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torstai 10. marraskuuta 2016

Guyana, Cool Facts #158

<= 157. Australia                                                                                                           159. Ireland =>

1. Society of Guyana 

The population of Guyana is one of the most diverse in the world with ethnic groups originating from India, Africa, Europe, China and indigenous people. The biggest group is the Indo-Guyanese, descendants of indentured servants from India, who make up 43,5% of the population. The Afro-Guyanese, descendants of African slaves, constitute 30,2% of the population. There has been some racial tension between the two biggest ethnic groups. 

Since the independence the Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese have had some tensions, which have escalated into violent strikes in 1979 and 1998. The Afro-Guyanese support the PNC and the Indo-Guyanese the PPP party. The Afro-Guyanese have been predominantly in the leading positions in the government and military as the Indo-Guyanese control the retail business and cultivate rice and sugar. 

Demographics of Guyana

2. Colonial Time in Guyana

Dutch colonies
Although Christopher Columbus was the first one to sight Guyana in 1498 on his third voyage to the Americas, it was the Dutch who established the first European settlements.

1616 the colony of Essequibo was established.
1627 the colony of Berbice was established.
1752 the colony of Demerara was established.

British rule
In 1796 the British assumed control over the Dutch colonies, but it was in 1814 when the Dutch formally ceded the area to Great Britain. 

1831 The colonies of Essequibo, Berbice and Demerara became one single colony known as British Guiana.
1837 Slavery was abolished, indentured workers from China and India replaced the slaves in the plantations. 

Division of Guiana regionIn 1884 European colonial powers divided the Guiana region. The British got the western part (Guyana), the Dutch got Surinam from the middle and France got the eastern part (French Guiana), which is still part of France.

Towards independence
1928 British Guiana got autonomy.
1953 Cheddi Jagan led PPP to win the first elections. Great Britain thought Jagan had too leftist thoughts and captivated him and his wife Janet Jagan and also annulled the constitution.
1966 British Guiana became independent as Guyana.

Dutch Guiana

3. Border Disputes 

The thick Guyanese rainforests isolate Guyana from the rest of South America. There isn't even a road connection to the biggest neighboring countries Venezuela and Brazil. The border disputes have also complicated the issue.

Dispute with Suriname 
Suriname claims the area east of the left bank of the Corentyne River and the New River in southwestern Suriname.

Dispute with Venezuela
Venezuela claims the land west of the Essequibo River. The claimed area is called Guayana Esequiba and it constitutes 74% of the land area of Guyana.

In 1840 the British commissioned the German Robert Schomburgk to survey Guiana's boundaries. In Schomburgk's map British Guiana contained actually areas beyond British occupation and gave control of the mouth of the Orinoco River. Venezuela disputed Schomburgk's map and in 1844 claimed all of Guiana west of the Essequibo River.

In 1898 there was an international arbitration tribunal about the border dispute and in 1899 the tribunal gave 94% of the disputed territory to British Guiana.

Guyana became independent in 1966 and the same year Guyana, Great Britain and Venezuela signed the Treaty of Geneva of 1966, where the parties agreed to find a practical, peaceful and satisfactory solution to the dispute. Venezuela still continues to claim Guayana Esequiba.

Extreme British and Venezuelan territorial claim
Territorial claims map

4. Jim Jones & Jonestown Massacre 

Mass-murder suicide.

November 18,1978

918 members of the Peoples Temple cult died, including 276 children. The Peoples Temple was a religious movement founded in 1955 by Jim Jones in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Jonestown foundation
The Peoples Temple rented land in Guyana in 1974. Former member Tim Carter told that the reasons to move there were racism in USA, the growing influence within the government of the corporations and the multinationals and the reason that Guyana was the only English speaking country in South America. Guyana was also a black country so the black members of Peoples Temple could live in peace there. 

Jones ordered his followers to drink a mixture of cyanide-laced, grape-flavored Flavor Aid. Also Congressman Ryan, three journalists and one of the Temple defectors were shot to death as attempted to escape from Jonestown. They had come to investigate the claims of abuse within the Peoples Temple. 

Jim Jones
Entrance to Jonestown 
Houses in Jonestown

5. Nature of Guyana 

- The highest mountain in Guyana is Mount Roraima with 2772m on the Brazil-Guyana-Venezuela tripoint border
- Mount Roraima and the table-top mountains of Guyana are said to have been the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel The Lost World 
- Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is believed to be the largest water drop in the world 
- More than 80% of Guyana is still covered by forests - Over 70% of the natural habitat remains pristine
- Guyana has one of the highest biodiversity levels in the world 
- In 2012 Guyana got a $45 million reward from Norway for its rainforest protection efforts

Kaieteur Falls
Mount Roraima


1498 Christopher Columbus sighted Guyana in his third voyage to the Americas
1616 The Dutch established the colony of Essequibo
1627 The Dutch established the colony of Berbice
1752 The Dutch established the colony of Demerara
1814 The Dutch formally ceded the area to Great Britain
1823 The slaves rebelled but the rebellion was suppressed by force
1824 Venezuela claimed an area in Guyana and in 1899 an international tribunal ruled that the land belonged to Great Britain
1831 The three separate colonies became a single colony known as British Guiana
1838 People from Indian villages were brought to Guyana to work as indentured servants
1884 The Guianas region was split between European colonial powers so that the British got Guyana, the Dutch Surinam and the French got the current French Guiana
1953 PPP led by Cheddi Jagan won the first elections but the British thought Jagan was too leftist and so they annulled the constitution and captivated Jagan and his wife Janet Jagan
1958 Forbes Burnham separated from PPP and created a pro-British PNC party
1962 Venezuela officially claimed the territory in Guyana located west of the Essequibo River
1966 Guyana became independent from Great Britain 
1973 Guyana was one of the founding members in the establishment of CARICOM (Caribbean Community
1978 The American Cult, Peoples Temple, brought Guyana to the headlines around the world as 918 members with Jim Jones as the leader committed a mass suicide
1992 PNC lost the elections for the first time and the veteran politician Cheddi Jagan became president
1997 After the death of Jeddi Jagan, his widow Janet Jagan was elected president
1999 Bharrat Jagdeo became the next president after Janet Jagan 

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