Essequibo River

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**Geographical Information**:
– Essequibo River flows through the Guianan moist forests ecoregion in Guyana, South America.
– The average annual rainfall in its catchment area is 2,174 mm.
– It features rapids and waterfalls like Kaieteur Falls and has an estuary that is 20km wide with small islands.
– Tributaries include Rupununi, Potaro, Mazaruni, Siparuni, Kuyuwini, and Konawaruk.
– It is the longest river in Guyana, covering approximately 1/5 of the country’s land area and drains into the Atlantic Ocean.
– The river is crucial for transportation and commerce in the region.

– Essequibo River is rich in biodiversity, with over 300 fish species in its basin, nearly 60 of which are endemics.
– The Upper Mazaruni River alone is home to 36-39 species, with some still undescribed, and at least 24 fish species unique to the Mazaruni River.
– There is faunal exchange during floods with the Branco River, enhancing biodiversity in the region.
– The river supports diverse aquatic and bird life, providing habitats for various flora and fauna and is essential for conservation efforts in Guyana.

**Historical and Cultural Significance**:
– Explored by various expeditions in the 19th and 20th centuries, including significant expeditions by Schomburgk, Eigenmann, and British geologists Berrangé and Johnson.
– The river is associated with the search for El Dorado and has witnessed conflicts over territorial claims.
– It played a role in the colonial history of the region, with Dutch settlement along the Essequibo in the 17th century and a border dispute between Venezuela and Guyana in the 20th century.
– Essequibo River is significant to indigenous communities along its banks, playing a role in traditional rituals and ceremonies, reflecting the cultural heritage of Guyana, and being the subject of myths and legends in local folklore.

**Environmental Threats**:
– The river faces challenges from deforestation, pollution from mining activities, and dam construction impacting river ecosystems.
Climate change is affecting water levels in the river, posing a threat to the overall ecosystem.
– Efforts are underway to address these threats and ensure the sustainable management of the Essequibo River and its surrounding areas.

– Various expeditions, including the 1971, 2013, and 2018 expeditions, have contributed to the scientific knowledge and mapping of the Essequibo River and its basin.
– These expeditions have explored different parts of the river, from its headwaters to its mouth, utilizing various tools like topographical maps, local knowledge, GPS, and machetes.
– The expeditions have been vital in discovering new species, understanding the river’s course, and uncovering the cultural and environmental significance of the Essequibo River.

Essequibo River (Wikipedia)

The Essequibo River (Spanish: Río Esequibo; originally called by Alonso de Ojeda; Río Dulce) is the largest river in Guyana, and the largest river between the Orinoco and Amazon. Rising in the Acarai Mountains near the Brazil–Guyana border, the Essequibo flows to the north for 1,014 km (630 mi) through forest and savanna into the Atlantic Ocean. It has a total drainage basin of 156,828 km2 (60,552 sq mi) and an average discharge of 5,650 m3/s (200,000 cu ft/s).

Essequibo River
Río Esequibo
The Essequibo River in Guyana
Map of the Essequibo drainage basin
Physical characteristics
 • locationAcarai Mountains
 • coordinates1°25′2.0532″N 58°59′53.8764″W / 1.417237000°N 58.998299000°W / 1.417237000; -58.998299000
 • elevation250 m (820 ft)
MouthAtlantic Ocean
 • coordinates
7°02′N 58°27′W / 7.033°N 58.450°W / 7.033; -58.450
 • elevation
0 ft (0 m)
Length1,014 km (630 mi)
Basin size156,828 km2 (60,552 sq mi) 158,232.7 km2 (61,094.0 sq mi)
 • locationAtlantic Ocean, Guyana (near mouth)
 • average(Period: 1971–2000)5,136 m3/s (181,400 cu ft/s) 5,650 m3/s (200,000 cu ft/s) 178 km3/a (5,600 m3/s)
 • locationBartica (80 km upstream of mouth; Basin size: 154,175 km2 (59,527 sq mi)
 • average(Period: 1979–2015)156.24 km3/a (4,951 m3/s)

(Period: 1971–2000)5,043.9 m3/s (178,120 cu ft/s)

(Period: 1965–1998)4,100 m3/s (140,000 cu ft/s)
 • minimum(Period: 1965–1998)1,850 m3/s (65,000 cu ft/s)
 • maximum(Period: 1965–1998)8,700 m3/s (310,000 cu ft/s)
 • locationPlantain Island (Basin size: 66,563 km2 (25,700 sq mi)
 • average(Period: 1971–2000)2,316.8 m3/s (81,820 cu ft/s) 2,832 m3/s (100,000 cu ft/s)
 • minimum145 m3/s (5,100 cu ft/s)
 • maximum8,010 m3/s (283,000 cu ft/s)
 • locationApoteri (Basin size: 22,679.1 km2 (8,756.4 sq mi)
 • average(Period: 1971–2000)617.6 m3/s (21,810 cu ft/s)
Basin features
River systemEssequibo River
 • leftKamoa, Kassikaityu, Kuyuwini, Rupununi, Siparuni, Konawaruk, Potaro, Cuyuni, Supenaam
 • rightChodikar

Territory near the river is argued over by Venezuela and Guyana. The river is administered by Guyana after being previously colonized by the British. Historically, Venezuela has claimed the Essequibo River as their most eastern border, though in practice it was under Dutch control.

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