Colonial Guyana

14 Frequently Asked Questions about Guyana

8 mins read

It seems like there are more questions than answers about the country of Guyana. Often the questions are a bit vague but expected coming from non-Guyanese.

However, some of these questions surprising come from Guyanese, to be specific Guyanese living in Guyana. There are many online articles about Guyana and so for someone who is curious, there are numerous places to find the most arbitrary question about this country.

Let us start with the official description about this South American country

About Guyana (Wikipedia)

Guyana or officially the Co‑operative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America. It is considered part of the Caribbean region because of its strong cultural, historical, and political ties with other Caribbean countries and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, Venezuela to the west, and Suriname to the east.

Guyana Lands

With 215,000 square kilometres (83,000 sq mi), Guyana is the third-smallest sovereign state on mainland South America after Uruguay and Suriname.

The region known as “the Guianas” consists of the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River known as the “land of many waters”.

There are nine indigenous tribes residing in Guyana: the Wai Wai, Macushi, Patamona, Lokono, Kalina, Wapishana, Pemon, Akawaio and Warao. Historically dominated by the Lokono and Kalina tribes, Guyana was colonised by the Dutch before coming under British control in the late 18th century. It was governed as British Guiana, with a mostly plantation-style economy until the 1950s. It gained independence in 1966, and officially became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970.

The legacy of British rule is reflected in the country’s political administration and diverse population, which includes Indian, African, Amerindian, Chinese, Portuguese, other European, and various multiracial groups. In 2017, 41% of the population of Guyana lived below the poverty line.

This country is the only South American nation in which English is the official language. Much of the population, however, speak Guyanese Creole, an English-based creole language, as a first language. Guyana is part of the Anglophone Caribbean. CARICOM headquarters is in Guyana’s capital and largest city, Georgetown. In 2008, the country joined the Union of South American Nations as a founding member.(Wikipedia)

Here are our selections of 14 frequently asked questions about this country

1.Is Guyana a poor country?

This country was one of the poorest countries in South America. Thirty-five percent of the Guyanese population lives below the poverty line, with indigenous people being disproportionately affected. Urban slums and rural farming communities suffer from inadequate healthcare and poor educational facilities.

However the discovery of oil is poised to change the lives of Guyanese.

2.What race is Guyanese?

This is a diverse nation; 39.8% of the population is of Indian origin (see Indo-Guyanese), 30% African (see Afro-Guyanese), 19.9% multiracial (almost all part African, including Dougla, Creole-Mulatto, Zambo-Maroon, and Pardo), 10.5% Amerindian and 0.5% other, mostly Chinese, Europeans (most notably Portuguese)

3.Is it safe to go to Guyana?

The country is not known as a particularly safe destination, with Georgetown being notorious for petty street crime. … The good news is that the inner regions of the country where you can explore the famous, breathtaking waterfalls of this region and the vast rainforests are completely safe and crime-free.

4.What is Guyana known for?

It is the only English-speaking country of South America. Since the country gained its independence in 1966, the country’s chief economic assets have been its natural resources, mainly its pristine rainforests, sugarcane plantations, rice fields, and bauxite and gold reserves.

5.What is Guyanese Indian?

Indo-Guyanese or Indian Guyanese are people of Indian origin who are Guyanese nationals tracing their ancestry to the Indian subcontinent. They are the descendants of indentured laborers and settlers who arrived beginning in 1838 from India during the time of the British Raj.

6.What language is spoken in Guyana?

English is the official language, which is the only South American country with English as the official language. Guyanese Creole (an English-based creole with African, Indian, and Amerindian syntax) is widely spoken in Guyana.

7.Where did black Guyanese come from?

Afro-Guyanese people are generally descended from the enslaved people brought to this country from the coast of West Africa to work on sugar plantations during the era of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. After the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, Afro-Guyanese people came together to develop small villages.

8.What is the largest ethnic group in Guyana?

Guyana’s two largest ethnic groups are the Afro-Guyanese (descendants of African slaves) and the Indo-Guyanese (descendants of Indian indentured laborers), which together comprise about three quarters of Guyana’s population.

9.What are some traditions in Guyana?

Top 5 Guyanese Festivals

  • Mashramani. Held every February, usually on the 23rd, since 1970, Mashramani celebrates Guyana’s becoming of a republic. …
  • Divali. The festival of lights, or Divali, is a visually appealing festival held annually during October or November. …
  • Paghwa. …
  • Easter-International Food and Drink Fest. …
  • Independence Day.

10.Why is the water brown in Guyana?

Silt carried on the rivers that drain into the Atlantic Ocean keeps the water off Guyana a brown churning mass of sandbars and mud. Guyana’s seacoast, much of which lies below sea level, is in danger of being submerged if the ocean levels rise due to global warming.

11.How many Guyanese live in USA?

Foreign-born Guyanese people make up a tiny share of the United States as a whole — just over 280,000 people in 2015, or 0.09 percent of the total population — but a hefty share of New York City’s immigrant population

12.What is Guyana main dish?

Along with chicken curry, and cook-up rice, pepper pot is one of Guyana’s national dishes. Pepper pot is a stewed meat dish, strongly flavoured with cinnamon, cassareep (a special sauce made from the cassava root) and other basic ingredients, including Caribbean hot peppers.

13.What is Guyanese culture?

Guyanese culture reflects the influence of African, Indian, Amerindian, British, Portuguese, Chinese, Creole, Latin American, and Dutch cultures. Guyana is one of a few mainland territories of South America that is a part of the Caribbean region.

14.Are there jaguars in Guyana?

Jaguars can be seen all around this country, especially along the rainforest belt that is at the heart of the country

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