Guyana -- Geography --
Official Name: Cooperative Republic Guyana
Capital City: Georgetown
Languages: English (official language), hindi, urdu
Official Currency: Guyananese Dollar
Religions: Christians, Hindus, Muslims
Population: 772 298 (2009)
Land Area: 214 970 sq km; verges (in km) with Suriname - 625, Venezuela - 672, Brazil - 1 225 and has a coastline 480 kilometers.
Landforms: 4 geographical areas: coastal wetlands fields in hilly and sandy area to the east,
savannah of tropical forests and mountainous areas of south and central part.
Land Divisions: 10 area and 27 municipalities
Guyana -- History --
Guyana was inhabited by the Arawak and Carib tribes of Amerindians.
Although Christopher Columbus sighted Guyana during his third voyage
(in 1498), the Dutch were first to establish colonies: Essequibo (1616),
Berbice (1627), and Demerara (1752). The British assumed control in the
late 18th century, and the Dutch formally ceded the area in 1814. In 1831
the three separate colonies became a single British colony known as British Guiana.
Escaped slaves formed their own settlements known as Maroon communities.
With the abolition of slavery in 1834, many of the former slaves began
to settle in urban areas. Indentured labourers from modern-day Portugal
(1834), Germany (first in 1835), Ireland (1836), Scotland (1837), Malta (1839),
China and eastern India (Bengal and Bihar primarily, beginning in 1838) were
imported to work on the sugar plantations.In 1889, Venezuela claimed the
land up to the Essequibo. But ten years later, an international tribunal
ruled the land belonged to British Guŗyana.
Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966 and
became a republic on 23 February 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth.
The United States State Department and the US Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), along with the British government, played a strong role in influencing
who would politically control Guyana during this time. They provided
secret financial support and political campaign advice to Guŗyanese of African
descent, especially Forbes Burnham's People's National Congress to the
detriment of the Cheddi Jagan-led People's Progressive Party, mostly supported
by Guŗyanese of Indian descent.In 1978, Guyana received considerable
international attention when 918 almost entirely American members(more
than 300 of which were children) of the Jim Jones-led Peoples Temple died in
a mass murder/suicide in Jonestown ó a settlement created by the Peoples
Temple. An attack by Jim Jones' body guards at a small remote airstrip close
to Jonestown resulted in the murder of five people, including Leo Ryan, the
only Congressman murdered in the line of duty in US history.
Guyana -- Economy --
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries produce about half of all export earnings.
In the agricultural sector employs about one quarter of the working population.
Arable land is less than 1% of the country, almost all of them are
concentrated in the coastal strip. Main crops: sugar cane, rice (grown
mainly farmers of Indian origin), cocoa, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, bananas
and citrus fruits. Vegetables and beans are produced mainly for domestic
consumption. Meat production is concentrated in the savanna, and milk -
in the coastal strip.
There extraction of gold and bauxite, precious stones and diamonds. They
are state owned, which provides concessions for their exploitation by
private companies. Among exporters of bauxite in the Latin America Guyana
ranks fourth after Brazil, Jamaica and Suriname, and is among 11 world
leaders. Since 1975 the government nationalized bauxite mining, but now
planned partial privatization and restructuring. Were found large deposits
of oil, but it is not usable, and the country remains dependent on oil
imports. Manufacturing is poorly developed, specialized in processing of
raw materials and agricultural products.
Guyana exported sugar, gold, bauxite, rice, shrimp, molasses, rum, timber,
plywood etc.. The output of Guyana is exported to Canada, the United
States, Britain, Portugal, Belgium and Jamaica. Imported machinery,
equipment, petroleum, transport equipment, construction materials,
foodstuffs, manufactured goods. Key partners: U.S., Trinidad and Tobago,
Italy, Britain and Cuba.
Guyana -- Culture --
Guyana, along with Suriname, French Guiana,
and Brazil, is one of the four non-Hispanic nations in South America.
Guyana's culture is very similar to that of the English-speaking Caribbean
, and has historically been tied to the English speaking Caribbean as
part of the British Empire when it became a possession in the nineteenth
century. Guyana is a founding member of the Caricom (Caribbean Community)
The geographical location, the sparsely populated rain forest regions,
and the substantial Amerindian population differentiate it from
English-speaking Caribbean countries. Its blend of Indo-Guyanese
(East Indian) and Afro-Guyanese (African) cultures gives it similarities
to Trinidad and distinguishes it from other parts of the Americas.
Guyanese have similar interests with the islands in the West Indies,
such as food, festive events, music, sports, etc.
Guyana plays international cricket. “he Guyana team plays first class
cricket against other nations of the Caribbean. In March and April
2007 Guyana co-hosted the Cricket World Cup 2007. In addition to its
CARICOM membership, Guyana is a member of CONCACAF, the international
football federation for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Guyana -- Political system, law and government --
Politics of Guyana takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential
representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Guyana
is the head of government, and of a multi-party system and is elected
for 5 years. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative
power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly of
Guyana. It includes 65 members, elected also for 5 years. Historically,
politics is a source of tension in the country, and violent riots
have often broken out during elections. During the 1970s and 1980s,
the political landscape was dominated by the People's National
Congress.In 1992, the first "free and fair" elections were overseen
by former United States President Jimmy Carter.