Guinea? No, that’s in Africa.
Ghana? Nope, that is also in Africa.
[French] Guiana? Correct continent, wrong country.
In June, I will be going to GUYANA.
Never heard of it? Me either until my interview with the PC placement officer. Here’s a quick tutorial and basic knowledge on the place I am going to call home for the next 2.5 years.
Guyana is located on the north coast of South America. It is wedged between Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname, and is slightly bigger than my home state, Illinois. The country is further divided into 10 regions. After training, I will be designated to a community within one of those regions.
Fun Facts About Guyana
- Guyana is the only South American country that has English as their official language, and everyone speaks it regardless of background.
- Guyanese Creole is also a common language, and is a altered version of English with an Indian/African influence. It will become my second language while in the Peace Corps.
- A large portion of Guyana citizens live abroad.
- The currency is the Guyanese Dollar.
- It is one of two countries in South America to drive on the left side of the road.
- Guyanese people identify more as Caribbean.
- Guyana was the location of the Jim Jones cult that took place in the 70’s.
- Over 700,000 people live in Guyana, and 90% of those people live along the coast.
- Hinduism is the official religion.
- There are no roads connecting Guyana with Venezuela.
- Guyana is the 2nd most densely forested country in South America (after Suriname) – 3/4 of the country is covered in trees.
- The national animal of Guyana is the jaguar.
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana, or Guyana (formerly known as British Guyana), has on its historical background quite a long record and experience on being struggled upon and conquered by different countries. Below I will highlight important points in their history.
1498 – Guyana was discovered by Europeans. For 500 years there were many battles between the Dutch, French, Spanish, and British to gain control of this area.
17th century – Dutch colony, and in 1815 the British conquered the Dutch.
17th & 18th century – the large landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River has been divided into 5 sub-regions, namely: British Guiana (now Guyana), Spanish Guiana (now eastern Venezuela), Dutch Guiana (now Suriname), Portuguese Guiana (now northern Brazil), and French Guiana which is at present a French department in South America.
Late 1800’s – slavery was abolished. Guyana has started to become a home to the black people, and Indians started to storm the country and work in its rich sugar plantations.
1966 – Guyana gained independence from the U.K.
1970 – became a republic
1992 – believed the elections this year was their first fair and free elections since they gained their independence.
I can’t wait to share my personal experiences with you all once I am in country!