Guyana Human Geography

Guyana Human Geography

HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

The original residents of the country, the Arawak Amerindians, are now reduced to just over 30,000, who live in the innermost refugee areas, where they were pushed by the European colonizers; these, arrived in Guyana already at the time of the first great navigations, only starting from the eighteenth century. they founded stable centers and began a lasting territorial organization of the region. They also introduced plantation crops, at first that of coffee, then, which proved to be more profitable, that of sugar cane; strong contingents of Africans were brought in (it is estimated that in 1834, out of a total population of 100,000 residents, about 80,000 were precisely former Africans), which the colonizers, however, did not consider sufficiently productive and that, after the abolition of slavery, were largely replaced by cheap Asian labor, especially immigrants from the British Empire of the India and the Chinese. Due to the very high mortality due to malaria and other tropical diseases, the growth of the population was very slow; still in 1931 Guyana counted little more than 310,000 residents, already doubled in 1965 due to the improved living conditions. At the end of the twentieth century. however, the annual rate of increase decreased and annual growth settled at around 0.2% (2000-2005), the lowest figure in South America.

The index is explained by taking into account two elements: the migratory balance and the mortality index, especially that relating to infant mortality. In the early 1990s the emigration rate was higher than that of births; the Guyanese belonging to the upper classes, driven by political and economic uncertainty, left the country above all, which reached Canada and the United States. Guyana also has rather high infant mortality rates (63 ‰ in children under the age of 5), double the regional average, due to the precarious living conditions, especially among indigenous people. From the early years of the 21st century. the spread of the HIV has undergone a drastic increase (it is the highest figure in Latin America after that of Haiti) and is one of the main causes of death within the entire population. The ethnic composition is naturally very composite; 43.5% of the population is made up of Indians (the strong birth rate has made them the numerically prevalent group, but also the one that is generally economically and socially more marginalized), 30.2% are African Americans, 16, 7% mestizos, 9.2% Amerindians, with small minorities of Europeans (especially Portuguese) and Chinese. The poor integration between the different communities, each of which has its own political representatives, has caused tensions and clashes in the past. According to itypetravel, Guyana is very sparsely populated (4 residents / km²); vast areas of the interior are totally devoid of settlements, while a certain concentration occurs on the eastern coastal strip, where a density of 139 resident  / km² is reached., in the Demerara-Mahaica region, and where Georgetown is the only real city in the country (34,179 residents in 2002 but exceeding 137,000 residents in the urban agglomeration): located at the mouth of the Demerara, the capital is the main Guyanese port, as well as a political, administrative, economic and cultural center, with an urban structure typical of colonial cities of English origin. On the Demerara River it is also Linden (formerly Mackenzie), the largest center in the interior, located near a bauxite deposit; an active port traffic instead carries out New Amsterdam, located at the mouth of the Berbice. For the rest, almost 62% of the population is still classified as rural.

Guyana Human Geography

ENVIRONMENT

Given the climatic conditions, the country is covered for three quarters by a dense rainforest object of interest by foreign agencies interested in the exploitation of timber; only in the innermost and highest areas the wooded savannah prevails, while the coasts are banded by mangroves. The country’s fauna includes various species: birds, such as the white-winged potoo (Nyctibius leucopterus), various parrots, macaws; mammals, such as jaguars, ocelots, sloths, peccaries, capibari, troops of howler; fish, such as Arapaima; finally caimans, snakes and frogs. Another important environmental issue is that relating to the pollution of inland waters, caused by agriculture and the mining industry. Among the protected areas of the country, recognized by the National Agency for Environmental Protection of Guyana (EPA) and covering 2.2% of the territory, are the Kaieteur National Park, established in 1929 around the spectacular waterfalls, and the Forest Reserve of Iwokrama, for whose protection a special protocol was created in 1997. Among the other naturalistic areas of the country probably destined to become protected areas of national interest are those of Mount Roraima and that of the Orinduik waterfalls.