Negotiations are on foot for the translation of my book, 'Wild Coast', into German. As it happens, two of the country's greatest explorers happen to have been German.
As far as I know, there was only one adventurer who visited both Guiana (as it was) and Newfoundland during the age of discovery.
During the Second World War, both places became part of defence network designed to safeguard the USA. It all began on 2 September 1940, when Washington signed the ‘Destroyers for Bases Agreement’, under which it would provide Britain with fifty WWI-vintage destroyers in return for a foothold in her colonies.
This is the Wales Sugar Estate factory, near Georgetown, Guyana. The smell of boiling sugar cane is overwhelming, and - in the short term - delicious. One of the by-products, bubbling away, is molasses.
In these posts I have often written about written about the horrors of slavery in the Guianas. What is less well-known is the form of slavery that existed at the same time among white people up in Labrador. Some may be unhappy with the comparison, and, it's true, the Labradorians didn't arrive in chains, were notionally free to leave whenever they wanted.
What is the connection between chilly Labrador (in Canada), and the steamy tropical world of Guyana? Well, more than you'd imagine. I'll be exploring their shared history over the next few posts.
SLAVERY'S LEGACY. In this series comparing the movie '12 Years a Slave' with the experience of Guyana and Suriname. In the film, there is no end in sight for slavery, no redemption and no justice.
THE OLD SLAVE PLANTATIONS. In this series comparing the movie. In the film, the planter's houses are portrayed as opulent and classical, grand homes for wealthy people.
SEX AND SLAVERY. In the film, Mr Ebbs is portrayed as a rapacious predator, helping himself to a slave girl whenever he feels like. There is no question of consent, and she is entirely at his mercy (which is in short supply). Confused and piqued by her blank response, his interest soon takes a more sadistic turn.
MANKIND AS PROPERTY. in the film there are several references to the fact that a slave is no more than the 'goods' of his or her owner. It is a deeply offensive concept.