A Brief Introduction to Guyana

"The Land of Many Waters" is a little known country, mostly covered in dense rainforest and sparsely populated. It is roughly the same size as the UK, but has a population less than that of Birmingham alone. 90% of those people live along the narrow, muddy coastal strip next to the Atlantic Ocean.

It has a bloody history of wars between the French, Dutch and British, squabbling over sugar plantations worked by African slaves. After slavery was abolished, Indian indentured workers were brought in, until eventually the sugar trade collapsed. The result is a curious mixed culture of mostly Indians and Africans, some native Amerindians and very few remaining Europeans.

With only one, unsurfaced road running through the country, the coast of Guyana is very isolated from the rest of the continent behind it, and has much more of a Caribbean feel than South American. It is the only country in the continent where the official language is English.

Notable geographic features include Kaieteur Falls, the world's largest single drop waterfall by volume; the flat topped Tepui mountains; and the Rupununi Savannah in the south of the country.

For more information on Guyana see the following webpage- BBC Guyana Profile, or for a more in-depth read, I recommend Wild Coast by John Gimlette.

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