Guyana Essay, Research Paper
Guyana is a country located on the northern coast of South America. It is bounded on the north by the
Atlantic Ocean and on the east by Suriname. On the south side Guyana is bordered by Brazil, and on the
west side is Brazil and Venezuela. Guyana achieved its independence on May 26, 1966 when it broke away
Land and Resources
Guyana has three different major geographical regions. These consist of a belt of soil which
ranges from five to forty miles, a dense forest area which makes up about four-fifths of the country and
a region of savanna. The country also has many rivers that have some spectacular waterfalls and one river
has the highest single-drop waterfall in the world. These rivers are navigable from the sea to about one-
hundred miles inland, after that they are no longer navigable due to rapids and falls.
The lands of Guyana have many valuable natural resources. Within the lands you can find gold,
diamonds, kaolin, manganese and bauxite. If you were to travel a little ways off shore, you could also
locate some petroleum. These natural resources are very important in helping out the economy of this poor
The lands have much resource also found in the vegetation and the forests. The plants and trees
are documented for their abnormal size and density. Guyana has an excellent lumber industry, they sell
some of the finest greenheart as well as mora. Within the forests are a big variety of wildlife which can
range from deer to anteater and a few types of monkeys. The birds are very diverse, they consist of for
example sugarbirds, cotingas and manakins all which feed on Guyana’s vast array of insects.
Population , Education and Culture
Guyana has an estimated 800,000 people or on an average of 3.8 people per square mile. Georgetown
is the capital and it holds a few hundred thousand people. Being the capital, it is the main port city
and holds the major educational institution in Guyana. The University of Guyana is the best higher
education and there are many schools throughout the country. In the past few years the country has taken
education to much higher level.
Guyana was settled by East Indians, many still speak Urdu, Hindu and Tamil dialects. The official
language is English. The culture is close to the Suriname and French Guiana than to the rest of South
America. All of these various cultures have remained fairly distinct and in today’s society each group
has its own style of life and culture.
In 1966, Guyana was in the early stages of developing its resources. The British drew up an
economic plan to continue development with the help of experts from the United States as well as Canada.
The economy in the late 1980’s was dominated mainly by agriculture and service industries. These
industries pulled in an average revenue of approximately 164 million dollars per year and an average
expenditure of 284 million dollars per year.
The agriculture is about one-fourth of the countries gross domestic product. Sugar and its
by-products and rice account for most of the exports. Coconuts, coffee, citrus fruits’ ,corn and other
tropical fruits and vegetables are grown mainly for consumption. Another major crop that is raised on the
plush savanna lands are
livestock such as cattle, hogs, sheep and chicken.
Along the coast is where much of the cultivation takes place. The tremendous strips of alluvial
soil are very rich in nutrients. A big problem that these coastal lands see are much flooding and
irrigation problems such as drainage. This happens because much of this land is below the high-tide mark
of the sea and the rivers. Guyanian government is trying to help this problem by reclaiming some land for
Bauxite is one of Guyana’s major elements. They are a very big producer of this as well as gold,
manganese and diamonds which I mentioned earlier.
Manufacturing and Energy
Manufacturing is limited to food products, beverages, construction materials, clothing, soap and
cigarettes. In the late 1980’s they installed some new technology such as electricity which was generated
through thermal facilities. They also have a great capacity for generating hydroelectricity.
The country has about 6000 miles of road which are mainly near the coast. They have about 70
miles of railroad tracks in use and their main seaports are in Georgetown and New Amsterdam. The river
system are a major part in the route to the interior. Guyana has a national airline called Guyana Airways
which services domestic as well as international flights.
The country is governed under a constitution which was adopted in 1980. The
head of state as well as the chief executive is a president. He is elected into a five year term by the
National Assembly. The cabinet is appointed by the President and ran by the Prime Minister.
The legislature is controlled by the unicameral National Assembly which consists of 12 members
,nonelected. The other 53 members are elected to a five-year term. The Judiciary is based on English
common and statute law. The Supreme court is divided into branches which are a court of appeal as well as
a high court. The Local Government is divided into ten different regions and each is governed by a
In 1499, Spanish explorers charted what is now Guyana. The British held possession in 1814 but
did not gain control until 1831. During the British rule, the Native American population was reduced to a
minority due to a large influx of African and East Indian peoples. In 1928, Guyana received its first
constitution under the British administration.
In 1961 they received a full internal self government. Under the leadership of Cheddi Jagan, the
PPP gained majority in the legislature. Jagan made a poor call in 1962 which caused mad riots and a
strike. He made a program of complete economic austerity. The British sent in their troops and gained
control to make order once again.
The British and Guyanese in 1962-1963 held conferences. The PPP lost to the majority and the
British introduced the Peoples National Congress to form a coalition government.
In 1965, a conference met and a new constitution was formed. In 1966, Guyana was an independent
nation. They joined the United Nations and they became a
member of the Caribbean Free Trade Area. In February 1970, Guyana was proclaimed a republic under the new
president Arthur Chung.
In the 1970’s, diplomatic relations were gained with China. By 1976 the country aimed for a self
sufficiency in agriculture. In 1974, the government gained control of all foreign trade.
In anticipation of a new constitution, the National Assembly extended the five year limit . A new
socialist constitution was in effect by 1980 and the PNC regained control of the assembly under the
leadership of Desmond Hoyte. He controlled until 1992 until an international election. Jagan regained
control and put his party, the People’s Progressive Party back into power.