Location: Victoria, Demerara
Classification: Historic Settlement
Period/ Year Built: Established 1839
Historical Background / Description:
The community of Victoria has the distinction of being the first village to be bought and established by former slaves in British Guiana. This act, carried out by the ex-slaves, paved the way for the birth of what was known as the African Village Movement. Victoria is located 26.5 kilometres (16.46 miles) away from Georgetown on the East Coast of Demerara. On November 7, 1839, 83 men and women who were former slaves from the plantations of Dochour, Ann’s Grove, Hope, Paradise and Enmore pooled their resources to buy an abandoned plantation called Northbrook.
Most of these former slaves practiced burying their savings prior to the purchase, since they considered this as the safest option for safeguarding their monies. The sale was conducted at Public Buildings which is now also known as Parliament Building. The slaves took 30,000 guilders ($10,828.38) in a wheelbarrow to make the initial payment and paid the remainder a few weeks later. The area bought was approximately 2 square kilometres (500 acres).
After the sale was completed, a petition dated November 30, 1839, sought approval from the Queen of England for the village to be named in her honour. On January 4, 1841, the transport for the community was finalized and included the names of the original proprietors of the village. In 1845, the village codes for Local Government regulations were established and the community was officially recognised under the name Victoria.