[dem-uh-rahr-uh, -rair-uh]
Demerara, river, c.200 mi (320 km) long, rising in the Guiana Highlands, E Guyana, and flowing N to the Atlantic Ocean. Georgetown, Guyana's chief port, is at the river's mouth. The Demerara is navigable for oceangoing vessels to Mackenzie, an important exporting center for bauxite and kaolin.

Demerara in South America was one of the original British colonies that were joined into the colony of British Guiana, now Guyana. It was located about the lower courses of the Demerara River, and its main town was Georgetown. Demerara is now one of three counties of Guyana. The other two counties are Berbice and Essequibo. Before the colony became British, it was a Dutch colony.

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

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.

Large slave rebellions broke out in West Demerara in 1795 and on the East Coast of Demerara in 1823McGowan, Winston The 1763 and 1823 slave rebellions. Starbroeck News. (2006). Retrieved on 2006-12-07... 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."

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

Notable Demererans

Commanders of Demerara

Governors of Demerara


Lieutenant governors


Leaders of Slave Rebellions

  • 1823: Jack Gladstone of Plantation Success

See also


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