Guyana’s celebration of its 51st year of independence from Britain is officially celebrated today May 26. Guyana occupies a unique position as the only English-speaking country in South America, and it shares a close socio-political affinity and history with many Caribbean islands – so much so that it is often thought of as another country in that region. Popularly known as the ‘Land of Many Waters’ (some say from the Arawak Amerindian words ‘wai ana’), this vast landmass is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brasil to the south, Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west.
The country was first colonised by the Spanish, then the French, the Dutch and the British, finally being ceded to the latter in 1814 (in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty). Although contact with Europeans historically proved fatal for most of the indigenous Arawak, Carib and Warao peoples, several thousand Amerindians continue to live in the country’s dense interior.
Soca News wishes Guyana and all Guyanese people across the Diaspora a happy independence.