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Guyana is a country on the northern coast of South America, just north of the Equator and a part of the western part of the wider region of Guiana. The country is bordered to the east by Suriname, to the south and west by Brazil, to the west by Venezuela and to the north by the Atlantic Ocean. It is the third smallest country in South America and approximately the size of Great Britain or Idaho.
The official name is the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Guyana is an Amerindian word meaning Land of Many Waters. The country is mostly characterized by vast unspoiled rain forests dissected by numerous rivers, creeks and beautiful waterfalls, notably Kaieteur Falls on the Potaro River, at 741ft high, is considered one of the highest single drop waterfalls in the world. Guyana's tepuis are famous for being the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel The Lost World. The country enjoys a friendly multicultural society, high floral and faunal biodiversity, prize-winning rum, wooden architecture, and Demerara sugar.
Though physically part of South America, culturally, Guyana is more Caribbean than Latin American—demonstrated by the fact that English is the main language — and it is often considered part of the West Indies. Other languages include Creolese Creole English, Waiwai, Arawak and Macushi.
Jonestown, a town in Guyana established by Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones, was located about six to eight miles from Port Kaituma. At Jones' directions, the inhabitants committed mass suicide in 1978. The mass suicides that were to make Jonestown notorious were rehearsed during so called white nights. In an affidavit, defector Deborah Layton wrote that during one of these white nights, people were told that they would die, and were forced to drink unsweetened Flavor Aid that they thought contained poison. The few who were hesitant to drink were engaged in a debate and quickly complied. Only after everyone drank the concoction were they informed that there was no poison, and that it was all just a test of loyalty and faith in Jones.
On November 18, 1978, two metal buckets of grape Flavor Aid laced with Valium and cyanide were brought into the assembly hall and the mixture was dispensed in small paper cups. Babies and children were the first ones to ingest the mixture as it was squirted into their throats with a syringe. The elderly followed, and then the adults. Many blindly drank it even after watching their children die. The rest had the mixture poured down their throats after resisting drinking.
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