|Government||republic within the Commonwealth|
|Currency||Guyanese dollar (GYD)|
|Area||total: 214,970 sq km |
water: 18,120 sq km
land: 196,850 sq km
|Language||English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu|
|Religion||Christian 50%, Hindu 35%, Muslim 10%, other 5%|
Guyana is a country in north-eastern South America. It has a North Atlantic Ocean coastline in the northeast, and lies between Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west, with Brazil to the south.
It is a member of the British Commonwealth, formerly being the colony of British Guiana, and is now the third-smallest country in South America after Suriname and Uruguay. Substantial portions of its western and eastern territories are claimed by Venezuela and Suriname respectively.
- Administrative divisions
- 10 regions;
- East Berbice-Corentyne
- Essequibo Islands-West Demerara
- Upper Demerara-Berbice
- Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo
- Georgetown - Capital
Ports and harbors
- New Amsterdam
Tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to mid-August, mid-November to mid-January); Natural hazards : Flash floods are a constant threat during rainy seasons.
Mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south
- Highest point
- Mount Roraima 2,835 m
Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. This ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics.
- 26 May 1966 (from UK)
- National holiday
- Republic Day, 23 February (1970)
- 6 October 1980
Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, but until the early 1990s it was ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president, in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. Upon his death five years later, he was succeeded by his wife Janet, who resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was reelected in 2001.
- English, Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
Homosexuality is illegal in Guyana and carries a sentence of life in prison.
Guyana is currently in a border dispute with Venezuela to the west and Suriname to the east. Moreover, there are increasing black riots and crime, making it a dangerous place to visit. Expect no help from weak, corrupt police forces.
The country's largest hospital is the Georgetown Public Hospital and is located in the capital. Facilities here are basic, even though it is a tertiary referral centre. There is very poor disposal of 'sharps' (needles etc.) - worrying given country's growing HIV prevalance.
Yellow fever is endemic to this area; monkeys are a reservoir, but you can catch it even in cities. Be sure to get immunized before you leave, and take mosquito repellent with you.