British Guiana

British Guiana was a British colony, part of the mainland British West Indies, which resides on the northern coast of South America. Since 1966 it has been known as the independent nation of Guyana.[2]

British Guiana
1831–1966
Motto: Damus petimusque vicissim  (Latin)
"We give and take in return"
Anthem: God Save the King (1831–1837; 1901–1952)
God Save the Queen (1837–1901; 1952–1966)
StatusBritish colony
CapitalGeorgetown
Common languagesOfficial
English
Vernacular language
Guyanese Creole
GovernmentColony
Monarch 
 1831–1837
William IV
 1837-1901
Victoria
 1901-1910
Edward VII
 1910-1936
George V
 1936
Edward VIII
 1936-1952
George VI
 1952-1966
Elizabeth II
LegislatureLegislative council
Historical eraNew Imperialism
 Conquered
1796
13 August 1831
 Single colony
1831
 New constitution
1928
 Independence
26 May 1966
Area
1924231,804 km2 (89,500 sq mi)
Population
 1924
307,391
CurrencySpanish dollar (to 1876)
British Guiana dollar (to 1940s)
British West Indies dollar (1949–65)
East Caribbean dollar (1965–66)
ISO 3166 codeGY
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Demerara-Essequibo
Berbice
Gran Colombia
Guyana (1966–1970)
Today part of Guyana
Source for 1924 area and population:[1]

The first European to encounter Guiana was Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer. The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle there, starting in the early 17th century, when they founded the colonies of Essequibo and Berbice, adding Demerara in the mid-18th century. In 1796, Great Britain took over these three colonies during hostilities with the French, who had occupied the Netherlands. Britain returned control to the Batavian Republic in 1802 but captured the colonies a year later during the Napoleonic Wars. The colonies were officially ceded to the United Kingdom in 1814 and consolidated into a single colony in 1831. The colony's capital was at Georgetown (known as Stabroek prior to 1812). The economy has become more diversified since the late 19th century but has relied on resource exploitation. Guyana became independent of the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966.