Guyana is a nation on South America's northern continent. Guyana translates as "Land of Many Waters." Georgetown is the capital city. Guyana is bounded to the north by the Atlantic Ocean, to the south and southwest by Brazil, to the west by Venezuela, and to the east by Suriname. Guyana is the third-smallest sovereign state by area in mainland South America after Uruguay and Suriname, and the second-least populous sovereign state in South America after Suriname; it is also one of the world's least densely inhabited nations. It features a diverse range of natural ecosystems and a high level of biodiversity.
The area known as "the Guianas" comprises the huge shield landmass known as the "land of many waters" north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River. Guyana is home to nine indigenous tribes: the Wai Wai, Macushi, Patamona, Lokono, Kalina, Wapishana, Pemon, Akawaio, and Warao. Guyana was colonized by the Dutch before falling under British authority in the late 18th century and was historically controlled by the Lokono and Kalina tribes. Until the 1950s, it was administered as British Guiana, with a mostly plantation-based economy. It won independence in 1966 and was admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations as a republic in 1970. The country's governmental administration and diversified population, which includes Indians, Africans, Amerindians, Chinese, Portuguese, other Europeans, and numerous mixed groups, reflect the heritage of British control. In 2017, 41 percent of Guyana's population lived below the poverty level.
Guyana is the only country in South America where English is the official language. The bulk of the population, however, speaks Guyanese Creole, an English-based creole language, as their primary tongue. Guyana is a country in the Anglophone Caribbean. It is part of the continental Caribbean area and maintains significant cultural, historical, and political links with other Caribbean nations, as well as acting as the Caribbean Community's headquarters (CARICOM). The nation became a founding member of the Union of South American Nations in 2008.