Plantation Tobago

Combining information from a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, Plantation Tobago, presents an interactive guide to the ownership, management and slave populations of Tobagonian plantations from the 1760s to 1834. Accessible and engaging, Plantation Tobago will be a valuable reference tool for historical researchers, as well as being of interest to a general audience.

2020, September

The Berbice Gazette, 1813-1815

In 2018 researchers of Guyana's colonial past received a significant boon when almost 100,000 pages of archival material held at the National Archives of Guyana were, for the first time, made freely available online. This so-called "Dutch Series" was the result of a preservation and digitisation programme performed in cooperation with the National Archives of the Netherlands.

Amongst the thousands of documents digitised are 526 images of the English language newspaper THE BERBICE GAZETTE. Published in the colony from as early as 1806, THE BERBICE GAZETTE is a typical colonial newspaper of the era, consisting primarily of advertisements, official declarations and shipping intelligence.

Recognising the potential value of this source for my personal research, in early 2019 I conducted a systematic review of these documents, as part of which I performed a rudimentary Optical Character Recognition (OCR) analysis. In a spirit of reciprocation in September 2020 I made the decision to make the results of this analysis freely available online.

My hope is that this website can be a useful (though imperfect) finding aid for others who are interested in Guyana's past. Furthermore I hope it can offer a glimpse of what is possible when archival institutions, like the National Archives of Guyana and the Netherlands, take an enlightened attitude and allow researchers to make use of their digitised material free from restrictions.