Berbice Villages Have Scottish Roots
By: Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq.
About 30 villages in Berbice, Guyana are named after places in the Scottish Highlands, including, Fyrish, Alness, Rosehall, Cromarty, and Tain. Gaiutra Bahadur, in her vital book Coolie Woman, brings this interesting fact to the masses.
Bahadur explained that many Berbice sugar plantation owners came from the Highlands (the north and west portion of Scotland). They named their plantations after various regions in the Highlands. After the plantations closed, or the villages were formed, the villages retained the Scottish plantation names.
Scotland is not usually associated with Guyana. British and Dutch influences are prevalent and pervasive. However, the Scottish Highlands, also part of the United Kingdom, left these namesake legacies in Guyana.
For reference, Guyana is located on the northern tip of South America, between Venezuela and Suriname, and north of Brazil. The first inhabitants included the Caribs, Akawois, and Arawaks. The Dutch were the first Europeans to colonize the area. After that, there were shifts in the reign between the British and the French. Britain ultimately prevailed and ruled “British Guiana” (as Guyana was known during that time) for over a century. The British colonized Guyana in order to capitalize off of its sugar. The Guyanese population today is mainly comprised of decedents of enslaved Africans and Indian indentured servants.
If you ever wondered where these relatively strange Berbice names came from, now you know...
Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. is a trial-winning business and trademark attorney. She primarily helps new and small businesses with trademarks, formation, and name clearance searches. She writes articles on the importance of trademarks, trademark law updates, and also West Indian history (with an emphasis on India, Trinidad, Guyana, and the United States).
MDGR Law, P.A.
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