In the 17th century, the English, the Dutch and the French established various small settlements in the northern marshy lands which were left over after the Spanish and Portuguese had gobbled up the rest of South America. These minor possessions passed from one to the other as these three colonial powers competed with each other for a foothold in South America. When the dust cleared in the early 19th century, the British were left with Guyana, the Dutch with Suriname and the French with Guyane.
The majority of Guyanese who trace their ancestry to northern India (51%) are split between Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Those of African origin (43%) include blacks, Bush Negroes (retribalised ex-slaves) and creoles. They all speak English but some still use the languages of their ancestors.
Guyana is the world's largest producer of calcined bauxite and it has considerable unexploited potential in hydro-electric power, minerals and forests but chronic mismanagement of the public sector has hampered development in the past. New liberal policies and ongoing privatisations have however somewhat improved the economy in the last few years.
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This is the Rima Guest House where I stayed for 14 US$ a night. There isn't much to see in Georgetown and what there is, is better seen in daylight for most of the city is not safe at night.
Just two blocks behind this downtown Georgetown building is the infamous Tiger bay area along the Demerara River which is unsafe at any time of day.
Interior of the St. George's Anglican Cathedral the outside of which can be seen on the left below. At 44 meters it is reputed to be the tallest wooden building in the world (here anyway).
On the right below, the very ornate 19th century Gothic City Hall.
This traditional thatched communal building called Umana Yana was built by Wai Wai Amerindians for the 1972 conference of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Sea wall on the Atlantic Ocean on the north side of Georgetown.
Most of the descendants of the indentured laborers, who were imported from northern India by sugar plantation owners after the abolition of slavery in 1834, follow the Hindu religion. They now constitute 33% of the population. Descendants of Muslim Indians now represent 9% of Guyanese and worship in Mosques like this one seen on the way to the airport.