come over to visit us in Guyana
the history of guyana
Guyana has a population of 758,619 (1991 estimate). About 50 percent of the people are of East Indian descent, and about 30 percent are of black African descent. Five percent are Native Amerindians, and about 10 percent are of mixed background. Others include Chinese and Europeans. About 90 percent of the mostly rural population lives along the coast. About 42 percent are Christians, 34 percent are Hindus, and 9 percent are Muslims. The country's official language is English.
In the late 1980s about 134,700 pupils were enrolled in 425 elementary schools in Guyana. Some 100 secondary, technical, and teacher-training institutions had a total of approximately 73,400 students. The country’s principal institution of higher education, the University of Guyana (1963), in Georgetown, was attended by about 2300 students.
Economy and Government
The economy is dominated by agriculture, concentrated largely on the alluvial belt along the coast. Sugar and rice account for most agricultural exports. Forestry and fishing industries also contribute to the economy, and Guyana is a major producer of the mineral bauxite. Manufacturing remains limited. The currency is the Guyana dollar (135 Guyana dollars equal U.S.$1; 1997,approx.). Guyana's chief executive is a president, elected to a five-year term by the unicameral National Assembly. The Assembly consists of 12 nonelected members and 53 members elected to five-year terms.
First charted by Spain in 1499, Guyana came under Dutch control by the mid-1700s. The British gained possession of Guyana in 1814. British rule brought large influxes of Africans and East Indians. In 1961 Guyana achieved internal self-government under Cheddi Jagan of the People's Progressive Party (PPP). In 1962 Jagan's austerity program led to riots and a general strike. After British troops restored order, the nation was left on the brink of economic chaos. The 1964 elections resulted in a coalition government under Forbes Burnham of the People's National Congress (PNC). On May 26th, 1966 Guyana gained independence from the British. Four years later on February 23rd, 1970 Guyana became a republic. The country is now called The Cooperative Republic of Guyana. In 1978 Guyana was the scene of the mass suicide and murder of more than 900 members of a religious cult on orders of their leader,James Warren("Jim") Jones.
A new constitution became effective in 1980. Burnham was then elected president. He governed until his death in 1985, when Desmond Hoyte of the PNC became president. In 1992 an internationally supervised election returned Jagan and the PPP to power.
Elections were held again in December of 1997, and the PPP/Civic under the leadership of Janet Jagan (the widow of the late Cheddi Jagan), won a second mandate.
On August 8th. 1999 President Janet Jagan announced that she is stepping down for health reasons and handing over the Presidency to Finance Minister Bharrat Jagdeo. Read here for further news.
Once again on March 19th. 2001, the Guyanese People went again to the Polls. The PPP/Civic once again won the elections.