In a few weeks, Guyanese will be celebrating a key event in Guyanese culture - no, not the end of Elections. Mashramani / Republic Day! Celebrated on February 23, this day has its roots in another moment in Guyanese history. The 1763 Berbice Rebellion broke out at Plantation Magdalenenburg on February 23, 1763 and cemented Cuffy as one of our national heroes. The Cuffy Statue, located in the Square of the Revolution, is also one of Georgetown's more iconic and recognizable sights.
The statue itself unveiled on May 23, 1976, to mark Guyana’s tenth independence anniversary. The statue is wrought with meaning (and not the inaccurate crude ones that are floating around), so we've compiled a handy 2 page diagram to help you understand and look at Cuffy a little differently. You can also view it here.
Bonus fact on the date: Republic Day's date was chosen by President LFS Burnham not only as the day we became a Republic, but also to commemorate this Rebellion. While there had been attempts prior to this date, such as the rebellion that was quickly suppressed in 1762, the Berbice Rebellion was a more concerted and organized effort. It was the first time in the country's history where an attempt to establish an independent state was made. While the exact number of slaves in the colony at the time seems to be debatable, the number is somewhere between 3000-5000. Just as impressively, the Rebellion lasted for approximately 10 months and stood a strong chance of complete victory until neighbouring colonies joined the Dutch.