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Guayana Esequibo (Venezuela)

Last modified: 2011-12-09 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: guayana | venezuela | guayana esequibo | spanish guayana |
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Editorial Note: Venezuela holds a considerable territorial claim over the territory of Guyana. FOTW is non-political and concentrates only on vexillological issues and has no stand on this issue.


As far as I know, the "Province of Guayana" is a stripe of territory formerly in dispute between Spain and the United Kingdom, sometimes addressed as the "Spanish Guayana", and later and up to today between Venezuela and Guyana. According to different claims and adjudications, the territory can be considered anything from a very thin strip of land close to the Venezuelan border up to 2/3rds of Guyana's territory, with a Venezuelan claim reaching the Essequibo river line.
Santiago Dotor , 15 September 1999

There were more than one Guyana. There were the French and English Guyanas. When the strategic importance of keeping Guyana as a safe harbor near the Caribbean diminished, Great Britain conceded independence to the British Guyana. By this time, the claim on this territory was been made not by Spain, but by Venezuela. In most Official Venezuelan maps, it is shown as "Territorio Esequibo" or "Zona en reclamación".
As of today, I see no way that Venezuela can regain this land, and there is little to gain from doing so. Legally, Venezuela may still claim it, but in the mean time the Venezuelan government has recognized the State of Guyana, and we have bilateral arrangements, including the sale of Hydroelectric power to this claimed territory.
Please check out this site for more information, it's the Guyana side of the story <www.guyanareview.com>.
So, in short, yes, the Province of Guyana is no more. It is now an independent country simply called Guyana. That change probably was enough to justify a change in the flag.
Ricardo Kowalski , 15 September 1999

Anyway, even accepting the broadest Venezuelan claims over Guyanan territory, there would still be about 33% territory left, so there would be four Guayanas.
Santiago Dotor , 15 September 1999

Well, in fact Venezualan Guayana does still exist, and it's named the state of Bolivar. At the time of the declaration of Angostura (renamed 1864 Ciudad Bolivar) Simon Bolivar had a grandiose scheme for the Province of Guyana, where Alexander von Humboldt had just found vast mineral riches. He planned the South American capital there (Ciudad Guyana) and connections from there through the Amazon region, etc. That scheme never became a reality; neither was it completely forgotten. Two aims are still on the agenda: 1. Development of Venezuelan Guyana, that is the state of Bolivar (possibly already renamed (or part of it), hence possibly the extra star) with as its center the new town, founded 1961 as Ciudad Guayana, renamed Santo Tome de Guayana, planned to be a metropolis of over a million inhabitants, with (1980) 250.000 inhabitants. It is now the capital of Bolivar state (and as eccentric lying as Ciudad Bolivar; it might become the new capital of Venezuela, in which case it would be quite central).
2. Claims to large parts of the independent state of Guyana (see above), first claimed by the independent state of Venezuela in the second part of the 19th century. This claim has been on the diplomatic table for some 140 years now and concerns about 135.000 sq. km, that is c. 62 % of Guyana.
Sources:
Merriam-Webster New Geographical Dictionary, 1988
Tudyka: 'Confilcthaarden in de Derde Wereld', 1985
Kramers 'Aardrijkskundig Woordenboek', 1883
The 1980 South American Handbook
Jarig Bakker, 15 September 1999

.In fact Venezuela has a claim that covers almost 2/3rds of Guyana, although I dont think they control any of it.
Antonio Martins, 16 September 1999

Here is some more information on the Venezuelan claims on Guyana's territory:
"From 1682, Catalan Capuchin monks established foundations in Guayana [west of the Essequibo river] which strengthened the Spanish conquest of the area. (...) In 1790 the Dutch-founded Stabrock was taken by the British and became nowadays' Georgetown. Along the 17th century, (...) the British established themselves on the Lower Oiapoque (Leigh Expedition); but by the end of the 17th century only the Dutch colonies stood [ie. not the British or French ones].
"A [Spanish] province of Guayana existed as part of the viceroyalty of the new Kingdom of Granada from 1732 to 1763. From that date on it belonged to the Captaincy-General of Venezuela, and after this country's independence it became the [federal] state of Guayana (...).
"In 1835 Schomburgk, a German naturalist, at the request of the British government, marked the limits of its colony in Guayana: the frontier with Venezuela was established in the Essequibo river. According to Venezuela, the British took territories outside the Schomburgk line between 1835 and 1897. By the end of the 19th century, Venezuela demanded from Great Britain more than 62000 km2 of its Guayana colony.
"In 1895 the situation grew tense and the USA forced an arbitration: an international commission (British, Americans and Russians: Paris 1899) gave the larger part of the disputed area to Great Britain, drawing the frontier which nowadays Guyana considers correct but Venezuela opposes. A 1970 treaty between Venezuela and Guyana reconsidered [=accepted?] the Paris frontier."
Source: "Enciclopedia Larousse", Madrid 1981
Santiago Dotor, 16 September 1999

More than half of Guyana's (former British Guyana) territory is claimed by Venezuela (as a matter of fact, it is legally determined that all Venezuelan maps should draw stripes over the reclamation zone, which gives Venezuela a second "leg").
Guillermo Aveledo, 17 September 1999

There is not any Guayana Esequiba Flag that I know of. I've seen people traveling there and planting the Venezuelan flag on its soil, but that's about it (in fact, a close friend of mine is member of a 'Frontier's Club' at my University, a club which tries to return Venezuela to her 1810 borders; he's unaware of any flag like that). The CTV (Confederacion de Frabajadores de Venezuela) flag has a Venezuelan map on it, and it shows the claimed territory, to the east of Venezuela, in red-white stripes (as it is usually portrayed here).
Guillermo Aveledo, 16 December 2000

Guayana is also the name of one of the administrative regions of Venezuela, composed of the States of Boli'var, Amazonas, and Delta Amacuro. See <en.wikipedia.org>.
Ned Smith, 12 March 2006