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Guyana History Timeline

A brief history of the country Guyana

Lauren Flaharty

on 21 December 2011

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Transcript of Guyana History Timeline

1498 - Christopher Columbus sights Guyana. 1620 - Dutch West India Company establishes a foothold in Guyana, including armed bases, and imports slaves from Africa to work on the sugar plantations. Guyana History Timeline British Rule 1780-1813 - Guyana changes hands several times between the Dutch, French and British. 1814 - Britain occupies Guyana during the Napoleonic Wars. 1831 - Guyana officially declared a British colony. 1834 - Slavery abolished; many slaves leave plantations to set up their own free holdings and are replaced by indentured workers mainly from India. 1879 - Gold is discovered in Guyana and is followed by an economic boom. 1899 - International arbitration tribunal rules in favour of Guyana (then called British Guiana) in the territorial dispute with Venezuela. British Intervention 1953 - Britain suspends Guyana's constitution, sends in troops and installs an interim administration after democratic elections for parliament produces a result not to its liking - a victory for the left-wing Indo-Guyanese Progressive People's Party (PPP). 1957 - Britain restores Guyanese constitution; PPP splits along racial lines, with Cheddi Jagan leading a mostly Indian party and Forbes Burnham leading a party of African descendants, the People's National Congress (PNC). 1961 - Guyana granted full autonomy, with Britain retaining control over internal and defense matters; Jagan of the PPP becomes prime minister. 1962 - Venezuela revives its territorial claims on Guyana; Jagan introduces austerity program, sparking off violent riots and a general strike; British troops sent in to restore order. 1963 - Racial violence between people of African origins and Indian supporters of Jagan. Independence 1966 - Guyana becomes independent with Burnham as prime minister. 1970 - Guyana becomes a republic within the British Commonwealth with Raymond Arthur Chung as titular president. 1978 - Nine hundred members of a religious sect commit mass suicide at Jonestown, a community established by sect leader Jim Jones. 1980 - Guyana gets a new constitution and Burnham becomes the country's first executive president. Economic Decline; Elections 1985 - Desmond Hoyte (PNC) becomes president following the death of Burnham; economy begins to deteriorate. 1992 - PPP wins first completely free parliamentary elections since independence; Cheddi Jagan becomes president. 1997 - Jagan dies and is replaced by his wife, Janet, after elections. 1999 - Bharrat Jagdeo becomes president after Janet Jagan resigned for health reasons. 2000 - Long-running dispute with Suriname over the offshore border comes to a head when Surinam gunboats evict an oil exploration rig from the area. Guyana had approved the exploration. 2003 April - US embassy employee is kidnapped and released after a ransom is paid. The abduction is part of a wave of violent crime; the murder rate in 2002 quadrupled to more than 160. 2004 June - UN sets up tribunal to try to resolve long-running maritime border dispute between Guyana and neighboring Suriname. 2006 August - President Bharrat Jagdeo wins another five-year term in general elections. 2007 September - A UN tribunal rules in the Guyana-Suriname dispute over maritime territory, giving both a share of a potentially oil-rich offshore basin. 2008 July - President Jagdeo accuses the EU of using its economic might to 'bully' developing nations into accepting its terms in negotiations with 16 Caribbean countries over a trade agreement. 2008 October - President Jagdeo signs trade agreement with EU. 2011 November - Donald Ramotar is elected as president. Ruling People's Progressive Party wins parliamentary election, but loses its majority.
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