The capital of Georgetown, with the Essequibo River in the background. Venezuela claims that a huge portion of Guyanese territory is actually its own, including everything west of the Essequibo.

Guyana is a fascinating country: One of the world's most highly forested countries, the only English-speaking country in South America, the world's fastest growing economy, and perched on the precipice of war with its neighbor Venezuela. The country is located on the Northern coast of South America, with a small strip of fertile land on the coast where almost all its population resides. The interior of the country is mainly virgin rainforest, one of the largest virgin tracts in the entire Amazon.

The border between Guyana and Brazil is the Mau River. The southwest of the country is actually a treeless savannah, much different from the dense rainforest just a few kilometers away. 

St George's Cathedral, the tallest wooden cathedral in the world. It's also the spiritual center of Georgetown and a simple of not only the country's colonial heritage and religion, but also perseverance against the elements. 

Plots of land to the west of Georgetown have a peculiar narrow shape, to ensure that each plot has access to irrigation and drainage canals. Most of these plots are only as wide as a house and thousands of feet deep.

Flying out of Kaiteur Falls, said to be the highest-volume single-drop waterfall in the world, reveals the extent to which Guyana is covered in virgin, almost impenetrable Amazon rainforest. 

The continental shelf off the coast of Georgetown has been discovered to contain 11 billion barrels of oil, the largest find in decades. It's estimated that the potential windfall could be as much as a half trillion dollars (!), a tremendous sum for a country of only 800,000 people. Venezuela, Guyana's much bigger and more powerful neighbor, is currently making active plans to invade and annex much of Guyana's coastline, potentially igniting a larger war and drawing the region into turmoil.

Georgetown, the capital, is a gritty place where locals warn tourists not to walk after dark, and weathered wooden houses are quickly being replaced by multi-story hotels, malls, and office buildings. Money is pouring into the city. The pace of growth is astounding: In 2022, the economy was said to have grown by 48%.  
The reason for this development boom is simple: Oil
Several companies, most notably Exxon, in 2015 discovered the world's biggest deposits of oil in decades off the coast of Guyana. This windfall is projected to make the country the world's largest per capita exporter of oil by 2025. 
This has led to fears of a war. Venezuela has published official maps showing the Essequibo region as part of its territory since December 2023, and has begun to send military equipment to the border areas in preparation for what many believe will be an invasion. Various world powers have conducted military exercises in order to show their resolve to defend Guyana (USA) or prevent Venezuela from using its territory to attack (Brazil). 
All of this comes in a region rich with biodiversity, indigenous cultures, and natural resources, many of which are also being exploited by private industry, outside interests, or degraded by climate change. 
One thing is for certain: the next few years, possibly even the next few months, will be absolutely pivotal for the country's future. ​​​​​​​

The Mau River, between Brazil and Guyana, has an island within Oriduik Falls that looks to me like a shark swimming upstream.  

A common cemetery in the fertile land just outside Georgetown, where almost all of the country's population resides. 

The coastal strip of land between the rainforest and the sea is where almost all of Guyana's population lives, and almost all of its cultivation happens. The Dutch colonizers built a series of dikes and canals to irrigate the land, leaving behind rows of orderly cropland from Suriname to Venezuela. 

Georgetown, the main port and capital of Guyana, is on the banks of the Demerara River.

The vast savannah in the country's southwest, only practically accessible by air from Georgetown, is a rolling grassland dotted with indigenous villages. 

Kaiteur Falls, the world's highest-volume, single-drop waterfall in the world, in the middle of the rainforest, accessible only by air. 

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