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Former Dutch Colonies in Guiana on the Eve of Consolidation Into British Guiana

Fine example of this remarkable sea chart of the Coast of Guyana, originally published by William Heather.  

The present edition of the chart was issued by Norie, issued after the British retook control of the former Dutch Colonies in the region for the final time in 1803 and the formal cession of the colonies to the British in August 1814.  Later, in 1831, they would be formally merged into the newly created British Guiana.

The chart is focused on the location of the Demerara, Surniname and Cayenne Colonies, each of which, along with Berbice, Essequibo and Pomeroon, which changed hands several times between 1783 and the British recapture in 1796, which was likely the reason for creation of the first state of the map by William Heather in 1797.

The chart includes larger inset maps of the Entrance to the Orinoco River,  "Essequebo", Berbice River, Surinam River and Cayenne.

The majority of the region would become British after 1814, although Cayenne would remain a French Colony and later a French Department.


The map is extremely rare.  We were unable to locate an examples of the map at auction or in dealer catalogs.   

We note a single example of the 1828 chart at the Huntington Library, purchased in 1927 by Henry Huntington from the Museum Bookstore.

OCLC locates a single example of the 1797 edition at the British Library and an 1841 edition at the University of Leiden.

J.W. Norie & Co. Biography

John William Norie (1772 – 1843) was a publisher of nautical books held in high regard by his contemporaries. He also specialized in nautical charts and was a mathematician. William Heather, a chart and instrument seller, took Norie on as a chart maker and allowed him to run a nautical academy out of Heather's premises on Leadenhall Street. Norie published many works, but the most famous were A Complete Set of Nautical Tables (1803) was the Epitome of Practical Navigation (1805). Both were reissued many times, usually together. 

Norie partnered with a financial backer, George Wilson, to buy Heather's business upon Heather's death in 1813. In addition to the nautical academy and the copyright to his books, Norie prospered from the growing business, which he managed. The shop, operating under the sign of the Wooden Midshipman, was called the Naval Warehouse. 

Norie retired in 1840. He sold his shares in the business and moved to Edinburgh. He died there, at the age of 71, on Christmas Eve 1843. His company was renamed Norie & Wilson after his retirement. In 1903, the firm merged with rivals and became Imray, Laurie, Norie & Wilson. It is still in business today.