Guyana was formerly known as British Guiana and was the only British colony in South America. It is framed by the Atlantic Ocean north, Venezuela to its west, Suriname at the east and Brazil on the south and southwest.
Guyana on the North Coast of South america
Guyana is almost as large as the United Kingdom but the population is just under one million. Most of the people live on the flat coastal belt facing the Atlantic.
Guyana and Neighbouring Countries
Nature flourishes here in its near pristine beauty, rain forests thrive, rivers and rapids find their way through savannas and mountains to the lakes and waterfalls. There in the heart of Guyana plunges the Kaieteur, one of the most majestic waterfalls in the world. It is five times higher than Niagara and in is good company with the great rivers of South America, the Amazon to the south and the Orinoco to the west.
The Guyanese climate suggests a tropical paradise; evenly hot throughout the year, but tempered by a constant sea breeze with a rainy season to ensure predominantly bright green landscapes.
Georgetown, the capital, has a reputation for being the ‘garden city’ of South America. Guyana also boasts the highest wooden building in the world, St George’s Cathedral. In sport, Guyana and the former British West Indian Islands make up the West Indies Cricket team.
Main Street Georgetown
St Georges Cathedral Georgetown
West Indies Cricket Team
The country was first sighted by Christopher Columbus in 1498 and settled by the Dutch around 1580. It was also sighted by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1595 when searching for El Dorado,’the country of gold’. The British took over part of the colony in 1814 and later the whole country in 1831, when it became known as British Guiana. Early Dutch occupation accounts for the Dutch names of most of the villages and townships.
Eldorado the Fabled City of Gold
Most people worked in the sugar industry, on rice cultivation, small scale farming, fishing and rearing cattle. Industrial mining (of bauxite, gold, diamond and minerals) provided significant yield as did the lumber trade. Greenheart, reputed to be the hardest wood in the world, grows here. Resistant to termites, it thrives in water and is widely used to structures such as wharves. Bookers, of the Booker Prize award, had been the biggest industrial and commercial business in the colony. Guyana’s economic and political life had been closely bound to the fortunes of this company.
Sugar Cane Factory
Guyana is called the land of six peoples: African, East Indian, Amerindian, Chinese, Portuguese and those of other European descent. The early European settlers cultivated sugar cane using slave labour. After the abolition of slavery, labourers were obtained from Europe, in particular, Portuguese from Madeira, East Indians from India and Chinese mainly from Hong Kong. This accounts for the cosmopolitan population.
English is the language of the Guyanese citizens. The colloquial language is a rich blend of accents, words and phrases derived from colonial planters hailing from England,Scotland,Wales,Holland and from the early Africans,, East Indians and Chinese.