Some of Guyana's highest mountains are Mount Ayanganna (2,042 metres or 6,699 feet), Monte Caburaí (1,465 metres or 4,806 feet) and Mount Roraima (2,772 metres or 9,094 feet – the highest mountain in Guyana) on the Brazil-Guyana-Venezuela tripoint border, part of the Pakaraima range.
In May 2008, President Bharrat Jagdeo was a signatory to the UNASUR Constitutive Treaty of the Union of South American Nations. The territory controlled by Guyana lies between latitudes 1° and 9°N, and longitudes 56° and 62°W.
The country can be divided into five natural regions; a narrow and fertile marshy plain along the Atlantic coast (low coastal plain) where most of the population lives; a white sand belt more inland (hilly sand and clay region), containing most of Guyana's mineral deposits; the dense rain forests (Forested Highland Region) in the southern part of the country; the desert savannah in the southern west; and the smallest interior lowlands (interior savannah) consisting mostly of mountains that gradually rise to the Brazilian border.
In 1978, Guyana received international notice when 918 members of the American cult, Peoples Temple, died in a mass murder/suicide drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid.
However, most of the suicides were by Americans and not Guyanese.
It was governed as British Guiana, with mostly a plantation-style economy until the 1950s.
It gained independence in 1966, and officially became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1970.The four longest rivers are the Essequibo at 1,010 kilometres (628 mi) long, the Courantyne River at 724 kilometres (450 mi), the Berbice at 595 kilometres (370 mi), and the Demerara at 346 kilometres (215 mi).The Corentyne river forms the border with Suriname.The name "Guyana" is derived from Guiana, the original name for the region that formerly included Guyana (British Guiana), Suriname (Dutch Guiana), French Guiana, and parts of Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil.According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Guyana is derived from an Indigenous Amerindian language and means "land of many waters".CARICOM, of which Guyana is a member, is headquartered in Guyana's capital and largest city, Georgetown.