Guyana

Kaieteur FallThe Dutch settled in the 16th century running plantations based on African slaves – a widespred slave revolt took place in 1763 but the Dutch managed to stay in control. Britain took control in 1796 and continued the plantations but after the abolition of slavery in 1834 the former slaves refused to work for wages and the plantations closed down – the former slaves settled in their own villages and became known as Maroons. Later the sugar plantations were re-opened by workers from Portugal, India and China.

Guiana remained a colony until it became self-governed in 1953; in 1966 it became independent under the name Guyana and in 1970 it became a republic. Most people know Guyana for the 1978 Jonestown tradegy where more than 900 people committed suicide-murder. Racial tensions have been major since the independence primarily between Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese; the latter controlling the pucblic sector until the late 1990s. In 2001 weeks of violence broke out in capital Georgetown after election irregularities and since them racial tension has been part of daily life; though improvement is now noticeable amongst mainly younger people after introduction of tolerance education. Guyana's economy is mainly based on exports of bauxite and to a lessor extent gold, rice, timber and shrimp.

Despite its huge and mostly pristine jungle Guyana experiences little tourism mostly because of poor infrastructure which makes travelling time consuming and expensive. The picture is from the country's biggest tourist attraction Kaieteur Falls (with a drop of 226 meters the world's largest single fall) but not mine since I never made it there....

 

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