Deed of Manumission

REF No 2004-27



The Deeds of manumission is a fragment of a manuscript. It is a register of the enslaved Africans who bought their freedom or the freedom of their loved ones. They are dated 1826 and the paper on which they are recorded in ink is fragile. Each name is recorded with the corresponding amount paid as well as the name of the slave owner.


Name of documentary heritage: Deed of Manumission
State, province or region

Caribbean Research Library
University of Guyana Library
Greater Georgetown
South America

Name of organization or institution (if appropriate): University of Guyana Library


Description and Inventory

The document contains the names of slaves who were manumitted enfranchised, and make free from their owners for sums of money in Holland currency.

Bibliographical/Registration details
Bibliographic details are available in the Rare Book List of the University Library.

Visual documentation, if appropriate (for example, photographs or a video of the documentary heritage): Nil

Africans were brought from the West Coast of Africa by Dutch traders to British Guiana to work on the sugar plantation as slaves during the seventeenth century.

Available in the Rare Book collection of the University Library.

Names, qualifications and contact details of independent people or organizations with expert knowledge about the values and provenance of the documentary heritage.

(i) The Head, Department of History
University of Guyana
Turkeyen, Gr. Georgetown, Guyana
South America

(ii) Dr. W. McGowan
Department of History
University of Guyana
Turkeyen, Gr. Georgetown, Guyana
South America

Assessment against the Selection Criteria

African slavery in the Caribbean has been regarded as the worst period of servitude in human history. The document could be used to influence further research on the topic. 

The document covers the early period of the nineteenth century history of British Guiana.

It provides information on the manumission of some slaves in Essequibo and Demerara.

The people who were manumitted were Africans who were taken from the West Coast of Africa and sold as slaves to the European plantation owners in British Guiana by mostly Dutch traders.

Freedom of African slaves in British Guiana or manumission of slaves in British Guyana.

Form and Style
The document is in manuscript form.

Social Value
The document represents an important primary resource material relating to the history of the African people of Guyana in general, and particularly, it represents for them, the end of a long period of servitude which was very degrading and humiliating to humanity.

Secondary Criterion 

It could assist in doing research on social values and other social aspects of the African’s existence.

The significance of this heritage is extraordinary rare. It is felt that it does not exist elsewhere in Guyana.

Evaluation of the authenticity

An assessment of rarity (if appropriate)

Legal Information

Owner (name and contact details)
University Librarian
University of Guyana Library

Custodian (name and contact details)
University Librarian
University of Guyana Library

Legal status

  1. Category of ownership
    Higher Educational Institution

  2. Details of legal and administrative provisions for the preservation of the documentary        

    Deed of manumission is being kept in the Caribbean Research Library of the University of Guyana. Information is still in its primary form (manuscript) and is stored in a box.

  3. Accessibility
    The collection is in a close accessed area but can be accessed through request to the 
    University Librarian.

  4. Copyright status

The information has been freely shared with non-profit organizations and researchers. It can be photocopied but cannot be sold for profit.

  Responsible administration
University of Guyana Library

  1. The University of Guyana Library’s administration is committed to the preservation and maintenance of this document by fumigating the environment regularly, limiting the access of light to the area and maintaining the cool temperature of the atmosphere by the use of an air-condition unit.

Management Plan

Public access via the card catalogue, holdings list and subsequently, accessed electronically.


Details of consultation about the nomination with the

  1. Owner - University of Guyana Library via Fax, E-mail or post.

  2. Custodian - Caribbean Research Library, University of Guyana

  3. Relevant Regional or National Memory of the World Committee (if appropriate)


University of Guyana Library

Relationship of documentary heritage

Contact person (if appropriate)
University Librarian, University of Guyana Library

Contact details

University Librarian
University of Guyana Library
Greater Georgetown
South America


Assessment of risk

The document is very aged. It was prepared since 1803. As such, it is very brittle and can be damaged from handling.

Preservation assessment

The document needs to be digitized and preserved in some other manner.

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