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South America
Guyana Overview

Modern Guyana Guyana is situated on the northern coast of South America. It was once the British colony of British Guiana. It is the only country in South America where English is the official language.

It is bordered by Venezuela in the west, Suriname in the east, Brazil in the south, and by the Atlantic Ocean in the north.
Guyana has an area of 214,969 sq. km (83,000 sq. miles). The name Guyana is an American Indian word meaning "Land Of Many Waters".
The colony was formed in 1831 as a result of the union of the United Colony (Essequibo & Demerara) and Berbice.
Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice were designated counties of the new united colony.

Guyana is often referred to as the Land of Six Peoples, reflecting the multi-ethnic composition of its population. The largest ethnic group is the East Indians (about 51 percent), descendants of indentured labourers from India (then part of the British Empire), followed by the Africans (38 percent). The other ethnic groups are the Chinese, the Europeans, the Portuguese and the Amerindians. The Portuguese came as indentured labourers from the Portuguese islands of Madeira, the Azores and Cape Verde. During the colonial era, they were regarded as a separate group from the other Europeans (amongst whom were English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish). There is also a large racially mixed group.

■ Map of Guyana's administrative regions.

So reads the banner displayed proudly at the base of Guyana's COAT OF ARMS. The design consists of an Amerindian head-dress symbolizing the indigenous people of the country, two diamonds at the sides of the head-dress representing mining industry, a helmet (monarchial insignia), two jaguars holding a pick axe, sugar cane and a stalk of rice (symbolizing Guyana's sugar and rice industries), a shield decorated with the National Flower (Victoria Regia Lily), three blue wavy lines representing the waters of Guyana and the National Bird (Canje Pheasant).


Canje Pheasant or Hoatzin The Hoatzin or Canje Pheasant - One of the national symbols chosen for modern-day Guyana. The adult Hoatzin is about 55 centimetres in length from beak to tail. It is reddish-brown in colour, streaked with green. The breast and under parts are pale brown. The feathers on its shoulder and sides are edged in creamy-white. There is a crest of very long feathers on its head which gives the bird an almost majestic look, whilst looking slightly frightening. It has a very short, thick beak, and the skin around the crimson eye is a pale blue colour. The Hoatzin is found throughout the year in areas along the banks of the Berbice River and its tributary, the Canje Creek, and to a lesser dgree,, on the Abary, Mahaicony and Mahaica Rivers. It feeds on the leaves of aquatic vegetation. The nesting period is usually from April to September.

Guyana - The Victoria Regia The Victoria Regia, a water lily, was discovered by Robert Schomburgk, a German Botanist, in 1837, while leading an expedition into the interior British Guiana. In its native habitat of tropical America, the plant is perennial. It grows in 1.5 to 2 metres of water. The base of the stems are embedded in soft mud. From each plant there are rarely more than 4 or 5 leaves. The flowers can measure up to about 30 centimetres in diameter. When first open, they are white with a sweet, rather fruity smelling fruit; by the second day they are fully open and the colour a deeper pink; by the third day, they start to wither - a short but glorious display.



Reference sources include:
Guyanese Christian Association of Canada - guyanaca.com.
Guyana News & Information - guyana.org.
Both sites accessed 11th February 2019.

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