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Guyana Facts for Kids

Guyana which means “the land of many waters” is also known as the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, it is a state of sovereignty in South America’s northern region.

The country shares a border with Brazil to the south, Venezuela to the west, Suriname to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Guyana Facts for Kids

  • The country’s total land area is 214,969 sq km (83,000 sq miles)
  • The capital city is called Georgetown which is also the largest city.
  • This makes Guyana the third smallest country in South America after both Uruguay (176,215 sq km) and Suriname (163,821 sq km).
  • Guyana is actually considered a Caribbean country because of its historical, political, and strong cultural connection with other Anglo-Caribbean countries and the community (CARICOM).
  • The total population of the country is 737,718 (est. in 2016).
  • The official language is English with other small regional languages also being spoken.
  • The country is the only country is south American that has English as its official language.
  • The country gained independence on May 29, 1966, from the United Kingdom.
  • The national anthem is “Dear Land of Guyana, of rivers and plains” and the national holiday is Republic day (Feb 23 1970).
  • The national animal is the jaguar and the national bird is the Canje Pheasant (Hoatzin).
  • The national plant is the Victoria Regis Water Lily.
  • The people of Guyana are called Guyanese with the major religion being Christianity at 63% and the smaller religions being 24.8% Judaism, 6.8% Muslim and 2.6% others.
  • The currency used is called the Guyanese dollar (GYD).
  • The natural resources of the country include Hardwood, fish, shrimp, bauxite, diamond and gold.
  • The major industries are timber, bauxite, sugar, rice milling and gold mining.
  • The country makes $1.474 billion (est. in 2017) on the exportation of timber, sugar, Shrimp, rum, Rice, molasses, alumina, bauxite and gold. The country spends $1.776 billion (est. in 2017) on the importation on food, machinery, manufactures and petroleum.
  • The region’s original inhabitants were the Amerindians and the first colonizers of the country were the Dutch then later the British came. Creole, Portuguese, Spanish and Amerindian languages are spoken in different sections of Guyana.
  • Before traveling to Guyana, proper vaccination should be taken to avoid health problems as most of Guyana has the potential to give you malaria and there is an endemic of yellow fever to the country. The country’s largest hospital is located in the capital city; though the hospital called “Georgetown Public Hospital” has just basic facilities and needs much improvement.
  • In the country, it is illegal to be homosexual and if proving, there is a possible life sentence charge for the person. Crossdressing is also considered an offense.
  • Territorial disputes exist between Guyana and both Venezuela and Suriname. Both for domestic or international services, there are no railways in the country and it has no road coming or going to Venezuela.
  • The best and cheapest means of transportation in the country are minibusses.
  • Most small restaurants outside the capital have a limited option for dishes which are mostly based on Creole dishes but in the capital Georgetown; food variety is vast, coming from different parts of the world.
  • Chow mein and lo mein are quite common dishes in the country as people generally like to eat Chinese food.
  • The country is known for remarkable gold jewelry as well as their beautiful handcraft like Sun hat, costume jewelry, paintings, wallets, and many other items.
  • The country has several waterfalls which include Kumerau falls, Orinduik falls and 52 drop falls but the most impressive in the country is the Kaieteur Falls which is said to be 5 times Niagara Falls height. The Kaieteur Falls is the most powerful waterfall with the recorded water flow rate on an average being 663 cubic meters per second and with a total height of 251 meters; it is the largest single-drop waterfall in the world.
  • The country experienced the largest mass suicide recorded in modern history when in 1978; over 900 people took their lives as a show of support for the leader of a religious cult Jim Jones.
  • There is only one university in the country, which is the University of Guyana; founded in 1963, the university is known to have been the place of study for many scholars and professionals. The cost of higher education in the country is quite high for the locals and has such the literacy rate of the country as gone down in the last ten years.