Looking to boost your knowledge of South America and increase your chance of being crowned the next geography quiz champion? Why not start by leaning these 21 fun facts about Guyana!
1. Guyana’s name has a strong meaning.
The word Guyana translates as ‘the land of many waters’.
2. Guyana sometimes gets forgotten.
This country is on the North coast of South America. It’s one of the smallest countries on the continent, and the third poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean.
3. Its population is small, yet diverse.
In 2019 Guyana had a population of 782,766, comprising of six main ethnic groups; Europeans, East Indian, African, Amerindian, Chinese and Portuguese.
Flag of Guyana
4. Guyana outlawed slavekeeping and labor before many places.
Slavery was outlawed in 1834, and the great need for plantation workers led to a large wave of immigration, primarily of East Indians. Today, about half of the population is of East Indian descent and about 36% are of African descent.
5. It was once part of the empire.
It’s an English-speaking former British colony, though other languages spoken here include Hindu, Amerindian dialects, Urdu and Creole.
6. It has a unique language accolade.
Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America.
7. Its life expectancy rates fall somewhere in the middle.
The average life expectancy in Guyana is 69.62 years (2017), ranking 136th in the world. This is 15.41 years less than Japan and an incredible 15.26 years more than Central African Republic!
8. There are countries even smaller than Guyana!
Guyana is the fourth smallest country on the South American mainland.
9. Guyana was once hot property among colonizers.
Back in the day, it was a popular place to colonise; Dutch, English, and French colonies were established up until the 17th Century, when the majority of the settlements were Dutch.
Soesdyke Linden Highway, Georgetown, Guyana
10. However, its indigenous population held strong.
Before this, it was inhabited by tribes such as the Arawak, Warrau and Carib.
11. What does Guyana grow and export?
Guyana has a healthy industry consisting of bauxite (aluminium ore), timber, textiles, sugar and rice milling.
Agriculturally, Guyana produces rice, wheat, vegetable oils and beef (and of course sugar).
The sugar, gold, bauxite, rice and also shrimp form part of its export market.
12. What’s the country’s motto?
The national motto of Guyana is ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny.’ Lovely!
St. George’s Cathedral, an Anglican cathedral in Georgetown, Guyana.
13. Its name has reason behind it.
Guyana is known as the ‘land of waters’ because it has a large network of rivers running through it. The longest River in Guyana is called the Essequibo.
14. It is mainly rain forest land.
An impressive 80% of Guyana is made up of tropical rain forest, sounds amazing!
15. The heat here is amazing.
It has a tropical climate and little seasonal variation, with temperatures between 24˚C and 31˚C. Sounds perfect, let’s go!
16. The water cascades in Guyana are record-breaking.
Guyana boasts the Kaieteur Falls, which at 741ft is the largest single-drop waterfall in the world! To put that into perspective, Kaieteur is roughly 5 times taller than the famous Niagara Falls, which has a 167ft drop. Crikey!
17. There are some rare critters out here.
The giant otter and the harpy eagle are the two rarest species found in Guyana.
18. In fact, it’s a hotbed for all kinds of creatures.
Guyana is amazing because it has so many different types of habitats! These include marine, coastal, littoral, swamp, estuarine, palustrine, riverine, mangrove, lacustrine, savanna, brown sand forest, montane, cloud forest, white sand forest, moist lowland and dry evergreen scrub forests!
We don’t know about you but that’s a good enough excuse for us to plan a visit!
Kaieteur Falls, Guyana
19. It’s a big cricketing nation.
Cricket fans will be pleased to know that the sport is pretty important in Guyana and it’s part of the West Indies Cricket team.
Other popular sports here include soft ball cricket (beach cricket) and soccer.
20. Guyana’s even big a big host for the most prominent tournaments.
Guyana hosted international cricket matches as part of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
21. Grab Guyana’s dialling code!
Want to call your friends in Guyana? You’ll need to use the international dialling code +592
From history to animals, and rainforests to sport – there’s something here for everyone! Let’s go!
FAQs about Guyana
Is Guyana a safe country to visit?
While Guyana is largely English-speaking and an absolutely gorgeous country to visit, it does have problems with violent crime - you are advised to be very careful if traveling here.
What is the main religion in Guyana?
Guyanese people follow many different religions - with Islam, Christianity and Hinduism being the three biggest faiths.
What is Guyana’s staple dish?
One of the most popular dishes in Guyana is called pepperpot - which is a beef dish that you cook for hours on end (i.e. in a crock pot).
Do you know any fun facts about Guyana? Share them in the comments below!