Objects, Histories and Encounters: British Guiana Seen Through Balata

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Balata or bullet tree of Guiana was known as one of the finest forest trees of British Guiana. This paper is based on reports from the 19th and 20th centuries (mainly from George Jenman and Everard im Thurn), publications, newspapers, and correspondence on British Guiana’s balata, a rubber-like material. These references were cross-referenced with objects related to balata that are now preserved at the collection of Economic Botany, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as well as with contemporary reports from Guyanese Amerindian. By doing this, a more precise image of this less known rubber material from Guyana came forth, as well as the issues and histories behind it, namely the cross-cultural
encounters, the objects significance and their context, and how the colony was managed. Despite the fact that balata was seen, during the last years of the 19th century, as an alternative commodity and a possible answer to the sugar crisis, not much was done to improve its trade
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-141
Number of pages18
JournalFronteiras - Journal of Social, Technological and Environmental Science.
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • George Samuel Jenman (1845 - 1902)
  • Balata
  • Guiana Britânica
  • Everard im Thurn (1852 - 1932)


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