Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to settlement of urban areas by former slaves and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. The resulting ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence. After his death five years later, his wife, Janet JAGAN, became president but resigned in 1999 due to poor health. Her successor, Bharrat JAGDEO, was elected in 2001 and again in 2006. Early elections held in May 2015 resulted in the first change in governing party and the replacement of President Donald RAMOTAR by current President David GRANGER. After a December 2018 no-confidence vote against the GRANGER government, national elections were constitutionally required to take place within three months. After over a year of extra-constitutional rule by the GRANGER administration, elections were held, though voting irregularities led to a nationwide recount. The current Irfaan ALI administration was sworn in to office in August 2020. The discovery of oil in 2015 has been the primary economic and political focus, with many hoping the significant reserves will transform one of the poorest countries in the region. Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America and shares cultural and historical bonds with the Anglophone Caribbean.
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NOTE: The information regarding Guyana on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Guyana 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Guyana 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.
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