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At the far end of Flag Island on the River Essequibo there's this long brick hall (see photo). It has tall, shuttered windows, the bell-tower of a little church and the body of a warehouse. Forts aside, it's probably the oldest building in Guyana. Inside there was a large expanse of flagstones, a cluster of well-laureled tombs, and a colony of bats.
Should rackling be an Olympic sport? if it was, Guyana would carry off all the golds.
For outsiders, this is one of the most mysterious aspects of the country. The sport is simple; you put a tiny bird in a cage and coax it to sing. And this is serious business too.
Today, the Berbice River is calm and peaceful (see photo). But exactly 250 years ago, the Dutch were beginning to take control of the revolt along its banks. As they did so, they discovered that some of the most important rebels were changing sides ....
This year sees the 250th anniversary of the end of the Berbice Revolt. By October 1763, much of this river (see photo) was under the control of the slaves. The Dutch garrison was overwhelmed with disease, and - just for a moment - it had looked as if one of the greatest revolts in slavery's history might just succeed.
It may not be the biggest or the highest, or the most watery, but - for my money - it has to be the Kaieteur Falls (Guyana).
I flew up there once, on a day tour from Georgetown. After a while, you get to the upper reaches of the Potaro. This river itself would have been worth the trip, like a gorgeous seam of folded jet. But then suddenly it just ended. It poured over a lip, and vaporised as it fluttered away into a deep abyss. The Falls.
Today is the bard's 450th birthday. Had he ever heard of South America's 'Wild Coast'?
Undoubtedly, yes. In 1595, when Shakespeare was aged 31, and at the height of his creative powers, Sir Walter Raleigh published his great prospectus, "The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empire of Guiana".
Here is one of my favourite buildings in Guyana; the old hospital in New Amsterdam. Sadly, it was pulled down a few months after I took this photograph, but here is what I wrote about it in 'Wild Coast':-
Here are a few quotes from well-known writers, not all of them flattering (Meanwhile my photo shows The 'Avenue of the Republic'):
The mystery over the missing Malaysian jet has everyone thinking about air travel. Here are a few facts from Guyana's aviation story:
I have been asked for a list of good source material. Sadly, some of the books below are long out of print (I found them in the British Library) but a few of them might be available on abe.com. Here's the list: