Guyana is a small exceptionally diverse country in northern South America. With an area of 214,969 sqkm, Guyana is slightly smaller than the United Kingdom and is bordered by Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela. The country has a 459 km Atlantic coast.
Though geographically South American, English is spoken in Guyana. Culturally the country is more English speaking Caribbean than South American. Guyana’s culture has been shaped by the people who settled there. The population of approximately three quarters of a million is made up of Amerindians, European descendants, descendants of African slaves and descendants of indentured immigrants from India, China and Madeira. The culture of these people has been woven into the Guyanese cultural fabric and is expressed through architecture, cuisine, religion and festivals.
Georgetown is the capital city and chief port of the country. It is the most populated town in the country and is located on the densely populated coast.
Guyana’s economy is supported by agriculture on its fertile coast. Rice and sugar cane cultivation dominate the crops grown and make up the bulk of the agricultural exports. The country’s natural resource rich interior supports bauxite, gold and diamond mining. Commercial logging also contributes to the economy.
Tourism is an emerging industry premised on the history, culture and natural history of the country. Supporting the industry are interior lodges and Amerindian communities engaged in community based tourism. These businesses give access to the country’s outstanding landscapes, rainforests, rivers, waterfalls, flora and fauna. Guyana’s avifauna is particularly diverse with 800+ species recorded, several of which are endemic to the Guiana Shield.
The Guiana Shield is an ancient rock formation laid down 1,700 million years ago. The shield comprises basement volcanic and metamorphic rocks overlain by sandstone and conglomerate much of which terminates as tabletop mountains (tepuis). The shield is found in five countries in South America – North Eastern Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela and Columbia, up to the Andes – and has a high degree of biodiversity and endemism associated with it. This has resulted in Guyana being covered with rainforest across 80% of its area with 70% of this forest still intact. The natural areas associated with the shield – rainforests, savannahs, wetlands, swamps and highlands – support several habitats which in turn sustain several species of plants, mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. The Guiana Shield is also home to and provides sustenance for Guyana’s Amerindian communities.
Being in the tropics, Guyana enjoys a hot humid climate. The movement of the ITCZ influences the weather patterns. There are two dry and two rainy seasons. The climate is ideal for the regeneration and sustaining of the various life forms found in Guyana. It also allows for sightseeing at most times of the year.
|Official Name||Co-operative Republic of Guyana|
|Capital City||Georgetown, on the Eastern Bank of the estuary of the Demerara River|
|Previously Called||British Guiana|
|Location||North Eastern South America between the latitudes 1° 10″ and 8° 33″
North and 56° 20″ and 61° 22″ West
|Size||214,970km² (83,000 sq miles)|
|Independence||26 May 1966|
|Republic||23 February 1970|
|Currency||Guyana Dollar (G$)|
|Ethnic Groups||Amerindian, African, Chinese, East Indians, Europeans, Mixed|
|Shared Borders||Atlantic Ocean, Brazil, Suriname & Venezuela|
|Climate||Tropical humid climate characterised by two distinct wet seasons –
May to mid August and December to January; south of 4° latitude one wet season –
April to September
|Temperature||Day Time – Coast: 26°C – 32°C
Night Time – Coast : minimum of 22°C
Day Time -Interior: 29°C – 35°C
Night Time – Interior: minimum of 20°C
|Ninety Two Days||Evelyn Waugh|
|The Lost Eldorado||Matthew Young French|
|Fragile Frontier||Marcus Colchester|
|The West on Trial||Cheddi Jagan|
|Geography of Guyana||Derrick Bernard|
|Geomorphology of Guyana||J R K Daniel|
|Black Midas||Jan Carew|
|History of Georgetown||James Rodway|
|All the Cowboys were Indians||S Brock|
|Three Singles to Adventure||Gerald Durrell|
|Land of Waters||Ro McConnell|
|Bradt Travel Guide||Kirk Smock|
|Canoe and Camp Life in British Guyana||Barrington Brown|
|Guyana||Edited by Arif Ali|
|Rupununi: Rediscovering a Lost World||Graham Watkins, Pete Oxford & Reneé Bish|
|Colonialism and Underdevelopment in Guyana – 1580 – 1803||Alvin Thompson|
|The Wild Coast||John Gimlette|