June 27, 2017

Visit Kykoverall Island – An island full of history

Kijkoveral, meaning “See-over-all” is an island of about 1.5 acres, located in the Mazaruni River close to where it branches off from the Essequibo River and also close to the mouth of the Cuyuni River.

Looking up Mazaruni River, towards Essequibo River from Kykoveral Island

Looking up Mazaruni River, towards Essequibo River from Kykoveral Island

There is some doubt that it was the Dutch who arrived in what is now Guyana first – it may be the Spanish –but it is accepted that the Dutch settled on this island in 1616 (some say earlier in 1613).

However, by 1624, Essequibo had become the responsibility of the Zeeland Chamber of the Dutch West India Company.  Though small, the island provided them with a great view and an early warning of any attack.

It remained the seat of government until 1718 when it became too small for operations and the number of inhabitants.  They moved to a new settlement at the confluence of Cuyuni and Mazaruni, naming it Cartabo, this being the seat of government until 1739, when another move was made, this time to Fort Island closer to the mouth of the Essequibo.

Kijkoveral was largely demolished, and some of its bricks used elsewhere. All that remains there today are the foundations, including a brick revetment on the southern side of the island, and a brick archway.

The question is: “are these the remains of the first fort or of a later one?” We may never know.  (Photos by LJH) 

Kykoveral Island with Mazaruni River to the north

Kykoveral Island with Mazaruni River to the north

Approaching Kykoveral Island Landing

Approaching Kykoveral Island Landing

Fort arch remains on Kykoveral Island

Fort arch remains on Kykoveral Island

Fort  sign and arch remains

Fort sign and arch remains