Co-operative Republic of Guayana
Coöperatieve Republiek Guayana
Flag of guayana
Coat of Arms of South American country
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Vrijheid en Gelijkheid!
Liberty and Equality!
Anthem: Mars naar Vrijheid
March to Liberty
Guayana National Anthem
Map of Guayana
Capital Coat of Arms of Aquinas Surinamstad
Official languages Dutch
Ethnic groups (2015) 53% Afro-Guayanan
16% Multiracial
10% White
7% Amerindian
6% Indo-Guayanan
5% Asian-Guayanan
4% other
Demonym Guayanan
Government Federal presidential republic
Hendrikus Simons (PSA)
Wim Doekhi (PSA)
Legislature Parliamentary Assembly
May 14th 1811
• Current Constitution
November 17th 2010
• Total
829,438.565 km2 (320,248.020 sq mi) (34th)
• 2015 estimate
29,102,447 (46th)
GDP (PPP) 2015 estimate
• Total
$369,688 million (49th)
• Per capita
$12,703 (91st)
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
• Total
$189,835 million (55th)
• Per capita
$6,523 (82nd)
Gini (2015) 52.1
HDI (2015) 0.735
high · 84th
Currency Guayanan Lira
Time zone LST (UTC-3)
Drives on the left
Calling code +593
Patron saint Saint Thomas Aquinas
Internet TLD .lg
Guayana, officially known as the Co-operative Republic of Guayana (Dutch: Coöperatieve Republiek Guayana) is a sovereign state in South America. It is bordered by the Caribbean to the north, Brazil to the east and south, and Venezuela to the west. Its capital city is Aquinas located in the northeast of the country. Its population of 29,102,447 ranks it as the 46th most populous country in the world, whereas its area of 829,438.565 km2 places it as being larger then Namibia but smaller then Pakistan. The Amazon and Orinoco rivers pass through the nation.

Guayana was initially inhabited by various indigenous groups and tribes prior to European colonisation with the Arawaks and the Carib being the most dominant tribes. The area was first colonised by a expedition sponsored by the Society of Suriname which led to the region to be colonised by the Dutch in 1667, where it soon became a major part of the Atlantic slave trade. In 1811 amid the backdrop of the French Revolutionary Wars and the independence of Haiti the colony underwent the second successful slave revolt in history with a federal republic being declared. The republic subsequently became embroiled in bitter wars with its neighbours Brazil and Venezuela which saw large tacts of land being periodically exchanged until the current borders were confirmed in 1914. Guayana experienced political instability and comparably little immigration compared to its neighbours, albeit there was migrations by black slaves and Asians to the country. The Guayanan government after World War Two became for the first time a liberal democracy after a series of military regimes and oligarchical republics. However political instability led to another coup in 1966 when it became a right-wing military government that participated in Operation Condor. In 1984 the regime gave way to a democratic government remaining a constitutional republic since.

Guayana is an federal presidential republic with five states. The head of state and government is the President who is directly elected to six year terms which since 2010 are renewable once.

Guayana has a developed economy with focus placed on fishing, logging, mining (especially of bauxite and gold), crude oil and sugar. In recent years Lagovesti has started to build a strong service sector so it can make the transition into a post-industrial society. Guayana has also started to invest in tourism and protection of the Amazon rain forest, which is partly located in Guayana's southern provinces.

Guayana shares close relations with the Brazil, Haiti and United States whilst maintaining a territorial dispute with Venezuela. In recent years it has come to frequent blows with the Venezuelan government especially over the issue of Venezuela's claims over the Guayana Province. Political repression, inequality and corruption also remain persistent problems in Guayana as does the ongoing insurgency fuelled by the booming narcotics trade in Guayana as well as intensive state repression. Guayana is a member of the United Nations, OAS, Mercosur, USAN, ACTO, IMF and the World Bank.




The history of Guayana dates back to around 3000 BC when Native Americans of Asian descent settled in the area as nomads. Within Guayana prior to colonisation the two main tribes were the Arawak and the Caribs. The Arawak mainly resided on the coastline whilst the Caribs lived further inland. The Arawaks were the first inhabitants whilst the Caribs who came later where able to conquer them via the use of their sailing ships. Prior to the Caribs assault on the Arawaks the latter largely maintained a peaceful hunter-gather society. Later, Spanish settlers would comment that the more warlike inclinations of the Carib meant they were much harder to conquer then the Arawaks resulting in little Spanish colonisation of the area east of modern day Venezuela.

The nature of the relationship between the Arawaks and Caribs has been debated by historians. Whilst it is clear that the two groups often fought against eachother, it has also been asserted that by the time of European colonisation both had interbred to the extent where it were interchangeable. This view however has been considered controversial amongst some historians.

European colonisation

Christopher Columbus recorded the existence of modern day Guayana in 1498, but made no effort to explore the area which gained the name the "Wild Coast". The first serious effort to explore the area was under English explorer Walter Raleigh in 1594 when he attempted to discover the mythical golden city of Manoa of the King El Dorado from the Caroní River. In 1595 Raleigh explored the area once again where he described the city to be located at Lake Parime downstream of the Orinoco River, publishing his findings in the book The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Bewtiful Empyre of Guiana. Raleigh's expedition spurred European interest in the area.

The first Europeans to colonise Guayana were the Dutch. The Dutch had started to build up an empire following the start of the Dutch Revolt, although their empire was primarily geared towards ensuring trade and furthering their economic goals rather then to create large land based buffer states. Dutch explorer Jacob Cornelisz surveyed the area in 1597 two years after Raleigh's second expedition where he recorded potential trade spots and liasoned with the local Indian tribes. The Dutch started to further explore inland and establish trading colonies. This process became more institutionalised following the creation of the Dutch West India Company in 1621 which courted capital from foreign investors such as Isaac de Pinto. Spanish and Florentine explorers Vasco Núñez de Balboa and Amerigo Vespucci also explored the area.

In 1608 the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando I sent explorer Robert Thorntan to undertake an expedition to eastern Guayana and the Amazon river in the hopes of creating a colony in South America where wood could be exported to the Italian peninsula. The death of Ferdinando I set the project back before nobleman Franco Campogalliani funded further exploration.


Giorgio Macciocchi profile

Hendrikus Simons, elected president in 2009 and re-elected in 2014

Guayana is a unitary, presidential republic where the President being both the head of state and head of government and the supreme law being the Constitution of Guayana. The Cabinet of Guayana is the executive government, appointed by the President with the approval of the legislature. The unicameral legislature is the Parliamentary Assembly of Guayana. The Supreme Court of Guayana is the highest judicial organ, with the Constitutional Court being responsible for constitutional matters.

The president of Guayana is the ultimate executive authority in Guayana, also acting as commander in chief. The president reserves the sole right to appoint the prime minister, as the right to veto laws and pass legalisation without the approval of the parliamentary assembly (although he must command the confidence of cabinet), ratify treaties and declare war. The president is elected to renewable five year terms under a supplementary voteing system. The Parliamentary Assembly of Guayana is elected every four years under a mixed member majoritarian system with 100 seats being elected via a supplementary vote and 45 seats via party-list proportional representation using the D'Hondt method.

The main parties in Guayana are the left-wing democratic socialist Popular Socialist Alliance (PSA), centre-left social democratic People's Democratic Party (VdP), the centrist Christian democratic Social and Democratic Centre (SDC) and the right wing national conservative United National Party (VNP). Since the return to democracy the VNP, SDC and VdP held a monopoly on political power but since the 2000's the PSA has become a major political force, winning the 2008 presidential election.

In 2012 a new constitution was passed officially recognising Guayana as a co-operative republic whilst allowing for unlimited presidential re-election, overturning the 1984 constitution's limit on two terms.


Foreign Policy


Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meeting President Hendrikus Simons in 2009

Guayana's constitution defines the country's foreign policy as being based on the principles of non-intervention, self-determination and regional integration. The President has ultimate authority over foreign affairs ratifying treaties and reserving the sole right to declare war.

The Guayanan government has traditionally had strong ties with Haiti which like Guayana had undergone a slave revolt during the 1800's. Following the American Civil War Guayana became closely influenced by the United States in the region with the USA supporting the 1879, 1912, 1922, 1944 and 1966 coup d'état's. Guayanan-American relations cooled after 1984 when the US perceived the Guayanan government to move to the left whilst the Guayanan government criticised the USA for supporting the 1966-1984 military regime. Since the 1900's ties with Guayana's former colonial master the Netherlands have been especially close. Traditionally Guayanan-Brazilian and Guayanan-Venezuelan relations were poor due to territorial disputes - the 1868 Roraima War particularly dented Guayanan-Brazilian relations.

The presidency of Hendrikus Simons has seen Guayana re-orientate its foreign policy, building closer ties with other "pink tide" nations such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil as well as deepening relations with Cuba. In 2012 Guayana became a member of the Venezuelan led Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ABLA). Simons refused to criticise the government of Nicolás Maduro following international outcry over the 2017 Constituent Assembly election.




Official government policy in Guayana is to maintain a highly liberalised economy handled by business owners and independent economists rather then government bureaucrats, trade unions or the workers themselves. The government only owns shares in key industries, but has stated it wishes to provide more public services in a mixed economy. The government has also worked to curb regulations in the economy to make the country more attractive to private investment.

For much of its history Guayana had a largely agrarian economy, growing various cash crops such as coffee beans, bananas, sugar tobacco, and cocoa beans mostly under a peonage system where peasants worked on large plantations. There was also many mines in the country that extracted primarily gold, silver, platinum, bauxite and copper. Following the Guayanan Revolution Guayana encountered a bauxite boom that saw substantial economic growth in the country, which led to a push for industrialisation. Following the declaration of martial law in the 1930's industrialisation was fast-tracked with the government exerting more control over the economy. In response to the 1973 oil crisis the Guayanan government enacted the controversial decision to nationalise the petroleum industry in order to increase oil revenues. During the 1980's the economy was heavily privatised with almost laissez-faire economic policies implemented, although since the restoration to democracy a mixed economy has been created.

Guayana is rich in natural resources. Guayana is a leader in the agricultural field with major agricultural industries include sugar, shrimps coffee, cattle meat, cereals, vegetable oils, fish products, fruit (mainly bananas), flowers, cotton, rice, corn, palm and corn. Mining natural resources also is a lucrative industry in Guayana. Natural resource extraction of petroleum and gas have seen increased production in recent years. Other mining includes that of bauxite, coal, gold, silver nickel, and platinum. Industry in Guayana ranges from the processing of food and the manufacture of machinery, military products, aircraft, ships, motor vehicles, plastics, electronics, petrochemicals, software, construction equipment and materials, metal products, chemicals and health related products, agrochemicals, perfumery and cosmetics, ferro-alloys, and home and office materials. Textiles, cloths and footwear creation also make up a part of the economy as does the lumber industry. The telecommunications and tourist sectors are the fastest growing in the service sector of Guayana which has expanded in recent years.



The Guayanan constitution allows freedom of religion, although it gives Roman Catholicism a higher status. Government statistics state that 73% of Argentines are Catholic, 6% Protestants, 6% Caaanites, 3% Lutheran, 3% Calavanist, 2% Evangelical and 8% from other beliefs ranging from Islam, Judaism or atheism.

The Guayanan junta conducted Anti-Semitic actions against Jewish persons. Since the end of World War Two the Guayana housed many ex-members of the Nazi regime of Germany, who have significantly contributed to Anti-Semitic movements in Guayanan, resulting in much of the small Jewish population to migrate to Brazil. Following the restoration of democracy in 1991, such anti-Semetic laws were repealed.

Ethnic groups




The most popular sport in Guayana is football, with its national men's team being a regular feature at the FIFA world cup. Football plays a large role in Guayanan culture with many youths encouraged to play the sport. The Football League of Guayana manages the league system. Affiliations to successful teams such as Castellazzo Atlantica and Valentia Lega has created fierce divisions in Guayanan society. Guayana's national football team has been criticised for alleged drug use.

See also