Republic of Independent Guiana

The Republic of Independent Guiana (French: République de la Guyane indépendante) commonly referred to by the name of the capital Counani (rendered "Cunani" in Portuguese by the Brazilians), was a short-lived independent state in South America.

Republic of Independent Guiana

République de la Guyane Indépendante
Counani
1886–1891
Flag of Republic of Counani
Flag of the Republic of Independent Guyana (1887-1904).svg
First (1886–1887) and second (1887–1891) flag of the Republic of Counani
Coat of arms of Republic of Counani
Coat of arms
Republic of Independent Guiana shown in dark green
Republic of Independent Guiana shown in dark green
CapitalCounani, Calçoene, Amapá, Brazil
2°50′55″N 51°07′30″W / 2.8485°N 51.1250°W / 2.8485; -51.1250Coordinates: 2°50′55″N 51°07′30″W / 2.8485°N 51.1250°W / 2.8485; -51.1250
Common languagesFrench
History 
• Founding of Counani
23 July 1886
• Disestablished
1891
Area
60,000[1] km2 (23,000 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
French Third Republic
Empire of Brazil
First Brazilian Republic
French Guiana
Today part of Brazil
 French Guiana

Republic (1886-1891)Edit

The borders between French Guiana and Brazil were not clear. Attempts at negotiations failed, and in 1862 it was decided that the area between the Amazon and the Oyapock was a neutral territory. Paul Quartier who had previously visited the territory in 1883, returned in 1885 and had a meeting with the village chiefs of Counani and Carsewenne (nowadays: Calçoene) who were hostile to the Brazilians.[2][3] The gentlemen signed a treaty on 23 July 1886 creating the country of Counani in the disputed area.[4]

A government was set up in Counani[5] lead by Jules Gros as President, Guigues as Minister of State and Quartier as Quartermaster. They set about recruiting settlers, and according to Le Gaulois received over 3,000 requests.[2] Both France and Brazil did not like what was happening and released a joint statement on 11 September 1887 stating that the Republic of Counani is not recognized.[2] Gros was later deposed by his officials, and the death of Gros in 1891 resulted in the end of the short lived first Republic.[6]

In 1894 gold was discovered in the Calçoene River, which resulted in a declaration of another autonomous state under Brazilian protection by general Francisco Cabral.[2] In May 1895, Cabral arrested the village chief of Calçoene who had changed sides to the French. Camille Charvein, the Governor of French Guiana, sent troops to Mapá (nowadays: Amapá), and forced Cabral to retreat. Six French, and 30 Brazilian soldiers and civilians were killed during the battle.[3] In 1897, France and Brazil asked Switzerland to settle the dispute, and most of the territory of the former state of Counani was given to Brazil in what is nowadays the state of Amapá.[2]

Free State of Counani (1901–1904)Edit

 
Flag of the Free State of Counani (1901–1904)

In 1901 a Frenchman named Adolphe Brezet proclaimed himself "Président de l'État libre de Counani".[6] According to newspaper articles based on Brezet's statements, he was elected democratically in 1901.[7]

This "special" State had a constitution, a flag and issued some stamps. It was never recognized by Brazil or France, but the South African Boer Republics opened diplomatic relations with Brezet (who had fought for them previously) during the Boer wars.[8] In 1904, Japan and Russia asked for vessels which Brezet didn't have, and thus exposed himself to France and Brazil. Nevertheless he claimed to be a president until 1911 when he was exiled to London.[9] In 1913, he claimed support of the British navy in a plan to recapture Counani.[7]

Claimants of Head of StateEdit

  • Jules Gros (1809–1891) – a French journalist who laid claim as head of state from 1887 to 1891; he was Secretary of the Société de géographie in 1883[6]
  • Francisco Xavier da Veiga Cabral - a Brazilian general (1894-1895)[2]
  • Adolphe Brezet - a French military officer (1901–1904)[6]

ReferencesEdit

CitationsEdit

  1. ^ "L'ÉTAT LIBRE DU OU L'EXPRESSION D'UNE COUNANI GUYANE INDÉPENDANTE" (PDF). Académie de Guyane via Archive.org (in French). Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Denis Lamaison. "The Republic of Counani: The man who would be king". Guianas Geographic. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b Stéphane Granger (2011). "Le Contesté franco-brésilien : enjeux et conséquences d'un conflit oublié entre la France et le Brésil". Outre-Mers. Revue d'histoire (in French): 162–163.
  4. ^ "Medic@ - Résultats — BIU Santé, Paris". Biusante.parisdescartes.fr. Retrieved 1 May 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Livres anciens : Etat libre du Counani : Livre rouge n°3". Bibliotheque Numerique Caraibe Amazone Plateau des Guyanes (in French). 1906. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d "10 Private Adventurers And The Nations They Forged". Listverse.com. 6 June 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b "Modern Romance in the Land of El-Dorado". Library of Congress. The Sun New York. 4 August 1918. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  8. ^ "South African Republic At War With Germany". Library of Congress. The Tacoma Times. 29 January 1916. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Histoire de la république de Counani (1886-1912)". Henri Coudreau (in French). Retrieved 5 August 2020.

SourcesEdit