January 27, 2009

The TRAMWAYS OF GEORGETOWN, BRITISH GUIANA.

Posted in Economics, Guyana, History tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:31 pm by randallbutisingh

The TRAMWAYS OF GEORGETOWN, BRITISH GUIANA.

by Allen Morrison

Tram on Water Street, Georgetown -1928

Tram on Water Street, Georgetown -1908

British Guiana – today called Guyana – was one of three colonies settled by Northern Europeans on the northeast coast of South America. Jurisdiction and borders were disputed for 400 years and it was not until recently that any degree of autonomy was achieved. French Guiana became a département of France in 1946. Dutch Guiana acquired independence and became Republic of Suriname in 1975. British Guiana got its independence in 1966 and was renamed Guyana; it became Republic of Guyana in 1970. The Dutch gave the name Stabroek to their metropolis on the Demerara River. The British renamed it Georgetown in 1812.

In 1848 the British built a railroad, 5 miles long, from Georgetown to Plaisance, which was the first railroad on the South American continent. (Peru and Chile opened their first railroads in 1851, Brazil in 1854, Argentina in 1857, next-door Venezuela not until 1877.) The British later extended the line 60 miles and built another railroad west from Vreed-en-Hoop, on the other side of the Demerara River. Dutch Guiana built a steam tramway at Paramaribo in 1905 and each of the Guianas had short industrial lines. French Guiana never had a passenger railroad.

A street railway began carrying passengers in Georgetown in 1877. The line was acquired by Georgetown Tramways Company in 1880 and used vehicles built by John Stephenson Company in New York. The colorized postcard view below shows the terminus of an unidentified line about 1890. Note architecture of the houses, very different from what one would find in neighboring Venezuela or Brazil.

Click the following link for the full article which has postcard pictures of the trams in Georgetown, and highlights the architecture of that era, which is still a feature of the city.

http://www.tramz.com/gy/g.html

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