Background: Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations.
Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966.
Geographic coordinates: 5 00 N, 59 00 W
border countries: Brazil 1,119 km, Suriname 600 km, Venezuela 743 km
Climate: tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to August, November to January)
Administrative divisions: 10 regions; Barima-Waini, Cuyuni-Mazaruni, Demerara-Mahaica, East Berbice-Corentyne, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, Mahaica-Berbice, Pomeroon-Supenaam, Potaro-Siparuni, Upper Demerara-Berbice, Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo
Independence: 26 May 1966 (from UK)
National holiday: Republic Day, 23 February (1970)
The international dialling code for Guyana is 592.