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The Guyana / British Guiana Genealogical Society

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History of Guyana

Early History

The native peoples of the South American continent were first visited by the Spanish in their global quest for gold and riches. The Spanish were searching in Guiana when the Englishman Sir Walter Raleigh visited the country in 1595. Raleiegh wrote a travelogue of his visit entitled "The Discovery of Guiana". The word "discover", in this case means his own personal discovery and not that he was the first European to discover Guiana.. Having found no riches, the Spanish left the territory for others to explore. In the ensuing years, the rule of the territory would bounce between the Dutch, French, and English. Many online accounts of the earliest years can be found online, as well as many copies of Raleigh's travelogue account of his visit to this area.

How did the territory currently referred to as "Guyana" get it's name?
There are many theories and explanations. Among the best is the speech given to the legislature by the Honorable Brinley H. Binn, Minister of Natural Resources. The short speech provides evidence that there were a tribe of indigenous peoples that called themselves "Guarantors" and the name evolved from variations and changes made by the explorers/conquerors. The current name was adopted which was closer in spelling to the original people's name and was easier to pronounce than the original.

Reminiscences of persons growing up in British Guiana
"My Story" by Randall Butisingh -- Randall, the son on East Indians, born in 1912 and raised in Buxton, shares his memories of his life in the Colony. His story is very compelling and provides an insight into life in the early to mid 20th century. A highly recommended read. It is difficult to read just one chapter as one wants to continue reading!

Historical Text Archive – The Discovery of Guiana by Sir Walter Raleigh

The Dutch East India Company (VOC)

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