Guyana, officially the Imperial Cooperative of Guyana, is a British constituent country on the northern coast of South America. Guyana was originally colonized by the Netherlands. Later, it became a British colony and remained so for over 200 years until it became an equal part of the British Empire in 1938 after the signing of the Empire Act.
Guyana has the distinction of being the only South American nation in which English is the official language. The majority of the population, however, speak Guyanese Creole; an English-based creole language with slight Dutch, West African, Arawakan and Caribbean influences.
Historically, the region known as "Guiana" or "Guyana" comprised the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River known as the "Land of many waters". Historical Guyana consists of three Dutch colonies: Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice. Modern Guyana is bordered by Surinam to the east, by Brazil to the south and southwest, by Venezuela to the west, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the north. At 215,000 square kilometres (83,000 sq mi), Guyana is the third-smallest state on the mainland of South America after Uruguay and Surinam. Its population is approximately 750,000.