192-Part Guide To The World: Guyana

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The Independent Online

Official Name: Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Official Name: Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Language: Officially English, though various creoles are widely spoken, as well as Hindi and Urdu.

Location: On the jungly and highly inaccessible north-east coast of South America.

Population: A bit less than a million.

Size: 215,000 sq km, or about six times larger than Belgium.

National Dish: Seafood or creole dishes such as pepperpot, a spicy stew cooked in bitter cassava juice.

Best Monument: The capital city Georgetown does contain a few historic buildings, including the Gothic-style St George's Cathedral, built in the early part of the 19th century, which claims to be the world's tallest wooden cathedral.

Most Famous Citizen: As far as most Britons are concerned, this honour falls to cricketer Clive Lloyd, born in Georgetown, who went on to captain some of the greatest West Indies teams of the 1970s and 1980s. In all he played 110 Test matches.

Best Moment in History: Achieving independence from Britain in 1966.

Worst Moment in History: In 1978, 913 members of a religious cult, under their leader, one Jim Jones, committed suicide together at a site referred to as "Jonestown", which is in the north-western part of Guyana close to the Venezuelan border.

More recently, the assassination in 1973 of Amilcar Cabral, leader of the independence movement which struggled to free the islands from Portuguese rule in the 1960s and 70s.

Essential Accessory Some kind of boat. Guyana has one of the world's least developed road networks but it does have at least 1,000km of navigable waterways.

What not to do: Do not make the mistake - as so many have done - of telling the locals that this is your first time in Africa. (Actually, you are in South America.)

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