Sandwiched between Venezuela and Suriname, the former British colony of Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America.
Since independence from the UK in 1966, Guyana has seen tense relations between its citizens of African and Indians. Fierce political rivalry between the two main ethnically-based parties has led to recurring instability. Corruption too remains a chronic problem.
Most of the country is covered in tropical rainforest and despite having rich reserves of bauxite, gold and timber, it has struggled to overcome poverty and attract investment to bolster its small economy. A century-old border dispute with Venezuela has recently been revived after the discovery of offshore oil reserves.
- Co-operative Republic of Guyana
- Capital: Georgetown
- Population: 758,000
- Area: 214,969 sq km (83,000 sq miles)
- Major languages: English, indigenous languages, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
- Major religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Islam
- Life expectancy: 67 years (men), 73 years (women)
- Currency: Guyanese dollar