Georgetown, Guyana

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City of Georgetown
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St George's Cathedral.jpg
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City of Georgetown
Location in Guyana and South America
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City of Georgetown
City of Georgetown (South America)
Coordinates: 6°48′4″N58°9′19″W / 6.80111°N 58.15528°W / 6.80111; -58.15528 Coordinates: 6°48′4″N58°9′19″W / 6.80111°N 58.15528°W / 6.80111; -58.15528
CountryFlag of Guyana.svg  Guyana
Region Demerara-Mahaica
Established1781
Named29 April 1812
Government
  TypeMayor-Council
  Mayor Ubraj Narine from January 2019
Area
  Total70 km2 (30 sq mi)
Elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Population
 (2012) [1]
  Total200,500
  Density2,900/km2 (7,400/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-4
Area codes 231, 233, 225, 226, 227
Climate Af

Georgetown is a city and the capital of Guyana, located in Region 4, which is also known as the Demerara-Mahaica region. It is the country's largest urban centre. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean coast at the mouth of the Demerara River and it was nicknamed the "Garden City of the Caribbean".

Contents

Georgetown serves primarily as a retail and administrative centre. It also serves as a financial services centre. The city recorded a population of 200,500 in the 2016 census. [1]

History

Wesleyan Mission Premises, George-Town, Demerara (1850) Wesleyan Mission Premises, George-Town, Demerara (VII, p.1, January 1950) - Copy.jpg
Wesleyan Mission Premises, George-Town, Demerara (1850)

The city of Georgetown began as a small town in the 18th century. Originally, the capital of the Demerara-Essequibo colony was located on Borselen Island in the Demerara River under the administration of the Dutch. When the colony was captured by the British in 1781, Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Kingston chose the mouth of the Demerara River for the establishment of a town which was situated between Plantations Werk-en-rust and Vlissengen.

It was the French who made it a capital city when they colonized it in 1782. The French called the capital Longchamps. When the town was restored to the Dutch in 1784, it was renamed Stabroek after Nicolaas Geelvinck, Lord of Stabroek, and president of the Dutch West India Company. Eventually the town expanded and covered the estates of Vlissengen, La Bourgade and Eve Leary to the North, and Werk-en-rust and La Repentir to the South.

A view of the Kingston section of Georgetown in the 19th century. Kingston Georgetown 19 Century.jpg
A view of the Kingston section of Georgetown in the 19th century.

It was renamed Georgetown on 29 April 1812 in honour of King George III. On 5 May 1812 an ordinance was passed to the effect that the town formerly called Stabroek, with districts extending from La Penitence to the bridges in Kingston and entering upon the road to the military camps, shall be called Georgetown.

The ordinance provided that the various districts of Georgetown shall be known by their own names. The supervision of Georgetown was to be done by a committee chosen by the governor and Court of Policy. Estimates of expenditure were to be prepared.

By 1806 the owner of Vlissingen asked to be exempted from the responsibility of maintaining the road which is now called Camp Street, but the Court refused the request. In 1810 the maintenance of the roads in the area called Georgetown cost 11,000 guilders per annum.

The governing body of Georgetown was once a Board of Police. The Board of Police was chosen by the governor and the Court of Policy. It came into existence as the result of disputes among various organisations which controlled the districts. The board met monthly but what was discussed is not on the records between 1825 and 1837. Newspapers in the colony were prohibited by law from reporting public matters.

The post of Commissary of Police was not regarded as important. People elected to the board invariably declined to attend meetings and never gave reasons for their refusal. It was, therefore, decided that individuals elected to the board were bound to serve for two years, or suffer a penalty of 1,000 guilders. The Board of Police was abolished when an ordinance was passed to establish a mayor and town council.

Georgetown gained official city status on 24 August 1842 during the reign of Queen Victoria.

The names of Georgetown's wards and streets reflect the influence of the Dutch, French and English who administered the town at different periods of history.

Cummingsburg was originally named Plantation La Bourgade by its first owner, Jacques Salignac. It was laid out in streets and building lots by its second proprietor, Thomas Cuming, a Scotsman, from whom it gets its current name. He made a presentation of the Militia Parade Ground and Promenade Gardens to the town as a gift. Carmichael Street was named after General Hugh Lyle Carmichael who served as governor from 1812 to 1813. He died in March 1813 and was buried in the Officers' Cemetery, Eve Leary.

Water Street was so called because it ran along the riverside and formed the original river dam. High Street formed the leading road from the East Bank to the East Coast of Demerara. The part of High Street that ran through Cummingsburg was called Main Street. Camp Street received its name because it was the road which led to the camp or garrison at the northern end of the city. Kingston got its name from King George of England. It was part of Pln. Eve Leary which was named after the wife or daughter of its owner, Cornelis Leary. Some of the streets of Kingston have military names because the garrison used to be located there, e.g. Parade Street, Barrack Street and Fort Street.

Lacytown was another leasehold portion of Plantation Vlissengen. Luke M. Hill* states that it was named after the lessee, George Lacy, who was related to the family of General Sir De Lacy Evans (sic. - General Sir George de Lacy Evans GCB), a Crimean war hero. The owner of Vlissengen was Joseph Bourda, Member of the Court of Policy. After his son and heir disappeared at sea, the government claimed the property under the authority of the Vlissengen Ordinance of 1876. A new district of Bourda was laid out and Lacytown was improved by the Board of Vlissengen Commissioners.

Bourda Street and the ward of Bourda were named after Joseph Bourda, Member of the Court of Policy and former owner of Pln. Vlissengen. It was laid out by the Commissioner of Vlissengen in 1879. The Bourda Cemetery holds the remains of many citizens of Georgetown. Only those persons who owned family vaults or burial rights in the enclosed ground used it.

In 1945 a large fire (The Great Fire) broke out in the city, causing widespread damage.

Geography

Georgetown is located on Guyana's Atlantic coast on the east bank of Demerara River estuary. The terrain in this part of the country where the city is located is flat coastal plains. The city is surrounded by a blanket of cane fields along with marshy swamps, and savannah lands on its east and south. The elevation of the land is one metre below the high tide level. This low elevation is protected by a retaining wall known as the seawall to keep the ocean out and an innovative network of canals with kokers to drain the city of excess water. Guyana has 10 administrative regions with 4 natural regions.

Climate

Georgetown has a year-round hot trade-wind tropical rainforest climate. Relative humidity fluctuates throughout the year with the highest occurring in May, June, August and December–January; these months are usually the rainiest part of the year. Between the months of September to November relative humidity is lower ushering in the drier season.

Georgetown does not truly have a dry season – monthly precipitation in all 12 months is above 60 millimetres (2.4 in). Because of its location Georgetown’s temperatures are moderated by the North-East trade winds blowing in from the North Atlantic and so it rarely sees temperatures above 31 degrees Celsius.

Climate data for Georgetown (1961–1990)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)28.6
(83.5)
28.9
(84.0)
29.2
(84.6)
29.5
(85.1)
29.4
(84.9)
29.2
(84.6)
29.6
(85.3)
30.2
(86.4)
30.8
(87.4)
30.8
(87.4)
30.2
(86.4)
29.1
(84.4)
29.6
(85.3)
Daily mean °C (°F)26.1
(79.0)
26.4
(79.5)
26.7
(80.1)
27.0
(80.6)
26.8
(80.2)
26.5
(79.7)
26.6
(79.9)
27.0
(80.6)
27.5
(81.5)
27.6
(81.7)
27.2
(81.0)
26.4
(79.5)
26.8
(80.2)
Average low °C (°F)23.6
(74.5)
23.9
(75.0)
24.2
(75.6)
24.4
(75.9)
24.3
(75.7)
23.8
(74.8)
23.5
(74.3)
23.8
(74.8)
24.2
(75.6)
24.4
(75.9)
24.2
(75.6)
23.8
(74.8)
24.0
(75.2)
Average rainfall mm (inches)185.2
(7.29)
88.5
(3.48)
111.0
(4.37)
140.5
(5.53)
285.5
(11.24)
327.7
(12.90)
268.0
(10.55)
201.4
(7.93)
97.5
(3.84)
107.2
(4.22)
185.9
(7.32)
261.9
(10.31)
2,260.3
(88.99)
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)1610101219232115991218174
Mean monthly sunshine hours 201.0208.6219.7197.9178.8156.7201.6233.7229.8235.3210.9186.62,460.6
Source: NOAA [3]

The capital city

Parliament Building Parliament Georgetown Guyana.JPG
Parliament Building
The High Court Cottage of city Georgetown.jpg
The High Court

Georgetown is the seat of the central Government of Guyana. All executive departments are located in the city. Parliament Building, Guyana's Legislative Building, is also found in Georgetown and so is the Court of Appeals, Guyana's highest judicial court.

The State House (the official residence of the head of state), as well as the offices and residence of the head of government, are both located in the city. Georgetown is the capital city as well as the main economic base of Guyana.

Economy

Georgetown is Guyana's largest urban centre, containing a large portion of its commerce. Within the metro area there is the CARICOM headquarters, the Administrative Arm of the Caribbean Regional Integration Organisation. Georgetown also is home to a seaport. Guyana's international airport, Cheddi Jagan International Airport/Timehri, an hour south of Georgetown is a destination for Caribbean Airlines (the airline formerly known as BWIA or ""bwee""), LIAT, META, and Travel Span GT.

Closer to the city is the newly expanded Ogle Airport, with a terminal facility geared to handle regional, international and inter-Caricom flights, connecting CARICOM states with the CARICOM Secretariat. The city has many highway projects under construction although the four-lane East Coast Highway was completed in 2005. Georgetown accounts for a large portion of Guyana's GDP.

Transportation

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport (formerly Timehri Airport) acts as the major air transportation hub for the city, which is located on the right bank of the Demerara River, 41 kilometres south of Georgetown. Direct international flights as well as connecting service from New York City, Miami, Toronto, Panama City, Panama, Bridgetown, Port of Spain, Paramaribo, Aruba and Curaçao are flown. All scheduled passenger jet service for Georgetown is operated via this international airport.

Close-in Ogle Airport also serves Georgetown. Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) operates scheduled passenger flights from Ogle with ATR regional propjet aircraft nonstop to Port of Spain and Barbados as well as direct to other Caribbean islands. Helicopters also use this airport for support of offshore oil and gas exploration activities.

There is a regular coach service between Georgetown and Boa Vista in Brazil, and once-daily connections to Paramaribo, Suriname via a ferry crossing on the Corentyne River. Transportation can be by bus, car, or boat. The Demerara Harbour Bridge is a major crossing point. The Berbice Bridge located to the east near New Amsterdam, Guyana is also transfer point to get to Georgetown or anywhere else. Most of the West Coast, East Bank, East Coast and Berbice, Guyana are served by numerous private buses. Taxi service is available almost everywhere along the coast including in large numbers in Georgetown. A number of highways have been newly constructed and the government is working to rehabilitate all roads in the country.

Cost of living

Electricity prices are about US$0.33 per unit. [4] A domestic gas bottle (or gas cylinder) is over US$20. [5]

Demographics

Georgetown recorded a population of 118,363 in the 2012 Guyanese census, down 12 percent from the 134,497 people counted in the 2002 census. [1] In 2002, about 70,962 (53%) listed themselves as Black/African; 31,902 (24%) as mixed; 26,542 (20%) as East Indian; 1,441 (1.1%) as Amerindian; 1075 (0.8%) as Portuguese; 475 (0.35%) as Chinese; 2,265 (1.7%) as "don't know/not stated"; 196 (0.15%) as white not of Portuguese descent; 35 as "other". [6]

Points of interest

St. George's Anglican Cathedral St georges.jpg
St. George's Anglican Cathedral

Georgetown is laid out in a north–south, east–west grid, interlaced with canals protected by kokers, or sluices, built by the Dutch and later the British that provide drainage to a city that lies 0.91 metres (3 ft) below high-tide level. A long sea wall helps prevent flooding. The city has numerous boulevards and contains many wooden colonial buildings and markets.

Most of the main buildings are centred around the western region of the town. Around the western-central area is Independence Square and Promenade Gardens, the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, the National Library (built by Andrew Carnegie), the Bank of Guyana, Company Path Garden, the National Museum of Guyana and State House (built 1852) where the president resides, and St. George's Anglican Cathedral. There are many churches, mosques and mandirs in Georgetown.

The Georgetown Cenotaph, at Main and Church Streets, was built in 1923. It is the site of Remembrance Day (Remembrance Sunday) services in November each year.

To the south of this region is where the neo-Gothic City Hall (1889) is to be found, as well as the Victoria Law Courts (1887), the Parliament Building (1829–1834), the large Stabroek Market (1792) containing the prominent cast-iron clock tower that dominates the city sky line, the Roman Catholic Brickdam Cathedral, City Engineer House, the Magistrate's Court, St. Andrew's Kirk (1818) and Independence Arch.

The northern area of the city near the Atlantic coast contains Splashmins Fun Park, Fort William Frederick, a park and the Umana Yana, a conical thatched building built by Wai-Wai Amerindians using traditional techniques. It was built for the 1972 Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers Conference.The Umana Yana burnt down in 2010 but was rebuilt in 2016. [7] The Georgetown Lighthouse is a famous landmark.

The City is protected from the Atlantic Ocean by the Georgetown Seawall.

Georgetown is the seat of the University of Guyana and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat which are both located at Turkeyen, on the city's outskirts.

Tourism

There are many tourist attractions in Georgetown, including St. George's Anglican Cathedral and Stabroek Market.

Performing arts

National Cultural Centre auditorium US Navy 070929-N-7092S-046 The U.S. Navy Showband, attached to Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), performs at the National Cultural Centre.jpg
National Cultural Centre auditorium

Georgetown's theatre scene is dominantly concentrated on the stages of the National Cultural Centre. Plays are also staged at the theatre guild of Guyana. This is the oldest theatrical performance facility in Guyana. It was opened in 1957 and restored in 2007.

Regions of Georgetown

Georgetown has expanded dramatically through the years and may be divided into three Geographical regions:

Georgetown – referring to Central Georgetown includes the Business district as well as the seat of the national Government.

Greater Georgetown – contains some of the most expensive and luxurious metropolitan neighbourhoods. Bel Air Park, Bel Air Gardens, Lamaha Gardens and Bel Air Springs are well known ultimately as places for the rich and powerful. Most residents here are high ranking executives or government officials. These close gated neighbourhoods of the city are mostly concentrated in the northeastern part towards Greater Georgetown and the Atlantic.

Greater Georgetown contains some notable places such as:

South Georgetown – incorporated communities of neighbourhoods along the eastern bank of the Demerara River such as Sophia, Roxanne Burnham Gardens, Albouystown, and Agricola. Those are well known and highly regarded poor areas of the city. Some areas such as Houston Estates, Ruimvelt and Thirst Park have retained high levels of affluence.

City neighbourhoods

A Colonial era residence in Georgetown. Dwelling in city.jpg
A Colonial era residence in Georgetown.

Known for its historic importance, Georgetown remains the administrative centre for the central Government.

North of Georgetown lies Main Street, where the head of state's official residence can be found along with several other important Government buildings, including the Ministry of Finance. East of Georgetown stretches towards the Avenue of the Republic, where Georgetown's city hall building is located, as well as the St. George's Cathedral. Also on the east side is Brickdam, which is the single most concentrated area of executive departments and agencies. The Ministries of Health, Education, Home Affairs, Housing and Water are all located on Brickdam.

West of Stabroek Market is the Port of Georgetown, the largest and busiest shipping point in Guyana. Stabroek Market itself contains the Ministry of Labour as well as the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security. It is also the host facility for the equally famous Stabroek markets.

Suburbs

Providence Stadium hosted several 2007 Cricket World Cup matches, replacing Bourda as the national stadium and test venue Smaller Providence Stadium inside.jpg
Providence Stadium hosted several 2007 Cricket World Cup matches, replacing Bourda as the national stadium and test venue
The International Conference Centre Georgetown28022007.jpg
The International Conference Centre

Suburban Georgetown consists of Greater Georgetown and Uptown Georgetown and contains the following suburbs of the city:

Crime

Armed robberies occur regularly in Georgetown, especially in businesses and shopping districts. [8] Particularly high crime areas of Georgetown include Tiger Bay, Albouystown, Sophia, all of south Georgetown, Buxton and Agricola. [9] Robberies are a daily occurrence in the Stabroek Market area. [9] A number of assaults have taken place in the Botanic Gardens. [9]

Utilities

Notable people

Twin towns – sister cities

Georgetown has several sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

Related Research Articles

The transport sector comprises the physical infrastructure, docks and vehicle, terminals, fleets, ancillary equipment and service delivery of all the various modes of transport operating in Guyana. The transport services, transport agencies providing these services, the organizations and people who plan, build, maintain, and operate the system, and the policies that mold its development.

Guyanese culture reflects the influence of Indian, African, Amerindian, British, Portuguese, Chinese, Creole, Latin American, and Dutch cultures. Guyana is one of a few mainland territories of South America that is considered to be a part of the Caribbean region. Guyanese culture shares many commonalities with the cultures of islands in the West Indies,.

Demerara historic region of the Guianas

Demerara is a historical region in the Guianas on the north coast of South America which is now part of the country of Guyana. It was a Dutch colony until 1815 and a county of British Guiana from 1838 to 1966. It was located about the lower courses of the Demerara River, and its main town was Georgetown.

Demerara-Mahaica Region of Guyana

Demerara-Mahaica is a region of Guyana, bordering the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the region of Mahaica-Berbice to the east, the region of Upper Demerara-Berbice to the south and the region of Essequibo Islands-West Demerara to the west.

Ian McDonald is a Caribbean-born writer who describes himself as "Antiguan by ancestry, Trinidadian by birth, Guyanese by adoption, and West Indian by conviction." His ancestry on his father's side is Antiguan and Kittitian, and Trinidadian on his mother’s side. His only novel, The Hummingbird Tree, first published in 1969, is considered a classic of Caribbean literature.

Cheddi Jagan International Airport airport serving Georgetown and primary international airport serving Guyana

Cheddi Jagan International Airport, formerly Timehri International Airport, is the national airport of Guyana. The airport is located on the right bank of the Demerara River in the city of Timehri, 41 kilometres (25 mi) south of Guyana's capital, Georgetown. It is the larger of the two international airports serving Georgetown with the other airport being the Eugene F. Correira International Airport.

Stabroek Market

Stabroek Market is a large market located in the capital city of Guyana, Georgetown.

Stabroek, Guyana Ward in Georgetown, Guyana

Stabroek was the name of Georgetown, Guyana, between 1784 and 1812.

Lusignan, Guyana Place in Demerara-Mahaica, Guyana

Lusignan is a community in Guyana, South America. Located on the East Coast of Demerara, it was originally a village inhabited mainly by indo-Guyanese, sustained by subsistence farming and fishing. Ecotourism is also an emerging industry.

The Railways of Guyana comprised two public railways and several industrial railways, including the first in South America.

Eugene F. Correira International Airport

Eugene F. Correia International Airport is located on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Guyana, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) east of the capital, Georgetown, in the Demerara-Mahaica region.

Ruel Johnson is an award-winning Guyanese author.

LGBT rights in Guyana

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Guyana face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Guyana is the only country in South America, and the only country in the Americas outside the Caribbean, where homosexual acts are still illegal. Under the laws of Guyana, engaging in anal or oral sex can carry a possible punishment of life imprisonment. The law is not enforced, however.

The National Library of Guyana is the legal deposit and copyright library for Guyana. Unlike many national libraries, it is also a public lending library and the headquarters of Guyana's public library service, with branches extending throughout the country. Founded in 1909, the National Library of Guyana is situated on the corner of Church Street and Main Street in central Georgetown. In 2007, the library recorded a collection of 397,893 books and a total of 22,058 members. Its collection includes the papers of A. J. Seymour and Ian McDonald.

Guyana Country in South America

Guyana, officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America. It is the only English speaking country in South America, and is culturally considered part of the Anglophone-Caribbean sphere. In addition it is one of the founding member countries of the Caribbean Community organization (CARICOM). Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, Venezuela to the west, and Suriname to the east. With an area of 215,000 square kilometres (83,000 sq mi), Guyana is the third-smallest sovereign state on mainland South America after Uruguay and Suriname.

Index of Guyana-related articles Wikimedia list article

The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Guyanese people South American ethnic group

Guyanese people are people born in the country of Guyana, which is located on the northern coast of South America and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Brazil, Venezuela and Suriname. Geographically, Guyana is part of the South American mainland, however it is much more culturally similar to the Suriname and nearby island nations of the Caribbean such as Trinidad and Tobago as compared to the rest of South America. In fact, Guyana is considered a Caribbean country even though it is not an island nation located in the Caribbean Sea, as are most Caribbean nations.

Bourda Cemetery is an eighteenth-century cemetery situated on Bourda Street in Georgetown, Guyana. Formerly known as "Bourda's Walk", Bourda cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Georgetown, and the only surviving plantation cemetery in the city. It is considered a national landmark and has been listed as a national monument by the National Trust of Guyana.

Castellani House is a large nineteenth-century building, which is situated on the corner of Vlissengen Road and Homestretch Avenue in Georgetown, Guyana. It was designed and constructed by the Maltese architect, Cesar Castellani, between 1879 and 1882. Originally serving as a residence for colonial government officials, Castellani House has been the home of Guyana's National Art Gallery since 1993.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Guyana Population and Housing Census 2012: Preliminary Report (Report). Bureau of Statistics, Guyana. June 2014. p. 23. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  2. "Wesleyan Mission Premises, George-Town, Demerara". Wesleyan Juvenile Offering. London: Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. VII: 1. January 1850. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  3. "Georgetown Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  4. "Electricity Rates | GPL Inc". GPL Inc. 1 February 2008. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  5. "Impact of Increased Cost of Living in Guyana". Baiganchoka. 17 April 2008. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  6. "Bureau of Statistics – Guyana". Statisticsguyana.gov.gy. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
  7. https://www.thingsguyana.com/umana-yana-is-standing-strong-and-continues-to-be-the-one-of-georgetowns-most-scenic-attraction/
  8. "Guyana 2014 Crime and Safety Report", Overseas Security Advisory Council, US State Department, 15 August 2014.
  9. 1 2 3 "Safety and security - Guyana travel advice".