Guyana, (Co-operative Republic of Guyana) is located on the northern seacoast of South America. Guyana, formerly British Guiana, is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by Suriname, on the south by Brazil, and on the west by Brazil and Venezuela. The country achieved independence on May 26, 1966. Guyana has an area of 214,969 sq km (83,000 sq mi); its coastline is about 435 km (about 270 mi) long.
Guyana can be divided into four major geographical regions. A belt of alluvial soil, varying in width from about 8 to 65 km (about 5 to 40 mi) and mostly below sea level, extends along the coast and is protected by a system of dams
Guyana achieved independence in May 1966, and became a republic on February 23, 1970--the anniversary of the Cuffy slave rebellion. From December 1964 until his death in August 1985, Forbes Burnham ruled Guyana in an increasingly autocratic manner, first as prime minister and later, after the adoption of a new constitution in 1980, as executive president. During that time- frame, elections were viewed in Guyana and abroad as fraudulent. Human rights and civil liberties were suppressed, and two major political assassinations occurred: the Jesuit Priest and journalist Bernard Darke in July 1979, and the distinguished historian and WPA Party leader Walter Rodney in June 1980. Agents of President Burnham are widely believed to have been responsible for both deaths.
Following Burnham's own death in 1985, Prime Minister Hugh Desmond Hoyte acceded to the presidency and was formally elected in the December 1985 national elections. Hoyte gradually reversed Burnham's policies, moving from state socialism and one-party control to a market economy and unrestricted freedom of the press and assembly. On October 5, 1992, a new National Assembly and regional councils were elected in the first Guyanese election since 1964 to be internationally recognized as free and fair. Cheddi Jagan was elected and sworn in as president on October 9, 1992.
Guyana's population comprises five main ethnic groups--East Indian, African, Amerindian, Chinese, and Portuguese. Ninety percent of the inhabitants live on the narrow coastal plain, where population density is more than 115 persons per square kilometer (380 per sq. mi.). The population density for Guyana as a whole is less than four persons per square kilometer of land area. Although the government has provided free education from nursery school to the university level since 1975, it has not allocated sufficient funds to maintain the standards of what had been considered the best educational system in the region. Many school buildings are in poor condition; there is a shortage of text and exercise books; and the number of teachers has declined. In 1985, the Government of Guyana opened President's College, the country's first boarding school, which like the older Queen's College draws its students by nationwide competitive examination from the top 2% of Guyana's schoolchildren. Guyana had an estimated adult literacy rate in 1990 of 95% (those age 15 and over who have ever attended school).
Guyana's cultural expression reflects its separate ethnic contributions and has a regional rather than a universal orientation. A number of its best-known novelists have lived aboard, including Edgar Mittelholzer, The Kwayana Family Trilogy; Christopher Nicole, Ratoon; Jan Carew, Black Midas; Roy Heath, Orealla; and E.R. Braithwaite, To Sir With Love. Another prominent, avant-garde writer is Wilson Harris, The Palace and the Peacock. Among the country's outstanding poets are Martin Carter, Poems of Resistance, and A.J. Seymour, who wrote I Was Born in Georgetown. Denis Williams has gained fame as a painter, novelist, curator, and anthropologist. Philip Moore is well known for his wood sculptures, which show African influence.
The Guyana Theater Guild, active for more than 20 years, stages productions of Caribbean and US plays. Also popular in Guyana are steel drum bands and, particularly among Indo-Guyanese, East Indian classical music and dance. Cricket is the national sport, although football and rugby are also played.
All of the area west of the Essequibo (river) is claimed by Venezuela preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before UNCLOS that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; Suriname claims a triangle of land between the New and Kutari/Koetari rivers in a historic dispute over the headwaters of the Courantyne; Guyana seeks UNCLOS arbitration to resolve the long-standing dispute with Suriname over the axis of the territorial sea boundary in potentially oil-rich waters.
Places to see in Guyana are Kaieteur Falls, St. George's Cathedral , Stabroek Market, The Cenotaph, The Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, The National Library , Umana Yana , The Botanic Gardens , The Church of the Sacred Heart , The Independence Park, The Promenade Gardens, St. Andrews Kirk , Iwokrama Canopy Walkway etc.