Guyana and The Jim Jones Tragedy

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Guyana is one of thirteen countries in South America. Its official language is English, and its mostly filled with Asians and Blacks. Guyana's government is a republic which means the people have a lot of power and they elect their own president. Guyana has a tropical wet climate and stretches of rain forest. When it comes to economic activities the people of Guyana make the most of their surrounding. Fishing boats harvest large quantities of fish and shrimp from the sea. In the lowlands farmers grow sugar cane and rice. From the hills miners extract bauxite, a mineral used in making aluminum. Guyana is one of the worlds largest bauxite exporters. This is what Guyana is like now but whats Guyana's history, where did its inhabitants come from, and how did it get to the way it is today. The Warrou people were the indigenous inhabitants of Guyana. The Dutch, English, and French established colonies in what is now known as Guyana, but by the early 17th century the majority of the settlements were Dutch. During the Napoleonic wars Britain took over the Dutch colonies of Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo, which became British Guiana in 1831. (,1). Slavery was outlawed in 1834, and the great need for plantation workers led to a large wave of immigration, primarily of East Indians. Today, about half of the population is of East Indian descent and about 36% are of African descent. In 1889, Venezuela voiced its claim to a large swath of Guyanese territory, but ten years later an international tribunal ruled the land belonged to British Guiana. In 1978, the country gained worldwide attention when Peoples Temple leader Jim Jones and 900 of his followers committed mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. (http://www.infop... ... middle of paper ... ... to die. (,1). On that day, November 18, 1978, 912 people died from drinking the poison, 276 of whom were children. Jones died from a single gunshot wound to the head, but it is unclear whether or not he did this himself. Only a handful or so people survived, either by escaping into the jungle or hiding somewhere in the compound. In total 918 people were killed, either at the airport or at the Jonestown compound. Its very sad that the younger people in our generation haven't heard of this horrifying piece of history. (,1). Works Cited “Guyana” Infoplease. Infoplease,2011. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. . Rosenberg, Jennifer. "The Jonestown Massacre." 20th Century History. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. .

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