In April 1812, Stabroek was renamed to Georgetown by Governor Carmichael, who was responsible for managing the Colony at the time. However, the origin and reasoning behind the name "Georgetown" varies significantly, depending on what article or book you read first. Many of the sources are very reputable and yet they aren't consistent. So who are the Georges and which is the right story?
Fort St. George
Some posit that the name has it's origins in Fort St. George, which was established at the mouth of the Demerara River during the Dutch occupation. It is said that the Fort was located on the Company Path where the National Museum now stands. The Company Path lay between Plantations Vlissengen and Cumingsburg.
Popularly known as the "Mad King", King George III was the reigning Monarch at the time Stabroek was renamed to Georgetown. It was generally accepted that he had a genetic blood disorder called porphyria, but later studies have indicated that he may have in fact had a mental illness. He was King for 60 years, the third longest in British history.
George IV was King George III's son. He acted as Prince Regent for 10 years and then reigned as King for another 10 years. He became an unpopular Monarch as he had several mistresses and illegitimate children and spent money very extravagantly and indulgently.
Why the disparity?
George III's bouts of insanity left him unable to reign as King, a duty that became permanently managed by his son, George IV, who acted as Prince Regent from 1810-1820. As such, when Georgetown was named in 1812, George III was technically King even though George IV was fulfilling the role as Prince Regent. Most archived documents report of the name change from Stabroek (which was the name during the reign of the Dutch) to Georgetown without actually identifying which George they meant.
The debate simmers on with various notable people reasoning out their decision. For example, former Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Greene points out that if Georgetown was meant to be named after George IV, Guyana's Capital City would have likely been named Princetown or Prince Regent's Town, and not Georgetown as the reigning George was still alive.
James Rodway seems to favour St. George is the winner and notes that St. George's Cathedral was located on the Company Path in the area where the Fort once stood. Interestingly enough, St. George is the Patron Saint of England. Having been named while Guyana was a British Colony, perhaps it seemed fitting to pay homage to the Saint?
After reading the three potential sources of the name, what do you think? Which is the right George?
Note: The Benab is always open for discussion. If you have additional information to contribute, please drop us a line. We are certainly willing to listen!
UK Daily Chronicle, 1812 (& other associated UK publications)
James Rodway: The Story of Georgetown
Odeen Ishmael: The Guyana Story
Hamilton Greene: Georgetown: An Anthology of Georgetown- Guyana and a piece of the world
Land of Six Peoples: http://www.
Brit Royals: http://www.britroyals.
National Trust: http://nationaltrust.
Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.
Pegasus Hotel: http://www.