Guyana - Encyclopedia Information
Official name Cooperative Republic of Guyana
Formation 1966 / 1966
Population 800,000 / 11 people per sq mile (4 people per sq km)
Total area 83,000 sq. miles (214,970 sq. km)
Languages English Creole, Hindi, Tamil, Amerindian languages, English*
Religions Christian 57%, Hindu 28%, Muslim 10%, Other 5%
Ethnic mix East Indian 43%, Black African 30%, Mixed race 17%, Amerindian 9%, Other 1%
Government Presidential system
Currency Guyanese dollar = 100 cents
Literacy rate 99%
Calorie consumption 2753 kilocalories
Guyana is situated in north-eastern South America, with Suriname to the east, Venezuela to the west and Brazil to the south.
The Dutch used to control Suriname before we took over, and they were in what is now Guyana before we were as well.
They set up two colonies, one known as Essquibo and one known as Berbice. And they brought in slaves to work on the plantations. Then in the mid-eighteenth century they decided to allow Brits to settle in the Demerara (as in the sugar) River area and plenty of Brits accordingly arrived there. From the point of view of the Dutch retaining control of it, this might not have been the most logical move, since the Demerara colony was to act as something of a bridgehead for expanding British interest in and involvement with the area prior to our eventual takeover there.
But it wasn’t just Brits and Dutch involved in the area. In 1763 the Berbice Slave Uprising erupted, led by a slave named Cuffy. Eventually, with British and French help, the uprising was crushed.
As with a lot of other Dutch colonies around the world, we saw our chance in this region when Revolutionary France took over in the Netherlands at the end of the eighteenth century. We took control in this area in 1796, and though we briefly gave it back to the Dutch under the Treaty of Amiens, we soon had it back again and kept it at the end of the Napeoleonic Wars.
In the nineteenth century, a massive border dispute developed with Venezuela as we expanded control westwards. But after international arbitration this was largely settled in our favour.
Guyana became independent in 1966.