Who owns the Maroni?

The islands on the Maroni River

The islands on the Maroni River

Marouini River – Thomas Donovan

A good question. One I finally found addressed in a fascinating paper by Thomas W. Donovan who states…

In perhaps the most desolate and under-populated area in the South America lies one of the most lingering boundary conflicts of modern nations.”

Could this pose difficulties for some poor sod planning a marina development in French Guiana? Especially when at first glance (i.e. a look at Google Maps), the entire river appears to belong to Suriname?

Well, Google’s Map sources apparently have a history of getting it all wrong. Sometimes with dire consequences…

For example, in November 2010:

All because of an error on a map!

All because of an error on a map!

Click here for the full article

Apparently Google has done it again with respect to the Maroni because in fact…

“ a treaty was finally concluded at Paris September 30, 1915 between the Dutch Minister De Steurs, and the French Foreign Minister Déclassé. The treaty was limited to the islands in the Maroni River between the northern point of Stoelman’s Island (Dutch) and the Southern extremity of Portal Island (French). It provided that

  1. a line in the middle of the river (at normal flow) should mark the boundary (thalweg);
  2. islands entirely or largely to the west of this line should be Dutch while those entirely or largely to the East of this line should be French;
  3. navigation on the river should be free to both nations;”

Which would make the current maps only about 100 years out of date….