Historic books, atlases donated to Guyana archives

Guyana’s national archives will be greatly enriched with the addition of several historic books and atlases depicting maps and other literature on the country’s history during Dutch and English colonial times.

These works, most of which are first and limited editions, were donated by Hieronymus Wosten, who is a Dutch national and registered Guyanese citizen who possesses a strong passion for Guyana’s rich history.

The historic books were presented to President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Friday

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali received the donations from Hieronymus and Shameena Wosten, alongside Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn on Friday.

Highlights of the donation include a 2012 atlas of the Dutch West India Company featuring documents from the Dutch National Archives, and the seminal the seminal 1888 “History of the Colonies Essequebo, Demerara, and Berbice” by P.M. Netscher.

According to a release issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the titles were as follows: Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch West India Company, Vol. II: The New WIC, 1674-1791, by Heijer, Henk den, et al. (2012); The Discoverie of the Large and Bewtiful Empire of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh; The Case of the United States of Venezuela Before the Tribunal of Arbitration by Hoen (1898), Storm van ‘s Gravesande: The Rise of British Guiana, Volumes I and II by J.A.J. de Villiers (1911), and History of the Colonies Essequebo, Demerary, and Berbice by P.M. Netscher (1888).

Wosten’s interest in Guyana’s history was sparked in 1997 by his wife, Shameena Wosten, a native of Guyana. This newfound passion, combined with his love for antique books and maps, fuelled his pursuit of historical documents from antique book dealers around the world.

Since moving to Guyana in 2022, he has continued his passion through discussions with Minister Benn, who is also a book enthusiast, and who alerted him to the Archives’ interest in such valuable donations.

Having studied these books extensively, the couple felt it was time to share them with the people of Guyana. Recognising the historical significance, they decided the archives were the perfect home for these treasures, where they can be appreciated by all. This generous donation undoubtedly enriches our national heritage.

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, was also present at the handing over ceremony.

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