Size: 83,000 sq mi / 215,000 sq km (a little smaller than Idaho)
Geography: Guyana is located in the northeastern region of South America between Venezuela and Suriname and bordered by Brazil to the south. Ninety percent of the population lives in the coastal plain near the Atlantic Ocean. The country rests on an ancient geological structure referred to as the Guyana Shield, which is unique in South America for having nearly 70 percent of its land area in a pristine state.
Above: Satellite photograph of the Guyana RAP survey site area.
Climate: Most of the country is affected by Caribbean weather systems, with two rainy and two dry seasons. Southern Guyana, including the Kanuku Mountain region, has a rainy season from May to August and its dry season from September to April. Annual rainfall is about 60-80 inches (150-200 cm) per year. The average temperature is about 82° F (27.5° C) year-round.
Language: English (official), Amerind dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
History: Major indigenous groups prior to European occupation included Caribs, Akawois (Waikas), Anawaks, and Warrous (Guaraunos).
Guyana was first known to Europeans through Spanish explorers in the late 15th century. Over the next two centuries, the English and Dutch, as well as the French, fought for control of the colonial area.
A general peace was established in the early 1800's leaving Guyana under British control. Independence from Great Britain was declared in 1966, and the Republic of Guyana was formed in 1970.
The Amerindians were the first people to have inhabited Guyana years ago, but the country's demographics were also greatly influenced by imported colonial labor forces dominated by people of East Indian, African, Chinese, and Portuguese descent. As a result, the Guyanese celebrate a wide variety of public holidays including: Good Friday and Easter, Deeprali (Hindu Festival of Lights), and Yum am-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet). Elections for President are now held every 5 years, and most recently Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo was reelected to office in May 2001.