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Guyana History Timeline

Guyana's Information

Flag of Guyana
Land Area 196,849 km2
Water Area 18,120 km2
Total Area 214,969km2 (#83)
Population 735,909 (#165)
Population Density 3.74/km2
Government Type Parliamentary Republic
GDP (PPP) $6.05 Billion
GDP Per Capita $7,900
Currency Dollar (GYD)
Largest Cities

1400s - 1700s

  • (1498) Christopher Columbus sighted Guyana
  • (1565) Sir Walter Raleigh exploration discovered land now known as Guyana
  • (1580) Dutch established trading posts upriver
  • (1598) First voyage to Guyana by the Dutch
  • (1621) Dutch West India Company received charter for Essequebo region
  • (1640) First African slaves arrived in colonies
  • (1666) War between England and Holland
  • (1780-1813) Guyana changed hands several times between Dutch, French, and British
1800s - 1900s
  • (1834) Slavery abolished
  • (1870) Kaieteur Falls on Potaro River in central Guyana discovered by geological survey team
  • (1879) Gold discovered; economic boom followed
  • (1899) Guyana's borders established by International Tribunal
  • (1961) Guyana granted full autonomy, Britain retained control over internal, defense matters; Jagan became prime minister
  • (1966) Guyana became independent, Burnham as prime minister
  • (1970) Guyana restructured government, became the "Republic of Guyana"
  • (1978) 900 members of religious sect committed suicide at Jonestown, sect leader Jim Jones
  • (1980) New constitution made Burnham first executive president
  • (1985) President Burnham died, Desmond Hoyte became president; economy began to deteriorate
  • (1992) Cheddi Jagan elected president
  • (1997) President Cheddi Jagan died; wife Janet Jagan won presidential election
  • (1998) Guyana police, US anti-drug agents seized three tons of cocaine on cargo ship
  • (1999) President Janet Jagan resigned due to health issues, Bharat Jagdeo succeeded
2000s
  • (2000) US, Japan, Europe, other industrial powers agreed to provide relief to 22 poor nations, including Guyana
  • (2001) Brazil signed trade agreement with Guyana; President Jagdeo re-elected
  • (2002) Caribbean Community trading bloc held summit in Guyana; Haiti admitted as 15th member
2000s continued
  • (2003) US embassy employee kidnapped, released after payment of ransom
  • (2004) Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj travel visa revoked, Gajraj accused of organizing hit squad blamed for the deaths of more than 40 suspected criminals
  • (2004) Guyana cattle farmer assassinated after inquiry into alleged hit squad
  • (2005) Ronald Gajraj reappointed as interior minister after inquiry cleared him of direct involvement in killings of suspected criminals; Gajraj resigned
  • (2005) Guyanese lawmakers voted to raise age of female sexual consent from 13 to 16 years of age
  • (2006) President Bharrat Jagedo won another five- year term
  • (2007) UN decision awarded Guyana, rather than Suriname, most of disputed area of coastal Atlantic Ocean
  • (2008) President Jagdeo signed trade agreement with EU
  • (2009) Leaders of Brazil and Guyana met to inaugurate the $5 million Takutu River Bridge
  • (2010) American rower Katie Spotz (22) completed solo journey across Atlantic Ocean, touched pier in waters of Guyana to claim a record as youngest person to accomplish 2,817-mile feat
This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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