Guyana is a country located on the northern coast of South America. It is
bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean and on the east by Suriname. On the
south side Guyana is bordered by Brazil, and on the west side is Brazil and
Venezuela. Guyana achieved its independence on May 26, 1966 when it broke away
Land and Resources
Guyana has three different major geographical regions. These consist of
a belt of soil which ranges from five to forty miles, a dense forest area which
makes up about four-fifths of the country and a region of savanna. The country
also has many rivers that have some spectacular waterfalls and one river has the
highest single-drop waterfall in the world. These rivers are navigable from the
sea to about one-hundred miles inland, after that they are no longer navigable
due to rapids and falls.
The lands of Guyana have many valuable natural resources. Within the
lands you can find gold, diamonds, kaolin, manganese and bauxite. If you were to
travel a little ways off shore, you could also locate some petroleum. These
natural resources are very important in helping out the economy of this poor
The lands have much resource also found in the vegetation and the
forests. The plants and trees are documented for their abnormal size and density.
Guyana has an excellent lumber industry, they sell some of the finest greenheart
as well as mora. Within the forests are a big variety of wildlife which can
range from deer to anteater and a few types of monkeys. The birds are very
diverse, they consist of for example sugarbirds, cotingas and manakins all which
feed on Guyana’s vast array of insects.
Population , Education and Culture
Guyana has an estimated 800,000 people or on an average of 3.8 people
per square mile. Georgetown is the capital and it holds a few hundred thousand
people. Being the capital, it is the main port city and holds the major
educational institution in Guyana. The University of Guyana is the best higher
education and there are many schools throughout the country. In the past few
years the country has taken education to much higher level.
Guyana was settled by East Indians, many still speak Urdu, Hindu and
Tamil dialects. The official language is English. The culture is close to the
Suriname and French Guiana than to the rest of South America. All of these
various cultures have remained fairly distinct and in today’s society each group
has its own style of life and culture.
In 1966, Guyana was in the early stages of developing its resources. The
British drew up an economic plan to continue development with the help of
experts from the United States as well as Canada. The economy in the late 1980’s
was dominated mainly by agriculture and service industries. These industries
pulled in an average revenue of approximately 164 million dollars per year and
an average expenditure of 284 million dollars per year.
The agriculture is about one-fourth of the countries gross domestic
product. Sugar and its by-products and rice account for most of the exports.
Coconuts, coffee, citrus fruits’ ,corn and other tropical fruits and vegetables
are grown mainly for consumption. Another major crop that is raised on the plush
savanna lands are
livestock such as cattle, hogs, sheep and chicken.
Along the coast is where much of the cultivation takes place. The
tremendous strips of alluvial soil are very rich in nutrients. A big problem
that these coastal lands see are much flooding and irrigation problems such as
drainage. This happens because much of this land is below the high-tide mark of
the sea and the rivers. Guyanian government is trying to help this problem by
reclaiming some land for cultivation.
Bauxite is one of Guyana’s major elements. They are a very big producer
of this as well as gold, manganese and diamonds which I mentioned earlier.
Manufacturing and Energy
Manufacturing is limited to food products, beverages, construction
materials, clothing, soap and cigarettes. In the late 1980’s they installed some
new technology such as electricity which was generated through thermal
facilities. They also have a great capacity for generating hydroelectricity.
The country has about 6000 miles of road which are mainly near the coast.
They have about 70 miles of railroad tracks in use and their main seaports are
in Georgetown and New Amsterdam. The river system are a major part in the route
to the interior. Guyana has a national airline called Guyana Airways which
services domestic as well as international flights.
The country is governed under a constitution which was adopted in 1980.
The head of state as well as the chief executive is a president. He is elected
into a five year term by the National Assembly. The cabinet is appointed by the
President and ran by the Prime Minister.
The legislature is controlled by the unicameral National Assembly which
consists of 12 members, nonelected. The other 53 members are elected to a five-
year term. The Judiciary is based on English common and statute law. The
Supreme court is divided into branches which are a court of appeal as well as a
high court. The Local Government is divided into ten different regions and each
is governed by a council.
In 1499, Spanish explorers charted what is now Guyana. The British held
possession in 1814 but did not gain control until 1831. During the British rule,
the Native American population was reduced to a minority due to a large influx
of African and East Indian peoples. In 1928, Guyana received its first
constitution under the British administration.
In 1961 they received a full internal self government. Under the
leadership of Cheddi Jagan, the PPP gained majority in the legislature. Jagan
made a poor call in 1962 which caused mad riots and a strike. He made a program
of complete economic austerity. The British sent in their troops and gained
control to make order once again.
The British and Guyanese in 1962-1963 held conferences. The PPP lost to
the majority and the British introduced the Peoples National Congress to form a
In 1965, a conference met and a new constitution was formed. In 1966,
Guyana was an independent nation. They joined the United Nations and they became
a member of the Caribbean Free Trade Area. In February 1970, Guyana was
proclaimed a republic under the new president Arthur Chung.
In the 1970’s, diplomatic relations were gained with China. By 1976 the
country aimed for a self sufficiency in agriculture. In 1974, the government
gained control of all foreign trade.
In anticipation of a new constitution, the National Assembly extended
the five year limit . A new socialist constitution was in effect by 1980 and the
PNC regained control of the assembly under the leadership of Desmond Hoyte. He
controlled until 1992 until an international election. Jagan regained control
and put his party, the People’s Progressive Party back into power.