, using the patolis among themselves, but all having just as good a command of English. In the Danish Islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix (which is better known as Santa Cruz), the back-country natives have a patois which is not Danish, although the Danes have owned the islands for 250 years. Danish is now taught in the public schools of these islands and the children speak it as do the government officials but all speak English as well.
Rum the Favorite Tipple
    West India brings thoughts of rum – the rum that has cut a figure in history and is famous the world over. In the early days the exchange of West India rum with African chiefs for slaves for the western world was a regular and enormously profitable business. Slavery passed but the rum remains – millions of gallons of it. The natives, foreign residents and tourists drink rum in all the islands. Special brands are spoken of with pride and throusands of bottles are carried away every year by tourists as precious gifts for friends at home. The exists everywhere except among the whites and higher classes of British Guiana which although on the mainland of South American is always counted as one of the islands. For some strange reason, in British Guiana it is considered extremely plebian to drink rum. The people there drink gin and Scotch whisky. Perhaps the explanation of this peculiarity is the fact that back in the almost impenetrable wastes of British Guiana the natives make “moonshine” rum like the mountaineers of the southern states make “moonshine” whisky.
   It would be advisable for all American going to the West Indies to lay in a supply of English money before starting. Travelers landing with nothing but American coins will be greatly inconvenienced unless they are of gold. Every island varies more or less in its willingness to accept American silver, although the gold and bank notes are readily exchangeable at the banks. In Antigua, for instance, not even the street peddlers are willing to accept American silver at all if the can possibly get English money. The Danish islands have a special coinage of their own which is current nowhere else. Guadaloupe and Martinique silver does not pass in Guadaloupe or vice versa. The small shop-keepers pass off this local coinage as frequently as possible and travelers who have made purchases seldom leave without taking more or less of it from every island, some as souveniers and some through carelessness. It would be interesting to know how much of the local coinage disappears forever in this manner. Demerara presents still another pecularity in that while its medium is English money, prices are all computed in dollars and cents.
Natives Eat Monkeys
   To the ordinary man the thought of shooting a monkey would be abhorrent but the natives of St. Kits have no such scruples. The island has long been famous for its wild (illegible), the hills behind Basse Terre, the capital being called Moneky Hill. When the rains are on and water plentiful, monkeys are scare and hard to find but in the dry season they have to frequent water holes known to the hunter and here they are easily shot. The natives eat them with a relish but strangers can seldom stomach the idea or the meat. (Next sentence illegible – something about monkeys being a nuisance to the white planters) -- wrath over damaged crops they smother any compunctions they might have about killing them. When the monekys become unaccountably scare, the natives revive a tradition that have passed to the island of Nevis, only a few miles away, by submarine tunnel.
St. Thomas
    Every island in the West Indies is the abode of tradition, amplified history and facts stranger than fiction. For hundreds of years the Caribbean sea was the haunt of buccaneers, priate, wreckers, beach combers, free soldiers and adventurers from the four parts of the earth and nowhere did they leave their impress more strongly than on St. Thomas, the first call for ships trading from New York down through the Leeward and Winward islans to the Demerara river in British Guiana. As the ship sails into the magnificent harbor at Charlotte Amalia in St. Thomas – the harbor so greatly coveted by the United States before the war with Spain – on the farthest right of the three hills on which the city is built, is seen a round tower, resembling a truncated cone. On the central hill is another tower very similar in appearance. The first is called Bluebeard’s tower and the second, Blackbeard’s tower. They are ideally situated to command the town and harbor and tradition has it that they were built by the bewhiskered pirates whose names they bear. Bluebeard’s tower still has the old cannon and masonry defenses. The view from both is magnificent. A local Historican has dispelled the illusion by showing that Bluebeard’s tower was originally a Danish fort. Blackbeard’s supposed structure is not so dillusioning when its history is examined. The records show that is was built in troubled times by a citizen with large ideas of protecting himself when things happened. In fact, he reected such a formidable structure that the governor of the island feared he might become the political and military boss of the town and ordered him to vacate.
Proud to be British Subjects
Barbados is the only island in the West Indies which has remained English from its first settlement which was in 1625, to the present time. It contains 166 square miles and supports 200,00 persons, making it one of the most densely populated countries on the globe. This overcrowded citizenry is one of the most intensely in the worl and in all the British empire there is no people more proud of the fact that they live under the British flag. From a British subject – (rest is illegible).
   Although not one of the west Indies but a part of the mainland of South America, British Guiana is generally spoken of as if it belonged to the island chain. This is because it is the natural terminus of a swing through the islands and because of its intimate relations with them. The Guianas are of interest to Americans for several reasons. The most important is because when the peace of 1667 was concluded between England and the Netherlands, the Dutch traded New York for the settlements which the governor of Barbados had founded on the Surinam river in what is now Dutch Guiana. This turned out to be the worst “swap” in the history of the world.
   There is great confusion of terms in the popular mind in regard to British Guiana. The tourists and sailors call it Demerara and the reader or hearer whose knowledge of geography is not detailed has little idea where it is. Also the sailors do not mean Demerara itself, but a city, which again confuses strangers. The truth is, Demerara is the central, smallest and most important of the three counties into which the province of British Guiana is divided and the port to which the sailors refer is Georgetown, capital of the province, suituated at the mouth of the Demara river. One of the pleasant features of traveling in the West Indies is that the visitor who makes himself agreeable and remains any length of time is almost sure to be “put up” at the local club. This is a courtesy not to be disposed for the club is usually the coolest and most attractive place in town. IT is is to be regretted that at least one club down there does not welcome tourists with any great enthusiasm. Some months ago when a huge ship arrived and the courtesties of the club were offered to the passengers, the strangers showed their appreciation by carrying off many of the clubs’ odds and ends as “souvenirs”.
[NOTE: This was a series, with the next day's article entitled "The Culture fo Flowers", however, that paper was not available) Pg 5, The Colorado Springs Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO - Friday, March 11, 1910

Georgetown, British Guiana, Oct. 24 (AP) ---- Senora CAROLA PEREZ today was caring for seven sons born to her in one delivery. Physicians regarded the septet birth as unique in medical history. The mother and all the children were reported as “doing nicely”. 24 October 1933, Washington Post, Washinton, D.C.

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