50 Fascinating Facts about Guyana

Guyana is located on South America's North Atlantic coast. A former British colony, its capital city, Georgetown, is known for its colonial architecture, which includes St. George's Anglican Cathedral. Guyana is the only country in South America to be predominantly English-speaking (although most people speak Guyanese Creole, an English-based creole language) and retains many aspects of its colonial history (cricket is a major sport), which blends with its Caribbean culture. Beyond the capital city, the majority of the country is covered in tropical rainforest. Guyana is rich in natural resources such as gold and timber, but its economy remains underdeveloped due to political corruption and border disputes. Guyana's distinctive flag, known as The Golden Arrowhead, has been the national flag since the country became independent from the United Kingdom in 1966. Its colors are symbolic, with green for agriculture, white for rivers, gold for mineral resources, black for endurance, and red for zeal and dynamism.

Guyana Facts

1
Guyana is officially known as the Co-Operative Republic of Guyana
2
Guyana is also known as the Guianas and it translates as Land of many waters
3
It is located on the northern mainland of South America
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Guyana is considered to be part of the Caribbean region as culturally it is more Caribbean
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It is one of the few Caribbean countries that is not an island in the West Indies
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Guyana is the third smallest country on the northern mainland of South America
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Guyana’s national flag is referred to as the Golden Arrow Head
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It is the only South American country where English is the main language, but the majority of the population do speak Guyanese Creole
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The currency in Guyana is the Guyanese Dollar, even though the US Dollar is also used
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Georgetown is the capital of Guyana and also the largest city and has a population of 235,017 people
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St. George’s Anglican Cathedral located in the capital Georgetown, is one of the tallest wooden structures in the world
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Many ethnic varieties occupy Guyana including, Chinese, Portuguese, East Indians, Europeans and Africans
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Slavery was banned in 1834
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Christianity is the main religion, followed by Hinduism and Islam
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The Dutch were the first people to establish colonies in Guyana
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Guyana came under British control in the 18th Century, but gained independence on May 26th 1966, and officially became a republic on the 23rd February 1970
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The cost of living is very high in Guyana
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Due to the high cost of living, Guyana has one of the highest emigration rates in the world, with approximately 55% of citizens choosing to reside abroad
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The national motto is one people, one nation, one destiny
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The national bird is the Hoatzin
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Guyana’s national sport is cricket, it is part of the West Indies Team and in 2007, they hosted the cricket world cup
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The Kaieteur Falls are one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world and 5 times the height of Niagara Falls
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More than 80% of Guyana is still covered by forests. Some of the forests contain the rarest orchids in the world
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Guyana has approximately 8000 species of plants, some of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world
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There is a low rate of deforestation, and in 2012 Guyana received a $45,000,000 reward for its rainforest protection efforts
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The national flower is the Victoria Water Lilly, which was named after Queen Victoria
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The most famous drink in Guyana is known as Mauby and is made from tree bark
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Dark rum is also a very popular drink with the population
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The national animal is the Jaguar, which is also known as Felis Pantera
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Guyana’s education system is among the best in the Caribbean. It is based on the British education system
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Despite having a well reputed education system, it lacks many of the better educated teachers, as many of them emigrated during to low pay and lack of opportunities
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Guyana only has one university in the country, which was founded in 1963 and is very expensive to attend
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A lot of arranged marriages occur in Guyana due to the Hindu and Muslim population
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Male homosexuality is illegal, and one could be given a life sentence if it is proven
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Guyana’s famous shell beach is known more for turtle swimming and extends for 90 miles
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The main economics in Guyana are agriculture which include the production of rice and Demerara sugar, gold mining, timber, shrimp fishing and minerals
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The sugar industry made up 28% of all the export earnings
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Guyana is very rich biologically and there has been plenty of economic growth since 1999 due to expansion
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Almost 85% of Guyana’s produce is exported to Europe
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Guyana is home to the largest gold mine in the continent of America, the Omai gold mine
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A big industry in Guyana used to be the production of Balatia which is natural latex, which was used to make cricket balls
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A big festival celebrated in Guyana is called Mashramani, also referred to as Mash, which is the celebration of Guyana becoming a republic
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Mash is celebrated on 23rd February with a big festival including a parade, music, games and cooking. Thousands of people summon the streets for the big celebrations
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Mash translates as the celebration after hard work
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Mash is considered to be one of the most colourful of all the country’s festivals
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Jouvert is considered to be the pre-mash celebration and is celebrated the night before and involves Calypso bands with their followers dancing through the streets
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Another festival celebrated and an official holiday in Guyana, is the Hindu festival Deepavali, also known as Diwali
48
The Diwali festival spiritually represents ‘the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair’.
49
Guyana has the highest suicide rate in the world
50
The largest mass suicide occurred in Guyana in 1978, where 900 people died, including 300 children, who were the supporters of religious cult leader Jim Jones, who also committed suicide

Due to its colonial past, Guyana has a diverse population, which includes Indian, African, Amerindian, and multiracial groups. Although English is the official language, Creole, Hindi, Urdu and various indigenous languages are also widely spoken. Guyana is generally outshone by more well-known South American countries when it comes to tourism, receiving on a few thousand visitors each year. But the country has much to offer the traveller who is willing to go a little off the beaten track. For example, the spectacular Kaieteur Falls, at five times the height of Niagara Falls, is world's tallest single-drop waterfall, and also one of the least visited!

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