Interesting facts about Guyana

guyana flag

Guyana, a country on South America’s North Atlantic coast, is defined by its dense rainforest.

The official name of Guyana is the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west.

The official language is English.

As of 1 January 2016, the population of Guyana was estimated to be 768,252 people.

The total land area is 197,592 square kilometers (76,291 square miles).

Georgetown is the capital and largest city of Guyana. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean coast at the mouth of the Demerara River and it was nicknamed ‘Garden City of the Caribbean.’

georgetown guyana

The land comprises three main geographical zones: the coastal plain, the white sand belt, and the interior highlands.

Tropical rain forest shrouds more than 80% of Guyana.

Mount Roraima is the highest of the Pakaraima chain of tepui plateaus in South America. Mount Roraima is 14 kilometers (9 miles) long, and 2,810 meters (9,222 feet) tall at its highest point, with 400 meters (1,300 feet) cliffs on each side of the plateau. The mountain serves as the triple border point of Venezuela (85% of its territory), Guyana (10%) and Brazil (5%). Whilst the tepui (table-top mountain) is the highest landform in Guyana, both Brazil and Venezuela have higher landmarks.

mount roraima

Guyana has a coastline length of 459 kilometers (285 miles).

Guyana’s well-known Shell Beach extends about 145 kilometers (90 miles) along undisturbed coastline in northwest Guyana. True to its name, the beach is covered with tiny shells. It is known for swimming, but more for turtle swimming, than for humans. Every year from early spring to mid-summer four of the world’s eight turtle species climb up the beach, dig nests among the shells, lay eggs and then return to the ocean.

shell beach

Guyana has 5.3% of its land mass under protection.

The Kaieteur National Park is the oldest and most iconic Protected Area of Guyana. It was established in 1929; has an area of 62,680 hectares (154,885 acres) and is especially renowned for the Kaieteur Falls, one of the most powerful waterfalls in the World. The Kaieteur falls are 226 meters (741 feet) high (five times higher than the Niagara Falls) and about 122 meters (400 feet) wide during the rainy season.

kaieteur national park kaieteur falls

Guyana, with 1,168 vertebrate species, 814 bird species, boasts one of the richest mammalian fauna assemblages of any comparably sized area in the world.

St. George’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in Georgetown. It is the most prominent architectural landmark in Guyana and is among the tallest wooden churches on the planet with a height of 43.5 meters (142 feet). The church´s construction was completed in the year 1899.

st. georg's cathedral guyana

There are nine indigenous tribes residing in Guyana: the Wai Wai, Machushi, Patamona, Arawak, Carib, Wapishana, Arecuna, Akawaio, and Warrau.

Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession.

During 150 years of rule, Britain imported Africans and East Indians as laborers, and Guyana forged close trade ties with the Caribbean.

Guyana gained independence in 1966 and officially became a republic in 1970.

Mashramani is an annual festival that celebrates Guyana becoming a Republic in 1970. The festival held on 23 February – Guyanese Republic Day – includes a parade, music, games and cooking and is intended to commemorate the “Birth of the Republic”.The word “Mashramani” is derived from an Amerindian language and in translation means “the celebration after hard work”.

mashramani

Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America.

The name “Guyana” is derived from Guiana, the original name for the region that formerly included Guyana (British Guiana), Suriname (Dutch Guiana), French Guiana, and parts of Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Guyana is derived from an Indigenous Amerindian language and means “land of many waters“.

The national motto of Guyana is “One People, One Nation, One Destiny.”

Guyana’s national flower is the Victoria water lilly (Victoria Amazonica), named after Queen Victoria.

victoria water lilly

The Canje Pheasant (Hoatzin) is Guyana’s National Bird.

hoatzin

The Felis pantera whose common name is the Jaguar is the National Animal of Guyana.

jaguar

Guyanese cuisine is very similar to the rest of the Anglo Caribbean. The food reflects the ethnic makeup of the country and its colonial history, and includes Ethnic groups of African, Creole, East Indian, Portuguese, Amerindian, Chinese and European (mostly British) influences and dishes.

The main economic activities in Guyana are agriculture (production of rice and Demerara sugar), bauxite mining, gold mining, timber, shrimp fishing and minerals.

The Omai Gold Mine in Guyana is one of the largest open-pit gold mines in South America.

Sir Lionel Luckhoo was a Guyana-born politician, diplomat, and well-known lawyer. He is listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the world’s “most successful lawyer,” with 245 successive murder-charge acquittals between 1940 and 1985.

Christopher Columbus claimed to have seen a mermaid called Watamamma in Guyana’s waters.

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