Guyanese people

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Guyanese people
Leona Lewis.jpgJagdeo03032007.jpgEzekiel Jackson Tribute to the Troops 2010.jpg
Notable Guyanese people:
Leona Lewis, Bharrat Jagdeo, Ezekiel Jackson
Total population
Up to 1.5 million
Regions with significant populations
Guyana Guyana
United States United States
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Canada Canada
Netherlands Netherlands
Brazil Brazil
Trinidad and Tobago T&T
English (including Guyanese Creole, American English, British English and Canadian English), Akawaio, Caribbean Hindustani, Macushi, Wai-Wai, Arawakan, Cariban
Hinduism, Pentecostalism, Roman Catholic, Islam, Anglicanism

Guyanese people are people originating in the South American nation of Guyana. Geographically, Guyana is not an island in the Caribbean, but a nearby mainland land mass. Guyana's culture reflects its European history as it was a Dutch, then British colony, as well as its Caribbean or West Indian neighbors, as it is much more similar to the culture of the West Indian Caribbean islands such as Trinidad, Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenada, rather than the other South American countries. Like other Caribbean countries Guyanese culture shares some customs and traits with other Latin American countries. Guyana is a founding member of CARICOM.


Guyana is a diverse nation, 43.5% of the population is of East Indian origin (Biharis, Tamils, Telugus, Punjabis) 31.2% Black African (see Afro-Guyanese), 16.7% multiracial (almost all part African), 9.2% Amerindian and 0.46% other, mostly Chinese and whites (most notably Portuguese and English). Some Guyanese have heritage from Afghanistan, Persia, Mesopotamia, Spain, and Syria. English (in the form of Guyanese Creole) is the most common language amongst Guyanese people in Guyana and its diaspora. The religious breakdown of Guyanese people is: Hindu 28.4%, Pentecostal 16.9%, Roman Catholic 8.1%, Muslim 7.2%, Anglican 6.9%, Seventh-day Adventist 5%, other Christian denominations 20.5%, no religion 4.3%, Rastafarian 0.5%, Bahá'í 0.1%, other faiths 2.2%.[1]


Overseas Guyanese communities mainly exist in the United States (86,120 Guyanese born), United Kingdom (20,872 Guyanese born), Canada (14,560 Guyanese born), and the Netherlands (328 Guyanese born), although the total populations (i.e. people of Guyanese descent born in that country) are much higher.

The reason for this mass exodus were the highly oppressive policies of Forbes Burnham, former president and dictator who was widely regarded as a rigger of elections.[2]

The migration of Guyanese to other countries began in the late 1950s when some Guyanese (mainly young men, and some women) took up offers from the British Government to migrate to England to supplement the British labour force, like other Caribbean countries. This was a short lived policy as the British government quickly closed the doors on open immigration from its Caribbean Territories. The migration of many Guyanese Portuguese to the U.K and Canada happened in the late 1960s and early 1970s due to political struggles and problems at the time.

The migration of Guyanese to other Western countries, mostly Canada and the United States, continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s, much of it due to political and economic problems. The Forbes Burnham government continuously doctored elections through the 1970s in his favour, and was feared by many for his Stalinist behavior. The 1980s saw mass migration due to continuing misguided economic policies and problems, continuous shortages of basic items on a daily basis, and a country run much the way Cuba is perceived today. While many left due to political, economic, and social problems, those who could afford it left looking for better opportunities and some for educational purposes. The 1990s saw migration to other Caribbean countries. Migration continued by the need to reconnect split families. The migration of Guyanese to other lands continues today.

See also[edit]