Berbice River

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Berbice River BerbiceRiver.jpg
Berbice River

The Berbice River, located in eastern Guyana, is one of the country's major rivers. It rises in the highlands of the Rupununi region and flows northward for 595 kilometres (370 mi) [1] through dense forests to the coastal plain. The river's tidal limit is between 160 and 320 km (99–199 mi) from the sea.



Obstructed by shallows at its estuary, the Berbice River's mouth is the location of Crab Island, opposite the mouth of the Canje River, the Berbice's main tributary.

Quantity of water based on the streamflow of the gauging station at Itabu Falls (04'52'N0'50'13'W) is 40,800 litres per minute. [2]


The Dutch established a foothold on the Berbice River as early as 1629 for trading with the Amerindians. Plantations formed along the river, and it later became the location of a major slave uprising. [3] In 1627, the settlement of Nassau (the name was used for many of the Dutch forts in the seventeenth century) was founded by the Dutch West India Company. The area was passed over to the British in 1815 and merged with the neighboring British Guiana. [4]

The town of New Amsterdam is situated on the river's east bank, approximately four miles inside the river's estuary, where it enters the Atlantic Ocean. A new bridge over the river joins New Amsterdam to Rosignol. Other communities on the Berbice River include Everton, Mara, Takama, Kalkuni and Kwakwani.

The river has served to transport Bauxite from the major mine at Kwakwani (currently owned by Rusal). [5]


A ferry service transferred goods and people between Kwakwani and New Amsterdam, but was discontinued in the 1990s. [6]

Torani Canal was built to allow water to flow from the Berbice River into the Canje River for maintaining water levels for irrigation purposes. [7]

On December 23, 2008, construction of the Berbice Bridge linking D’Edward Village, Crab Island, and the Courantyne Highway was completed. [8]

See also

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Dutch colonisation of the Guianas

Dutch colonisation of the Guianas—the coastal region between the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in South America—began in the late 16th century. The Dutch originally claimed all of Guiana but—following attempts to sell it first to Bavaria and then to Hanau and the loss of sections to Portugal, Britain, and France—the section actually settled and controlled by the Netherlands became known as Dutch Guiana.

New Amsterdam, Guyana Town and regional capital in East Berbice-Corentyne, Guyana

New Amsterdam is the regional capital of East Berbice-Corentyne, Guyana and one of the country's largest towns. It is 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the capital, Georgetown and located on the eastern bank of the Berbice River, 6 km (4 mi) upriver from its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, and immediately south of the Canje River. New Amsterdam's population is 17,329 inhabitants as of 2012.

Coffy (person)

Cuffy, also spelled as Kofi or Koffi, was an Akan man who was captured in his native West Africa and stolen for slavery to work on the plantations of the Dutch colony of Berbice in present-day Guyana. He became famous because in 1763 he led a revolt of more than 2,500 slaves against the colony regime. Today, he is a national hero in Guyana.

Courantyne River

The Courantyne/Corentyne/Corantijn River is a river in northern South America in Suriname. It is the longest river in the country and creates the border between Suriname and the East Berbice-Corentyne region of Guyana.


Berbice is a region along the Berbice River in Guyana, which was between 1627 and 1815 a colony of the Dutch Republic. After having been ceded to the Kingdom of Great Britain in the latter year, it was merged with Essequibo and Demerara to form the colony of British Guiana in 1831. In 1966, British Guiana gained independence as Guyana.

Kwakwani village in Upper Demerara-Berbice, Guyana

Kwakwani is a mining and logging village on the Berbice River in the Upper Demerara-Berbice Region of Guyana. Its altitude is 44 metres (147 feet). Kwakwani is approximately 100 km south of Linden. In 1942, the Berbice Bauxite Company opened a Bauxite Mining in the area which is the main industry of the village. The population as of 2012 is about 2,504 people.

Ituni Town in the interior of Guyana

Ituni is a village in the interior of Guyana, at an altitude of 100 metres (331 feet). The area grew as a result of bauxite mining in the area.

Canje River

The Canje River, located in northeastern Guyana, is the main tributary of the Berbice River. It runs roughly parallel to the Atlantic Ocean coast in East Berbice-Corentyne, region 6.

Baracara village in East Berbice-Corentyne, Guyana

Baracara was founded as a maroon community in the East Berbice-Corentyne Region of Guyana, located on the Canje River. The community has also been called New Ground Village or Wel te Vreeden. Baracara is 20 miles west of Corriverton and just north of the Torani Canal's connection to the Canje River.

The Torani Canal in northeastern Guyana serves to move water from the Berbice River into the Canje River. It was to serve as irrigation for the sugar industry, and subsequently the rice industry.

The Mahaica River is a small river in northern Guyana that drains into the Atlantic Ocean. The village of Mahaica is found at its mouth.

Esau and Jacob village in Mahaica-Berbice, Guyana

Esau and Jacob is a village in the Mahaica-Berbice Region of Guyana. One of the oldest villages on the Mahaicony River, Esau and Jacob was named by Dutch settlers for a pair of twins in the Bible.

Berbice slave uprising

The Berbice slave uprising was a slave revolt in Guyana that began on 23 February 1763 and lasted to December, with leaders including Coffy. It is seen as a major event in Guyana's anti-colonial struggles, and when Guyana became a republic in 1970 the state declared 23 February as a day to commemorate the start of the Berbice slave revolt.

Crab Island is an island located in the mouth of the Berbice River in Guyana, located at 6.283°N 57.517°W.

New River (South America)

The New River is a river of South America. It forms the Western border of the Tigri Area, a disputed territory that is claimed by both Guyana and Suriname. From a Surinamese perspective it is also called the Upper Corantyne River.

Borders of Suriname

The borders of Suriname consist of land borders with three countries: Guyana, Brazil, and France. The borders with Guyana and France are in dispute, but the border with Brazil has been uncontroversial since 1906.

Berbice Bridge

The Berbice Bridge is a pontoon bridge over the Berbice River near New Amsterdam in Guyana. The bridge is tolled and was opened on 23 December 2008.

Fort Nassau (Guyana)

Fort Nassau was the capital of the Dutch colony of Berbice, in present-day Guyana. It was situated on the Berbice River approximately 88 kilometres upstream from New Amsterdam.

Tigri Area Disputed area between Guyana and Suriname

The Tigri Area is a wooded area that has been disputed since around 1840 by Suriname and Guyana. It involves the area between the Upper Corentyne River, the Coeroeni River and the Kutari River. This triangular area is in Guyana known as the New River Triangle. In 1969 the conflict ran high on and since then the Tigri Area is controlled by Guyana and claimed by Suriname. In 1971 both governments in Trinidad agreed that they continue talks over the border issue and withdraw their military forces from the disputed Triangle. Guyana has never held upon this agreement.


  1. "Berbice River | river, Guyana". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  2. "WATER RESOURCES ASSESSMENT OF GUYANA" (PDF). US Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District & Topographic Engineering Center. December 1998. Retrieved 2020-01-03.
  3. "In 'Blood On The River,' The Berbice Rebellion Foreshadows Later Insurgencies". Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  4. "Map of the Colony of Berbice Located in Batavian Guiana in America between the Colonies of Demerara and Suriname". 1802. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  5. "Jobs are Labour Ministry's main target with RUSAL -Min. Hamilton". Department of Public Information. 2020-10-22. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  6. "Berbice River communities facing economic challenges, community differences". Stabroek News. 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  7. "Torani Canal becoming shallower as banks slide into water". Stabroek News. 2013-02-03. Retrieved 2021-01-03.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2010-03-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading