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torstai 10. marraskuuta 2016

Guyana, Cool Facts #158

<= 157. Australia                                                                                                           159. Ireland =>

1. Society of Guyana 

The population of Guyana is one of the most diverse in the world with ethnic groups originating from India, Africa, Europe, China and indigenous people. The biggest group is the Indo-Guyanese, descendants of indentured servants from India, who make up 43,5% of the population. The Afro-Guyanese, descendants of African slaves, constitute 30,2% of the population. There has been some racial tension between the two biggest ethnic groups. 

Since the independence the Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese have had some tensions, which have escalated into violent strikes in 1979 and 1998. The Afro-Guyanese support the PNC and the Indo-Guyanese the PPP party. The Afro-Guyanese have been predominantly in the leading positions in the government and military as the Indo-Guyanese control the retail business and cultivate rice and sugar. 

Demographics of Guyana

2. Colonial Time in Guyana

Dutch colonies
Although Christopher Columbus was the first one to sight Guyana in 1498 on his third voyage to the Americas, it was the Dutch who established the first European settlements.

1616 the colony of Essequibo was established.
1627 the colony of Berbice was established.
1752 the colony of Demerara was established.

British rule
In 1796 the British assumed control over the Dutch colonies, but it was in 1814 when the Dutch formally ceded the area to Great Britain. 

1831 The colonies of Essequibo, Berbice and Demerara became one single colony known as British Guiana.
1837 Slavery was abolished, indentured workers from China and India replaced the slaves in the plantations. 

Division of Guiana regionIn 1884 European colonial powers divided the Guiana region. The British got the western part (Guyana), the Dutch got Surinam from the middle and France got the eastern part (French Guiana), which is still part of France.

Towards independence
1928 British Guiana got autonomy.
1953 Cheddi Jagan led PPP to win the first elections. Great Britain thought Jagan had too leftist thoughts and captivated him and his wife Janet Jagan and also annulled the constitution.
1966 British Guiana became independent as Guyana.

Dutch Guiana

3. Border Disputes 

The thick Guyanese rainforests isolate Guyana from the rest of South America. There isn't even a road connection to the biggest neighboring countries Venezuela and Brazil. The border disputes have also complicated the issue.

Dispute with Suriname 
Suriname claims the area east of the left bank of the Corentyne River and the New River in southwestern Suriname.

Dispute with Venezuela
Venezuela claims the land west of the Essequibo River. The claimed area is called Guayana Esequiba and it constitutes 74% of the land area of Guyana.

In 1840 the British commissioned the German Robert Schomburgk to survey Guiana's boundaries. In Schomburgk's map British Guiana contained actually areas beyond British occupation and gave control of the mouth of the Orinoco River. Venezuela disputed Schomburgk's map and in 1844 claimed all of Guiana west of the Essequibo River.

In 1898 there was an international arbitration tribunal about the border dispute and in 1899 the tribunal gave 94% of the disputed territory to British Guiana.

Guyana became independent in 1966 and the same year Guyana, Great Britain and Venezuela signed the Treaty of Geneva of 1966, where the parties agreed to find a practical, peaceful and satisfactory solution to the dispute. Venezuela still continues to claim Guayana Esequiba.

Extreme British and Venezuelan territorial claim
Territorial claims map

4. Jim Jones & Jonestown Massacre 

Mass-murder suicide.

November 18,1978

918 members of the Peoples Temple cult died, including 276 children. The Peoples Temple was a religious movement founded in 1955 by Jim Jones in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Jonestown foundation
The Peoples Temple rented land in Guyana in 1974. Former member Tim Carter told that the reasons to move there were racism in USA, the growing influence within the government of the corporations and the multinationals and the reason that Guyana was the only English speaking country in South America. Guyana was also a black country so the black members of Peoples Temple could live in peace there. 

Jones ordered his followers to drink a mixture of cyanide-laced, grape-flavored Flavor Aid. Also Congressman Ryan, three journalists and one of the Temple defectors were shot to death as attempted to escape from Jonestown. They had come to investigate the claims of abuse within the Peoples Temple. 

Jim Jones
Entrance to Jonestown 
Houses in Jonestown

5. Nature of Guyana 

- The highest mountain in Guyana is Mount Roraima with 2772m on the Brazil-Guyana-Venezuela tripoint border
- Mount Roraima and the table-top mountains of Guyana are said to have been the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel The Lost World 
- Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is believed to be the largest water drop in the world 
- More than 80% of Guyana is still covered by forests - Over 70% of the natural habitat remains pristine
- Guyana has one of the highest biodiversity levels in the world 
- In 2012 Guyana got a $45 million reward from Norway for its rainforest protection efforts

Kaieteur Falls
Mount Roraima


1498 Christopher Columbus sighted Guyana in his third voyage to the Americas
1616 The Dutch established the colony of Essequibo
1627 The Dutch established the colony of Berbice
1752 The Dutch established the colony of Demerara
1814 The Dutch formally ceded the area to Great Britain
1823 The slaves rebelled but the rebellion was suppressed by force
1824 Venezuela claimed an area in Guyana and in 1899 an international tribunal ruled that the land belonged to Great Britain
1831 The three separate colonies became a single colony known as British Guiana
1838 People from Indian villages were brought to Guyana to work as indentured servants
1884 The Guianas region was split between European colonial powers so that the British got Guyana, the Dutch Surinam and the French got the current French Guiana
1953 PPP led by Cheddi Jagan won the first elections but the British thought Jagan was too leftist and so they annulled the constitution and captivated Jagan and his wife Janet Jagan
1958 Forbes Burnham separated from PPP and created a pro-British PNC party
1962 Venezuela officially claimed the territory in Guyana located west of the Essequibo River
1966 Guyana became independent from Great Britain 
1973 Guyana was one of the founding members in the establishment of CARICOM (Caribbean Community
1978 The American Cult, Peoples Temple, brought Guyana to the headlines around the world as 918 members with Jim Jones as the leader committed a mass suicide
1992 PNC lost the elections for the first time and the veteran politician Cheddi Jagan became president
1997 After the death of Jeddi Jagan, his widow Janet Jagan was elected president
1999 Bharrat Jagdeo became the next president after Janet Jagan 

sunnuntai 6. marraskuuta 2016

Australia, Cool Facts #157

<= 156. New Zealand                                                                                                    158. Guyana => 

1. New Holland

New Holland is a historical European name for mainland Australia, first applied in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman.

In 1606 the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon was the first European to sight and land on Australia. After Abel Tasman named Australia as New Holland, the name was used by the English Captain William Dampier, who made two voyages to Australia in 1688 and 1699.

Despite the name New Holland, neither the Netherlands nor the Dutch East India Company claimed any territory in Australia as its own. The explorers concluded that the region was unsuitable for permanent settlement due to the lack of water and fertile soil.

Many Dutch explorers visited the Australian coast during the 200 years after the first visit in 1606.

New Holland as mapped on a Coronelli globe commissioned in 1681

2. Australia Day 

When ?
Annually on 26th of January.

What ? 
The official National Day of Australia.

History behind the date
On 26 January 1788 the First Fleet landed in Port Jackson. This meant the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern coast of Australia. At the time mainland Australia was called New Holland, which was first used in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman.

First Fleet background
James Cook had sailed along the east coast of Australia mapping it in 1770. Cook named the area New South Wales and claimed it for Great Britain. In 1783 the British government decided to send the First Fleet to establish a penal colony in New South Wales.

Australia Day term
In 1935 all Australian states and territories had adopted the term Australia Day. In 1994 all states and territories marked the date as a public holiday.

Invasion Day
Some aboriginals have protested since at least 1938 during Australia Day. They see the event as the invasion of their land by Europeans so that's why they prefer to call it "Invasion Day" or "Survival Day".

The First Fleet
Australia Day celebrations in Western Australia

3. Colonies in Australia 

The First Fleet arrived to Australia in 1788 and established the colony of New South Wales. Gradually the present-day states of Australia separated from New South Wales in the 1800s becoming self-governing colonies. New Zealand was also a part of New South Wales colony until 1841, when it became a separate British colony until its independence.

1788-1900 Colony of New South Wales 
The captain of the First Fleet, Arthur Philip, founded the first British settlement in Australian history as a penal colony. In 1900 the colony became a state in the federal Commonwealth of Australia

1825-1856 Colony of Van Diemen's Land/1856-1901 Colony of Tasmania
In 1825 Van Diemen's Land became a separate colony from New South Wales. In 1856 Van Diemen's Land changed its name to Tasmania. In 1901 Tasmania became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia.

1829-1832 Swan River Colony/1832-1901 Western Australia
Established in 1829, renamed in 1832 as Western Australia. Western Australia was reluctant to join the Commonwealth of Australia, doing so only after a railway line connecting the west coast and east coast was offered.

1834-1901 Colony of South Australia
The colony of South Australia became independent from New South Wales in 1834. In 1901 South Australia became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, following a proclamation by Queen Victoria.

1851-1901 Colony of Victoria 
In 1851 Victoria became a separate colony from New South Wales. In 1901 it became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia.

1859-1901 Colony of Queensland In 1859 Queensland became a separate colony from New South Wales. In 1901 Queensland became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Federation of Australia 1900
Six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia agreed to unite and form the Commonwealth of Australia. The Constitution of Australia came into force on 1 January 1901.

Australia's colonies

4. Aboriginal Australians 

Arrival of the Aboriginals
The current theory suggests that the Aboriginals inhabited Australia between 42,000 and 48,000. They came by land bridges and short sea-crossings from present-day Southeast Asia.

Amount of Aboriginals 
The Aboriginal population was estimated to be between 750,000 and 1 million in 1788, when the First Fleet landed in Australia. The population declined dramatically in the following 150 years due to the frontier wars and infectious diseases. In 2011 there were 669,881 Aboriginals in Australia.

Australian frontier wars
A series of conflicts between 1788-1934 between the mainly British settlers and Aboriginals. About 20,000 Aboriginals and 2000-2500 Europeans died. The conflicts caused despair, loss of hunting grounds and starvation to the Aboriginals, who used alcohol then as remedy for the suffered devastation.

Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 
Enacted in the colony of Victoria gave the government's Board for the Protection of Aborigines extensive powers over the lives of Aboriginal people. The Board controlled where people could live and work, what they could do and who they could marry. They also removed the Aboriginal children from their families, starting the process known as the Stolen Generations.

Aboriginal groups
The term Aboriginal Australian is a broad term used of the many indigenous groups in Australia. The different groups have significant differences in social, cultural and linguistic customs. There are also the Torres Strait Islander group, who are not designated as "Aboriginal Australians". They are more related to the Papuan peoples of New Guinea speaking a Papuan language.

There were around 250 different indigenous languages at the time the Australian continent was colonized. About 145 languages remain in use, of which fewer than 20 are spoken by all age groups. All but 13 indigenous languages are considered to be endangered.

Arnhem Land artist
Australian Aboriginal playing the didgeridoo

5. Australia Nature

- Australia is recognized as one of the 17 megadiverse countries
- Australia has 6 different climate zones
- Australia has an estimated 200,000 animal species
- Australia has many dangerous animals including some of the world's most venomous snakes
- 89% of reptiles are endemic
- 85% of flowering plants are endemic
- 84% of mammals are endemic
- 755 species of reptiles, more than anywhere in the world
- Australia is the 6th biggest country in the world
- The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world's largest coral reef
- Australia has 16 World Heritage Sites
- 65 wetlands in Australia are listed under the Ramsar Convention

Australia's climate zones

Number of venomous animals by country


48,000-42,000 Years ago Australia was inhabited
1606 Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon was the first European to sight and land on Australia, the Dutch named the island continent "New Holland"
1770 James Cook sailed along the east coast mapping it. Cook named the area New South Wales and claimed it for Great Britain
1783 The British government sent the "First Fleet" to establish a penal colony in New South Wales
1788 A camp was set up and the British flag raised at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, on 26 January, which is currently Australia's national day Australia Day
1803 A British settlement was established in Van Diemen's Land, present-day Tasmania
1825 Van Diemen's Land became a separate colony
1828 Great Britain formally claimed the western part of the present-day Western Australia
1836 The colony of South Australia was carved out from New South Wales
1848 The last convict ship arrived to New South Wales
1850s Gold rush began in Australia
1851 The colony of Victoria was established
1856 Van Diemen's Land was renamed Tasmania
1859 The colony of Queensland was established
1901 Federation of the colonies, this established the Commonwealth of Australia as a dominion of the British Empire
1911 The Federal Capital Territory was formed as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra
1911 The Northern Territory was established after it was excised from South Australia
1914 Australia joined Britain in fighting World War I
1931 Statute of Westminster formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and Great Britain, which was actually adopted by Australia in 1942
1942 Australia turned to the United States as a new ally and protector, because the British had been defeated in Asia during World War II and there was a threat of Japanese invasion
1951 After ANZUS treaty Australia became formally a military ally of the US
1986 Australia Act 1986 ended any British role in the government of the Australia States
1999 In a referendum 55% rejected the proposal to become a republic

"Maailman maat - liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen