Interesting Facts about Guyana

This is the first entry in my series of interesting facts about Guyana. While some of these may be common knowledge, I hope that there’s at least one new fact everyone can learn.

1. The World’s Rarest Stamp

Did you know the world’s rarest stamp is from Guyana? The 1856 “British Guiana 1c Magenta” is recognized as the rarest stamp amongst collectors, with only 1 known to be in existence. In addition, it also broke the record as the most expensive stamp ever sold, when it was auctioned in 2014 for approximately $9.5 million US dollars. It was sold again in 2021 for approximately $8.3 million US dollars to the Stanley Gibbons Group, who currently maintains possession of it. In conclusion, this is easily one of the most interesting facts about Guyana that is not commonly known.

Interesting Facts about Guyana - British Guiana 1c Magenta
British Guiana 1c Magenta – Source

2. Longest Floating Bridges

Guyana is home to 2 of the longest floating bridges in the world. The Demerara Harbour bridge, at 6074 feet long, is the 4th longest floating bridge in the world. The bridge was opened to traffic in 1978 and was only expected to last 10 years, but is still up and running today. The Berbice Bridge, at 5153 feet long, is the 6th longest floating bridge in the world and was opened to traffic in 2008.

Demerara Harbour Bridge
Demerara Harbour Bridge – Source

3. The First President

The first President of Guyana was Chinese-Guyanese citizen Arthur Chung. He served for a period of 10 years, from March 1970 to October 1980. President Chung was the first ethnic Chinese individual that was the head of state of a country outside the Asian continent. During this period in Guyana, the role of the President was mostly ceremonial, and the executive power belonged to the Prime Minister. While Arthur Chung was President, Prime Minister Forbes Burnham had the executive power. Nonetheless, it’s definitely one of the most interesting facts about Guyana, a country where less than 1% of the population today is ethnically Chinese.

President Arthur Chung
President Arthur Chung – Source

4. Largest Single Drop Waterfall

Guyana’s Kaieteur Falls is the largest single drop waterfall in the world. With a total height of 822 feet, it’s almost 5 times taller than Niagara Falls. Although in a remote region, the falls is one of Guyana’s main and most recognized tourist attractions.

Interesting Facts about Guyana - Kaieteur Falls
Kaieteur Falls – Source

5. Left Hand Traffic

Guyana (along with Suriname), are the only countries in South America that drive on the left side of the road. This creates an interesting situation at border crossings with a country with right hand traffic. For example, the Guyana-Brazil border crossing contains a bridge named the Takutu River Bridge. When exiting or entering Guyana with this bridge, traffic directed accordingly by the use of a crossover road. That means traffic is directed to the left-hand side when entering Guyana and the right-hand side when exiting Guyana to enter Brazil.

Takutu River Bridge Crossover
Takutu River Bridge Crossover – Source

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