Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Guiana(gēăn`ə, –än`–), region, NE South America. It faces the Atlantic Ocean on the north and east and is enclosed on the west and south within a vast semicircle formed by the linked river systems of the Orinoco, the Río Negro, and the lower Amazon. It includes SE Venezuela, part of N Brazil, French GuianaFrench Guiana
, Fr. La Guyane française, officially Department of Guiana, French overseas department (2005 est. pop. 195,000), 35,135 sq mi (91,000 sq km), NE South America, on the Atlantic Ocean.
..... Click the link for more information. , SurinameSuriname
, officially Republic of Suriname, republic (2005 est. pop. 438,000), 63,037 sq mi (163,266 sq km), NE South America, on the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Guiana region, it is separated from Brazil on the south by the Tumuc-Humac Mts.
..... Click the link for more information. (formerly Dutch Guiana), and GuyanaGuyana
, officially Co-operative Republic of Guyana, republic (2005 est. pop. 765,000), 83,000 sq mi (214,969 sq km), NE South America. It is bordered on the N by the Atlantic Ocean, on the E by Suriname, on the S and W by Brazil, and on the W by Venezuela.
..... Click the link for more information. (formerly British Guiana). The region consists of a cultivated coastal plain, where most of the population lives, and a forested, hilly interior, the Guiana HighlandsGuiana Highlands,
mountainous tableland, c.1,200 mi (1,930 km) long and from 200 to 600 mi (322–966 km) wide, N South America, bounded by the Orinoco and Amazon river basins, and by the coastal lowlands of the Guianas.
..... Click the link for more information. . Descending from plateaus as high waterfalls, such as Kaieteur Falls (Guyana) and Angel FallsAngel Falls,
waterfall, Sp. Salto Ángel, 3,212 ft (979 m) high, SE Venezuela, in the Guiana Highlands. Springing from Auyán-Tepuí Mesa, it is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.
..... Click the link for more information. (Venezuela), the rivers, notably the Caroní, Essequibo, Courantyne (Corantijn or Corentyne), Maroni, and Oiapoque, flow through low mountains, savannas, and tropical rain forests into coastal swamps and lagoons. Most of the streams are navigable only for short distances, a feature that has hindered development. The coastal plain contains rich alluvial deposits carried by ocean currents from the Amazon. The Dutch and subsequently the English reclaimed much of the tidal lands for planting sugarcane and rice, but the acreage is tiny in comparison to Guiana as a whole. Most of coastal Guiana has a monotonously hot, humid climate with heavy rainfall. The interior is inhabited by indigenous peoples and descendants of freed slaves (maroonsmaroon,
term for a fugitive slave in the 17th and 18th cent. in the West Indies and Guiana, or for a descendant of such slaves. They were called marron by the French and cimarrón by the Spanish.
..... Click the link for more information. ).
The Guiana coast was discovered (1498) by Columbus, who did not land there. The legend of El Dorado drew Sir Walter Raleigh to the region in 1595. The Spanish had also come in search of easy wealth, but, finding none, they left the coast open to exploitation by the Dutch, English, and French. The Dutch were the first to settle, but ownership of territory changed hands many times. After the emancipation of the slaves in the 19th cent., labor shortage proved a major problem on the European-owned plantations. It was partially offset by importing South Asians and Indonesians.
See J. Gimlette, Wild Coast (2011).