In our next installment of the series, we turn our attention to South America, a continent full of biodiversity, lush jungles, and the famous beaches of Rio.
However, there are a handful of countries in South America which aren’t well known, and some of them that feel downright unknown.
Guyana, a small country on the Northeast of the continent, qualifies as one of these countries.
Location: a small nation in the northeast of South America, with Brazil to the south and southwest, Venezuela to the west, and Suriname to the east.
Geography: One of the least densely populated countries, has lush and impenetrable jungles, as well as marshy plains along the Atlantic coast.
Capital (and largest city): Georgetown
Population: 795,408 – almost 90% of the country’s population is in concentrated toward the Atlantic Ocean.
Motto: One People, One Nation, One Destiny
Guyana is the only South American country where English is the official language.
The Dutch were the first Europeans to establish colonies in Guyana, starting in the late 1500s. In 1796, the British assumed control, until Guyana’s eventual independence in May 1966.
Guyana is known for its incredible ethnic diversity. The country’s population includes people of East Indian, African, Amerindian, European, Chinese, and mixed-race (known as Afro-Guyanese, Indo-Guyanese, Amerindian, etc.) descent. This diversity has enriched Guyanese culture, cuisine, and traditions.
Superstar singer and actor Rihanna was born to a Barbadian father and Guyanese mother, and talks about her love of Guyanese culture.
The Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is one of the largest single-drop waterfalls globally and is surrounded by lush rainforest.
Guyana boasts some of the most pristine and unspoiled rainforests in the world, making it a biodiversity hotspot. The country is home to diverse wildlife, including jaguars, giant river otters, harpy eagles, and numerous species of birds, frogs, and insects.
Guyana is famous for its high-quality Demerara rum, which is renowned worldwide. The country’s sugar plantations produce molasses used in the production of this distinct type of rum. Demerara rum is known for its rich and complex flavors and is a key ingredient in many classic cocktails, such as the Mai Tai and the Zombie.
A traditional and famous Guyanese dish is called Pepperpot — a stewed meat dish with beef, pork, or mutton, flavored with cinnamon, cassareep (a sauce made from the cassava root), and other ingredients, including Caribbean hot peppers; typically served with homemade bread, rice, or roti and/or boiled vegetables such as cassava, eddoes, sweet potatoes, and green or ripe plantains