This volume, the first of a three-part documentary of the Guyana-Venezuela border issue, gives a general overview of the early history of the colonization of the Essequibo region forming the large western part of Guyana. It presents the background to the origin of the territorial dispute which developed from 1840 and examines the opposing views of proposed boundary lines and the long trail of diplomatic exchanges between Venezuela and Great Britain (the colonial ruler of Guyana, then known as British Guiana). It concludes with the involvement of the United States in support of Venezuela, eventually leading to the international arbitration for a “full, perfect, and final settlement” and the arbitral award which delineated the territorial boundary in 1899.
Dr. Odeen Ishmael, a veteran Guyanese diplomat and widely published author, is currently Guyana’s ambassador to Kuwait and Qatar. He previously served as ambassador to Venezuela (2003–2011) and to the United States of America and the Organization of American States (1993–2003). He has written extensively on Guyanese history, education, and culture and is internationally recognized as a premier analyst and commentator on the political integration movement in South America. In 1997, his country decorated him with the Cacique Crown of Honor for his diplomatic work, and in 2002 in the United States, he was honored with the Martin Luther King Legacy Award for international service.