Well written by Highlanda.net‘s Crisis Don, here’s a feature on my hometown, GT – the Republic of Guyana.
As most of you who follow Highlanda Sound System already know, we are a sound that treats our heritage with much respect and admiration. We alone are not the ones who have a say in our destinies. We believe that because of those that have passed before us, we are blessed with endless examples of excellence. Therefore I will give you a synopsis, so to speak, of our country Guyana.
The word Guyana is of Amerindian descent, meaning “land of many waters”. The country was termed this because of it’s many rivers, creeks, and other bodies of water. The three main rivers in Guyana are the Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice Rivers. Furthermore, the area is below sea level at high tide. In order to fight off the Atlantic Ocean, sea walls and sluices are used to holt the great body of water.
Guyana is about 83,000 sq. miles which is roughly the size of the United Kingdom. Speaking of which, Guyana (formerly British Guiana) is the only English-speaking country in South America. The countries surrounding it are Venezuela, Brazil, and Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana). The country is also considered the largest country in the West Indies (note that the rest of the countries in the West Indies are island states).
Guyana was first populated by the Amerindians which included of Caribs, Arawaks, Warraus, Wapisianas, Arecunas, Akawaios, Macusis, Patamonas, and Wai-wais. Modern Guyana has six distinct ethnic groups that comprise it’s population: African (40%), East Indian (51%), Chinese, Portuguese, European, and Amerindian. This diversity of ethnicity was caused by the vast history of the country.
When the Dutch were in control of the northern South America coastline, slaves were brought from West Africa to work on the cotton and sugar plantations. In 1831 when the British became a major player in the colony race, the three colonies of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice were united and named British Guiana. In 1834 slavery was abolished which led to the use of indentured servants. Immigrants also came from Europe, China, and India, causing the ethnic landscape we see today in the country.
British Guiana gained independence on May 26, 1966, which led to the country’s title of Guyana. Guyana became a Republic within the British Commonwealth on February 23, 1970, the full name then became The Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Guyana’s constitution also came about in 1980.
This is a very brief synopsis of the country of Guyana. Highlanda Inc. is dedicated to spreading not only our music world-wide, but we also find it necessary to spread our culture. Stay posted for more on this and other topics.