History of Guyana

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Set like a gem in the crown of South America, nestled on the North-Eastern shoulder, defying the raging Atlantic Ocean, Guyana's many waterways reflect the source of its name "The Land of Many Waters" Guyana was discovered in 1498 by the Europeans, its history; therefore stretches back a bit more than 500 years. Guyana's past is punctuated by battles fought and won, possessions lost and regained as the Spanish, French, Dutch and British wrangled for centuries to own this land. Guyana gained its independece on the 26th of May 1966.

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Pre-colonial Guyana and first contacts

The first humans to reach Guyana belonged to the group of people that crossed into North America from Asia perhaps maybe as much as 35,000 years ago. These first inhabitants were nomads who slowly spread south into Central America and South America. Although great civilizations later arose in the Americas, the structure of Amerindian society in the Guianas remained relatively simple. At the time of Christopher Columbus's voyages, Guyana's inhabitants were divided into two groups, the Arawak along the coast and the Carib in the interior. One of the legacies of the indigenous peoples was the word Guiana, often used to describe the region encompassing modern Guyana as well as Suriname (former Dutch Guiana) and French Guiana. The word, which means "land of waters", is highly appropriate, considering the area's multitude of rivers and streams.

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