Guyana History Timeline

Guyana History Timeline

According to aristmarketing, Guyana is a country in northeastern South America with a coast facing the Atlantic Ocean. Guyana borders Brazil, Suriname and Venezuela.

Georgetown is the nation’s capital and largest city.

The Essequibo River is the largest river in Guyana, and the largest river between Orinoco and Amazon.


1498 – Christopher Columbus discovers Guyana.

1565 – Sir Walter Raleigh explores the country.

1580 – A number of Dutch trading posts are established along the coast.

1593 – The area comes under Spanish rule without colonization.

1598 – First voyage to Guyana by Holland.

1640 – The first African slaves arrive in the colonies.

1666 – War between England and Holland.

1667 – Dutch Gyuana (Suriname) established. It borders Guyana, French Guiana and Brazil.

1780-1813 – Guyana changes ownership several times between Dutch, French, and British.

1834 – Slavery abolished. Many slaves leave the plantations to get their own property and the slaves are replaced by workers on contract from India.

1870 – Kaieteur Falls on the Potaro River in central Guyana are discovered by a geological team led by Charles Barrington Brown and his partner James Sawkins.

1879 – Gold discovered; economic boom followed.

1889 – Venezuela claims a large part of Guyana west of the Essequibo River.

1951 – From 1951 the colony gained more and more autonomy, and on 15 December 1955 the country became an autonomous part of the Netherlands.

1953 – Britain suspends Guyana’s constitution and sends troops into the country, installing a temporary administration after the democratic elections do not appeal to them – a victory for the left-wing Indo-Guyanese Progressive People’s Party (PPP).

1957 – Britain restores Guyana’s constitution, while Britain retains control of internal defense.

1961 – Guyana gains full independence.

1962 – Venezuela revives its territorial claims on Guyana ; Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan introduces austerity program starting violent riots and a general strike; British troops are sent in to restore order.

1963 – Racist violence between people of African descent and Indian followers of Jagan.

1966 – Guyana becomes independent with Forbes Burnham as prime minister.

1970 – Guyana becomes a republic of the British Commonwealth with Raymond Arthur Chung as its titular president.

1975 – Suriname becomes independent on November 25.

1978 – 909 members (including 200 children) of the religious sect, “Temple of the People” more or less voluntarily (under duress!) Committed suicide on November 18 at Jonestown. Sect leader Jim Jones had distributed cyanide to members. Only 2 survived. The suicides followed the murder of five others, including Congressman Leo Ryan, by sect members at the nearby Port Kaituma runway. Watch documentary here ( Warning: offensive images ) See gallery here.

1980 – A new constitution makes Forbes Burnham the first executive president.

1985 – Desmond Hoyte (PNC) becomes president after Burnham’s death; the economic downturn begins.

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 the election.

1998 – Government declares a state of emergency in Georgetown in response to violent riots over PPP discrimination against Afro-Guyanans.

1999 – Bharrat Jagdeo becomes president after Janet Jagan resigned for health reasons.

2000 – Long-running disputes with Suriname over offshore border escalate as a gunboat from Suriname forces an oil exploration rig away from the area. Guyana had approved the investigation.

2002 July – TV host Mark Benschop accused of treason. The court says he encouraged protests in which the presidential complex was stormed by protesters complaining about discrimination against Afro-Guyanese.

2003 April – A US embassy employee is kidnapped and released after a ransom is paid. The abduction is part of a violent crime wave; the murder rate in 2002 quadrupled to more than 160.

2004 May – Interior Minister Ronald Gajraj resigns to allow an investigation into allegations that he is involved in a death squad, which was accused of executing hundreds of suspected criminals.

2004 June – The UN establishes a court to try to resolve a long-running maritime border dispute between Guyana and neighboring Suriname.

2005 January – The government declares a state of emergency in the capital after severe flooding after days of rain. More than 30 people were killed. The UN estimated the economic loss at 500 million. dollars.

April – Ronald Gajraj is reappointed as interior minister after clearing him of direct involvement in the killings of known and suspected criminals. However, he will resign in May.

2006 April – Agriculture Minister Satyadeow Sawh, his sister, brother and security guard were shot dead at his home in Demerara. The murder was part of a series of gun crimes. The ruling party said the killing was intended to encourage violence ahead of the election.

2006 August – President Bharrat Jagdeo wins another five-year term in parliamentary elections.

2007 June – Abdul Kadir, a former member of Guyana’s parliament, National Assembly, and mayor of Guyana’s second largest city, Linden from 1994 to 1996, was arrested in Trinidad on suspicion of involvement in a plot to bomb New York’s JFK airport.

2010 – The American 22 year old adventurer Katie Spotz became the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic, from Dakar, Senegal on January 3, 2010, to Guyana on March 14, 2010 – a full 4533 km!

October – Parliament abolishes mandatory death sentences for murderers unless they have killed members of the security forces.

2015 September – ExxonMobil announces ‘significant’ oil discovery off Guyana in the waters claimed by Venezuela, which reiterates its claim. Guyana seeks UN mediation.

November – Former Home Secretary Ronald Gajraj sues his former colleague and successor, Gail Teixeira and the Guyana Chronicle newspaper for defamation.

Guyana History Timeline