Monday 30 December 2019

10 Fun Facts About Suriname

Traditional boats seen in Suriname.
Suriname is the smallest country in South America both in terms of area and population.

Suriname, a country in South America has many unique facts associated with it. Here is a list of some of them.

Suriname Is The Smallest South American Country:

With an area of only 163,821 square kilometers and a population of only 541,638 individuals as per the 2012 census, Suriname is the smallest country in South America both in terms of area and population.

Nearly 50% Of Suriname’s Population Lives In Paramaribo:

Paramaribo is the capital of Suriname and nearly half of its population of around 241,000 people live in this city.

Suriname Has Only One Cinema:

The TBL Cinema is the only cinema in Suriname. It is located in Paramaribo.

It Is One Of Two South American Countries With Left-side Driving:

While all other countries in South America have right-hand driving, Suriname and Guyana are the only two countries on the continent with left-hand driving.

Only Nation Outside Europe With Dutch As A Language Of The Majority:

Suriname’s official language is Dutch, a legacy of Dutch colonial rule in the country. More than 60% of the Surinamese speak Dutch as their mother tongue while the rest of the population speaks it as a second language. Suriname is the only country outside Europe where Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population.

Despite The Small Size, Suriname Has Incredible Ethnic Diversity:

East Indians, Maroon, Creole, Javanese, Amerindian, Chinese, White, and many other ethnic communities call Suriname their home. Intermarriage between the various ethnic groups has also resulted in the country having a significant population of mixed ethnic descent.

Large Parts Of Suriname Is Covered By Unspoilt Rainforests:

Suriname has managed to conserve nature very well. Large parts of the country’s land are covered by pristine tropical rainforests hosting a great diversity of flora and fauna. A massive part of this forest area is protected in the form of natural parks, reserves, sanctuaries, etc. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Suriname Is A Land Of Many Festivals:

The great ethnic diversity of Suriname contributes to its rich culture which includes numerous celebrations and festivals all year round. The Surinamese celebrate Holi, Christmas, Javanese Arrival Day, Indian Arrival Day, Day of the Maroons, Diwali, Eid ul-Fitr, Good Friday, and many more secular and religious festivals and ceremonies.

Suriname Is A Symbol Of Religious Tolerance:

Suriname is one of the world’s very few locations where a Jewish synagogue is located next to a mosque. The country is also home to worship places of other religions like Hindu temples and Christian churches. All religious groups in the country co-exist peacefully and religious tolerance is one thing among others that Suriname teaches the world.

The Capital Of Suriname Is A UNESCO World Heritage Site:

The inner city of Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital, was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. The place has many buildings of historical importance and religious significance.

•By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Sunday 29 December 2019

The Culture Of Suriname

A sculpture of an Indian god in Suriname.
Suriname has a highly diverse and dynamic culture.

Located in South America’s northeastern Atlantic coast, Suriname is the continent’s smallest nation. Suriname houses a population of 597,927 individuals. The country has a highly diverse and dynamic culture that reflects influences of Asian, European, and African cultures.

6. Ethnicity, Language, And Religion

The population of Suriname has a multi-ethnic background. Hindustanis (people from northern India) comprise 27.4% of the country’s population. The Maroon people (people of African descent brought to Suriname as slaves), Creole (people of mixed African and European descent), and the Javanese account for 21.7%, 15.7%, and 13.7% of the country’s population, respectively. The native Amerindians and people of other ethnic backgrounds comprise the rest of the population.

Dutch is the official language of Suriname. English, Taki-Taki, Caribbean Hindustani, and Javanese are some of the most spoken languages in the country.

Protestant and Catholic Christians account for 23.6% and 21.6% of the population of Suriname, respectively. Hindus and Muslims represent 22.3% and 13.8% of the country’s population, respectively.

5. Cuisine

The cuisine of Suriname is influenced by African, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, Portuguese, Amerindian, and several other cuisines. Some popular food items in the country are nasi goreng (Indonesian style fried rice served with vegetables or meat), roti (an Indian style flatbread), mie goreng (Indonesian style spiced fried noodles) pom (a native dish made from the roots of the Arrowleaf elephant ear plant), peanut soup, battered fried plantain, etc. Rice, roti, tayer, and cassava are the staple foods of the cuisine. Chicken, salted meat, and stockfish are widely consumed. Some of the most common vegetables are okra, eggplant, and Yardlong beans. The boy (a coconut and cassava cake) and fiadu (a cake made of almonds, succade, raisins, and currants).

4. Literature, Art, And Craft

Suriname has a rich tradition of oral literature. Most of the ethnic groups of the country have their distinct oral literary tradition. Folktales and legends, heroic epics, fairy tales, etc., are all part of such literature. Written literary works emerged in the country at a much later stage. The indigenous population started writing literature only in the late 18th century. Most of the written literary works in the country are in Dutch, Hindi, and Sranan.

Suriname also has a rich handicraft industry. Baskets, wood carvings, and the colorful textiles produced in the country are globally appreciated.

3. Performance Arts

Like other aspects of the Surinamese culture, the country’s music scene is as diverse as its population. The kaseko music, an Indo-Caribbean style of music, is basically fusion music that combines popular and folk music belonging to different cultures. It developed in Suriname in the 1930s. Percussion instruments like snare drums and bass drums (skratji) as well as trumpets, saxophones, and trombones are used to produce this type of music. Songs can be sung in choir or solo. Tabla, sitar, dholak, harmonium, etc., are used to play Indian music. Both filmi (Bollywood style) music and religious music are sung by the ethnic Indian community living in the country.

2. Sports

Basketball, football, and volleyball are the three most popular games played in Suriname. Although the country does not have a national soccer team, several Surinamese players have earned significant positions in European soccer clubs. In 1968, Surinamese athletes participated for the first time in the Olympic Games. The country achieved its first Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly competition during the 1988 Seoul Games. Hunting and fishing are popular recreational sports in Suriname.

1. Life In Surinamese Society

Gender roles and status in the Surinamese society varies depending on the cultures of its various ethnic communities. In some cultures, women act as the emotional and economic center of the household while in others, men dominate the family and have the final say in most matters. Marriage customs also vary widely in the country. In Hindostani families, arranged marriage is more common. Lavish weddings are the norm. In Caribbean families, women-headed families are not uncommon. Many women have children from multiple partners and often practice serial monogamy while many men also have relationships with more than one woman.

The size of the household varies greatly in the country ranging from small, nuclear families to large households with several generations living together under the same roof. Children are brought up according to the cultures of the ethnic communities to which they belong. Education is considered exceedingly important by all population groups living in Suriname. Some groups, especially the Amerindians and the Maroons have rites of passage. Initiation ceremonies are held to welcome an individual into adulthood. For example, the Wayana boys are exposed to stinging wasps and they must withstand the stings without a whimper to exhibit their courage and strength.

The Surinamese are generally calm and relaxed. They are known to be excellent hosts. Most houses in the country lack a bell or knocker. Guests are required to take off their shores when going inside the house. Meals are offered to them. Handshakes and hugs are common forms of greeting. Children are taught to respect elders since an early age.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Friday 27 December 2019

Major Ethnic Groups Of Peru

A woman in traditional clothes in Cuzco, Peru.
Peru has one of the highest proportions of residents comprised by indigenous peoples in the Americas.


Peru , a country in South America is officially known as the Republic of Peru. Ecuador and Colombia border it to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the southeast, Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean in the west. It covers an area of 496,225 square miles with an estimated population of 31.2 million making it the most populous state in South America. Peru is a democratic republic divided into 25 regions recording a high human development index score and poverty level of approximately 25.8%. The main economic activities carried out include mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and fishing. It’s a multiethnic state with most of the population speaking Spanish which is the official language although some still speak native languages such as Quechua. Here is a look at the ethnic communities in detail.

The Major Ethnic Groups Of Peru

Native Americans

The Native Americans are the indigenous people in Peru also known as the Amerindians. They had inhabited the country before the Europeans discovered it in 1500. They form the largest number of general population at 45% which is approximately 13.3million. They constitute two major ethnic groups which are: the Quechuas and the Aymaras mostly found in the extreme southern Andes. Most of the indigenous population live in Andean highland and speak either Quechua or Aymara and have vibrant cultural traditions but these traditions are being dispersed due to urbanization in the area.


Mestizo is a term used in Spain and Spanish America to mean a person of a mixed Amerindian and European descent. During the colonial period, mestizos became the majority group and the term mestizo was part of the cast classification used during the colonial times and form 37% of the general population which is approximately 11.5 million. Most of them are urban dwellers and others show a stronger European inheritance in regions like La Libertad region.

White Europeans

They are also known as white Peruvians and form 15 % of the general population that’s approximately 5 million. Traditionally, they are known to be more dominant in the political, diplomatic, and commercial section in the society. They live mainly on the Peruvian coast in areas such as Lima, and their ethnic background includes Spanish, Italian, German, French, British, Croatian, and Irish. It is also home to about 42,000 Jews whose ancestors originated from several different places such as
Germany. Their immigration to Peru began with the Spanish colonization of Peru in the year 1492.

Other Ethnic Groups Of Peru

These are the ethnic groups which from the least part of the population 3%. These ethnic groups are Asian, Afro-Peruvians, Mullato, Zambo, among others. The Asians in Peru are the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Koreans among others. They have made significant advancements in business and political fields in the past decade. The Afro-Peruvians are the citizens of Peru descended from Africans who were in slavery and were brought to western hemisphere towards the end of the slave trade. They are majorly found in the coastal cities south of Lima. The Mullatos are citizens of Peru from the African and European descent while the Zambos are of African and Amerindian ancestry. They constitute an important part of the population.

Major Ethnic Groups Of Peru

Rank Principle Ancestry Share of Population of Peru

1 Native American 45%
2 Mestizo 37%
3 White European 15%
Asian, Afro-Peruvian, Mulatto, Zambo, and Others 3%

By Kenneth Kimutai too

•culled from

Thursday 26 December 2019

The Culture Of Peru

Dancers dressed in traditional Peruvian clothing
in a parade in Cusco, Peru.
Peruvian is known for its rich culture and ethnic diversity.

7. Peruvian National Identity

The current national identity of Peru has been formed from the union among Spanish colonists, indigenous peoples, and enslaved peoples. The traditions of all of these groups of people have come together to create one shared culture and background among the people of Peru. Within this country, however, isolated geographic regions have allowed some specific customs to remain alive with less influence from outside sources. These regions are divided among the coastal desert, the Andes mountains, and the Amazon rainforest. Each of these factors come into play when talking about this country’s national identity. This article takes a closer look at some of these defining characteristics of the culture of Peru.

6. Peruvian Religion And Festivals

The vast majority of the population of Peru reports Catholicism as their religious identity (81.3%), this is followed by Protestantism (12.9%), other religions (3.3%), and no religious affiliation (2.9%). In order to help spread the Catholic faith, colonists often built large monasteries and cathedrals over important Incan religious sites. Indigenous beliefs have been combined with Catholic teachings over time to create a unique religious atmosphere in this country.

This combination can be seen in the many religious festivals and celebrations that take place here. In Cuzco, for example, the Inti Raymi festival still occurs every year during the winter solstice (on June 24). This event was practiced by the Incas to honor the sun god, Inti. Both Cuzco and Lima have distinct Catholic celebrations in honor of two separate images of Jesus that managed to survive 2 separate large earthquakes. In Lima, the celebration is held in October in honor of the Lord of the Miracles and in Cuzco, it is held on Easter Monday in honor of Lord of the Earthquakes.

5. Cuisine Of Peru

The cuisine of Peru varies depending on the geographic location. Along the coast, one of the most popular dishes is ceviche. This dish is prepared by marinating raw seafood with lime juice and serving it with a garnish of sweet potato and toasted corn. In the rainforest, a typical dish is the tacacho. Tacachos are smashed green plantain that is formed into a ball, filled with meat (usually pork), wrapped in a banana tree leaf, and cooked. In the Andes region, guinea pig (called cuy) is a traditional meal and can be served either fried or baked.

Peru is also home to creole dishes, which tend to be concentrated in the capital city Lima. Peruvian creole has evolved from the influence of Chinese and African dishes. Two of the most popular creole dishes are: lomo saltado, a beef stir fry served with french fries over rice, and anticuchos, marinated beef hearts cooked on skewers.

4. Peruvian Music

The music of Peru is just as diverse as the food and has as much history as the religious traditions. It has developed over the years from an influence of Spanish, African, and Andean musical traditions. The national instrument of Peru is the charango, which is a stringed instrument that belongs to the flute family. It was created in this country in an attempt to imitate the sounds of the vihuela from Spain. Another important instrument here is the cajón, a hollow wooden box with a hole on one side. Performers typically sit on top of the box and strike it with their hands to keep rhythm. This percussion instrument was created by African slaves along the coastal areas and today, is a centerpiece in Afro-Peruvian music. From the Andes region of this country are flutes, panpipes, and other wind instruments.

3. Peruvian Arts And Literature

Peru has a rich history of arts and literature and continues to celebrate and preserve these two pieces of its culture with museums located throughout the country.

Peruvian literatures has its roots in the storytelling traditions of the pre-Inca indigenous peoples. During the Inca era, literature was spread with the help of the quipu, a series of knotted strings used to record information. According to some historians it was also used to share stories. Modern literature began to form during the colonial era and has played an important role in the society through the neo-classical, modern, and contemporary eras. Some of the most well-known authors from Peru include: Jose Carlos Mariátegui, Mario Vargas Llosa, and César Vallejo.

Artwork in Peru has a similar timeline to the literature. Ancient Peruvian peoples left behind important traces of stone sculptures, ceramics, and textiles. In 1919, the Fine Arts School in Lima was founded, having a significant influence over the painting styles of that time. Today, Chulucanas pottery, characterized by its black and white geometric designs, continues to be produced in the northern region of the country and is exported internationally.

2. Sports In Peru

The most popular sport in Peru is soccer, also known as football. This country has both men’s and women’s national soccer teams. The most well known teams here are: Alianza, Sporting Cristal, and Universitario. The biggest achievements of the national footballs teams include 2 Copa America wins in 1939 and 1975. Additionally, Peruvian teams have competed in the FIFA World Cup in 1930, 1970, 1978, and 1982. Some of the most famous players from this country are: Teófilo Cubillas, César Cueto, Nolberto Solano, and Claudio Pizarro.

1. Social Beliefs And Customs In Peru

The social beliefs and customs of Peru are diverse and depend on a number of factors. Because of the history and widespread practice of Catholicism, this religion has a significant influence over many of the social beliefs today. Sundays are primarily reserved for attending church service and having a family get together in the afternoon for lunch.

The culture here is relatively conservative and patriarchal. In the majority of households, men typically work to support the family while women stay home to tend to domestic responsibilities, although many women do participate in the labor force, particularly in Lima.

Other social customs involve how people interact with each other. Upon greeting a new acquaintance or colleague, most individuals hug and kiss on the left cheek. Some people, particularly in a professional setting, will simply shake hands. When arriving for a social function, the norm is that Peruvians show up anywhere from a half hour to an hour late. This is a common practice and locally referred to as operating on Peruvian time.

•By Amber Pariona

•Culled from

The Peruvian People - Cultures around the World

The center of the historical Inca Empire, Peruvian culture today is marked by a rich music, cuisine, and mixing of multiple peoples.


As a multiethnic country located in western South America, Peru is comprised by indigenous ethnicities as well as multiple foreign groups, the latter of which have inhabited the country for the past five centuries. Before Spanish conquistadors colonized the country in the 16 th Century, Peru was exclusively home to the Amerindians, its indigenous people, for several millennia (with some estimates dating back to as far as 6,000 BC). Today, Amerindians constitute about 30 per cent of Peru’s demography. During the Spanish Colonial period, large numbers of Spaniards and Africans entered the country. After Peru became an independent nation in 1821, it saw a progressive increase in immigration of European people, especially from Spain and Italy, and to a lesser extent from France , Germany , the Balkans, and Great Britain. Towards the end of the 19 th Century, significant numbers of Chinese and Japanese also entered the country form across the Pacific Ocean. Spanish (or more specifically, Peruvian Spanish) is spoken as a first language by about 84 per cent of the Peruvian population. Several indigenous languages, however, are still in use today. The most prominent among these is Quechua, which is spoken by about 13 percent of the population today. As a result of the assimilation of various ethnicities within the country, “Peruvian” as a term is used referred to refer to a nationality rather than an ethnicity, similar to the term "American" in the United States.


Peru’s architecture has a long history, dating back to the period of Ancient Peru of about 14,000 years ago, and spanning the Inca Empire (AD 1130-1530), the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire and colonization (1532-1821), and the era of a home-ruled republican Peru (1821-Present). One way of examining the long and strained history between Amerindians and Conquistadors is through the architecture of the colonial period. During this period, the Spanish Conquistadors, in their want of nurturing their relationship with the Amerindians, built churches, as Christianity was viewed as the most important form of prospective communication between the two communities. As a result, several churches with exquisite façades and interiors were erected. Notable among them is Cusco Cathedral (whose construction took about 65 years, beginning in 1559 and completing in 1654) and Santa Clara Church ( Iglesia y Convento de Santa Clara ). The Baroque influences of the 16 th century can be seen in the construction of the Monastery of San Francisco ( Convento de San Francisco), and the façade of the National University of Saint Anthony the Abbot in Cuzco ( Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco ). More recently, one notable example of the 20 th Century Peruvian architecture is exhibited at the Plaza San Martín (completed in 1921), a public space located in the Peruvian capital city of Lima.


The Peruvian cuisine is noted for its long and multicultural history. It is seen as an example of "fusion cuisine". due to it being an amalgamation of the area's traditional cuisine with the fare brought by the immigrants from Europe, West Africa, and Asia. Corn, potatoes and legumes are some of the most important traditional staples of Peruvian cuisine. The Spanish conquistadors brought rice, wheat and European meats, namely beef, pork and chicken. Traditional foods, such as Quinoa ("Amerindian rice") and chili peppers saw resurgence in the culinary interests of the locals. Ceviche, a seafood dish made from fresh raw fish immersed in citrus juices, and then spiced with chili peppers, is a famous dish popular all over Latin America. The dish has its origin in Peru, and is in fact a national dish of the country.

Cultural Significance

Perhaps the greatest and most notable landmark of Peruvian culture is that of Machu Picchu. This extant 15 th Century Inca site is located 7,970 feet above sea level. Machu Picchu (Spanish for “Old Mountain”) is listed among one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site long remained unknown to the Spanish colonists, as it was abandoned by the Incas and rediscovered several centuries later. It is Peru’s most visited tourist attraction site, and as a result generates considerable revenue for the Peruvian Government. In the world of sport, the Peruvian National Football (soccer) Team has long been a force within the world scene, and the country's musicians have long been noted for their proficiency, especially the stringed instrument and woodwind players.


Even though the Amerindian population decreased during the Spanish inquisition (from 5-6 million to 600,000) due to infectious diseases and outright killings, today they comprise over 30 per cent of the Peruvian population. The relationship between the Hispanics and Amerindians remains stable. Even though Peru has seen economic growth, totaling 30 percent over recent years, poverty in the country remains a stubborn problem. Many poor children have reportedly dropped out of educational programs (either temporarily or permanently) in order to support their families. The last few decades has not seen any significant immigration to the country, even though Peru has historically been a country of immigrants. In the recent decades, more than 2 million Peruvians have instead emigrated, chiefly into the United States, Spain, and Argentina, and largely due to economic incentives.

•By Ambar Sulekh

•Culled from

Monday 23 December 2019

Music Of El Salvador

Music of El Salvador. © Google
The music of El Salvador has a mixture of Mayan, African, Pipil, Lenca and Spanish influences. This music includes religious songs (mostly Roman Catholic) used to celebrate Christmas and other holidays, especially feast days of the saints. Satirical and rural lyrical themes are common. Popular styles in modern El Salvador include salsa, cumbia, hip hop and reggaeton.

Folk music

Musical repertoire consists of Xuc, danza, pasillo, marcha and canciones. Marimba is a representative folk music instrument.

Popular music

Popular music in El Salvador uses marimba tehpe'ch, flutes, drums, scrapers and gourds, as well more recently imported guitars and other instruments. Colombian mainly and other Caribbean, South American and Central American music has infiltrated the country, especially salsa and cumbia. For example, the very famous Favorited La Sonora Dinamita is a Colombian salsa group with one Salvadoran vocalist (Susana Velasquez). As one of the first Cumbia groups to reach international success, it is credited with helping to popularize the genre throughout Latin America, and the world.

Political chaos tore the country apart in the early 20th century, and music was often suppressed, especially those with strong native influences. In the 1940s, for example, it was decreed that a dance called "Xuc" was to be the "national dance" which was created and led by Paquito Palaviccini's and his "Orquesta Internacional Polio." That was one of the many orchestras he led during and in the mid 40's, his other hit was known throughout the country. "Carnaval En San Miguel" was commonly known to the whole country as the first Salvadoran band that went on to receive numerous awards in the years to come. Paquito Palaviccini, being known throughout Central and South America, made tours to Cuba, Buenos Aires, where Paquito Studied, and other Latin American countries. The inspiration came to Paquito to develop the "Xuc" and "El Baile del Torito" in a tour they had in Cuba. The 1960s saw an influx of American and British pop and rock, inspiring like-minded Salvadoran bands, while the following two decades were dominated by a wave of popular genres from across Latin America, mostly folk-based singer-songwriter genres like Chile and Nueva Canción. This new type of Salvadoran rock music was called "Guanarock" (portmanteau of Guanaco, an animal closely related to the Andean Llama and the Alpaca, a misgiven name by the Spanish for a person from El Salvador), which inspired bands such as Ayutush.

Dominican Merengue and Bachata also became very popular. In the last ten years, hip hop and reggaeton has influenced the majority of the Salvadoran youth, which has formed groups like Pescozada and Mecate. Also former Reggaeton producers like Wilfredo Rivas (Dj Emsy) and Jose Castaneda (Mambo King) who had worked with vary of famous Reggaeton and Hip hop artists such as: Dj Flex, Cheka, The Black Eyed Peas, Nicky Jam, El Torito and many others.

Salvadoran cumbia is related to but very distinct from Colombian cumbia, which is better known outside of El Salvador. Chanchona ensembles, led by a pair or a single violin, are popular, especially among the immigrant community in the Washington D.C. area.

Alternative music

El Salvador has prominent heavy metal, reggae, ska, dubstep, punk and electronic dance scenes due to its prolific local bands and venues; and the recent increase in local concerts by international bands that include San Salvador as a frequent destination in their international tours.

Art music

The main composer of the 19th century was José Escolástico Andrino (born in Guatemala). Wenceslao García was the first native composer. Important militar bands composers and arrangers include Jesús Alas, Alejandro Muñoz and Domingo Santos. María de Baratta was the main ethnomusiclogist and composer in the 20th century.

•culled from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saturday 21 December 2019

The Major Religions Practiced in Paraguay

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of
the Assumption in Asunción, Paraguay.
Christianity is the most popular religion in Paraguay.

Located in the heart of South America, Paraguay is a landlocked country with an area of 406,752 square km and a population of 6,897,384 individuals. Christianity is the dominant religion in the country. According to the CIA World Factbook, 89.6% and 6.2% of Paraguay’s population are Roman Catholic and Evangelical Protestant Christians, respectively. Additionally, 1.1% of the population identify with other religious sects, and indigenous religions are practiced by 0.6%. Other religious faiths, like Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, as well as non-believers account for the remainder of Paraguay's population.

Catholicism in Paraguay

Roman Catholicism is the most popular religion in Paraguay and has shaped the nation's current culture. First introduced by European explorers and missionaries in the 16th century, there are now approximately 5.7 million Catholics living in Paraguay. The country's first diocese was established in 1547 and began to convert indigenous Indians to Catholicism in large numbers. Today, most of the nation's government officials are Catholic, and major Catholic festivals are celebrated as public holidays.

Protestantism in Paraguay

Protestantism is the second largest Christian denomination in Paraguay. Various Protestant groups that have a presence in the country include Lutherans, Mennonites, and Evangelicals.

Minority Religions in Paraguay

A small population of Muslims live in Paraguay, primarily in the country's Alto Parana department. Most Muslims trace their ancestral origins to Syria and Lebanon, although some originated from South Asia. There are also about 2,000 practicing Buddhists in the country, while some former Buddhists have converted to Christianity. Most of Paraguay's Buddhists have ancestral origins in Japan and were part of a Japanese agricultural settlement built in Paraguay. Jews in Paraguay mostly arrived during or after the First World War from Greece, Turkey, and Palestine. Today, approximately 1,000 Jews live in Paraguay, primarily in Asunción. There is also small Bahá’í population in Paraguay.

Religious Freedom and Tolerance in Paraguay
Paraguay has no official state religion. The constitution provides for freedom of religion, enabling citizens to freely select and practice a religion of their choice. Religious organizations that operate in the country have their independence guaranteed by the state.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Friday 20 December 2019

What Is The Capital Of Paraguay?

Palacio de López in Asunción is is a palace that
serves as a workplace for the President of Paraguay.
Asunción, located on the left bank of the Paraguay River, is the capital and the largest city of Paraguay.

Paraguay is a landlocked country found in South America. The capital of Paraguay is Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción, more commonly known as Asunción. Argentina borders the country to the south, Brazil to the northeast and east, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay is often fondly called the "Heart of South America” due to its central location in the continent. The country is physically divided into two parts by the Paraguay River that runs centrally through the country.

What Type Of Government Does Paraguay Have?

Paraguay is a presidential representative democratic republic. According to the Constitution of Paraguay, the country is governed by the three branches of power: executive, legislative, and judicial. The President is the head of the executive branch of Paraguay’s government. The two National Congress chambers wield the legislative power of the government, The judiciary is independent of the former two branches and exercises its powers via the nine-member Supreme Court of Justice, Tribunals, and Courts of Civil Law.

What Is The Capital Of Paraguay And Where Is It Located?

The capital city of Paraguay has quite a long name Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción. In short known as Asunción, it is also the largest city in the country. The city is located on the left bank of the Paraguay River. More precisely, Asunción lies near the confluence of the Paraguay River with the River Pilcomayo. The city is separated from Argentina and the Occidental Region of Paraguay by the Bay of Asunción and the Paraguay River in northwest and south. The Central Department of Paraguay surrounds the city in other directions.

History Of The Capital Of Paraguay

Asunción has a long history and is regarded as one of South America’s oldest cities. The capital of Paraguay is also known as the "Mother of Cities” since it is the longest continually inhabited city in the entire Rio de la Plata basin. The Spanish conqueror, Spanish conqueror Juan de Ayolas was reported to be the first European to visit the site that is now Asunción. Later, two other Spanish explorers were sent to find Ayolas who had become untraceable. One among the two, Juan de Salazar y Espinosa, arrived at the site where the capital city of Paraguay now stands. Finding the natives to be friendly, he decided to set up a fort in the city. Asunción then served as the base for the European expedition and military teams that would conquer the surrounding lands.

After the natives destroyed Buenos Aires in 1542, the Spaniards fled to Asunción, leading to the establishment of the city as the center of a large Spanish colonial province. After the independence of Paraguay in 1811, Asunción served as the capital of Paraguay and underwent a series of progressive developmental changes. The Paraguayan War that lasted for five years, however, ushered in massive death and destruction of the city and its growth became stagnant for decades. Brazilian troops occupied the city till 1876. Gradually, the city made a recovery, and a flow of immigrants from the Ottoman Empire and Europe took place.

Important Government Buildings In The Capital Of Paraguay

Palacio de López (Spanish for Palace of the López) is a palace in Asunción, Paraguay, that serves as a workplace for the President of Paraguay, and is also the seat of the government of Paraguay. The Supreme Court of Justice of Paraguay meets at the Palace of Justice in Asuncion.

By Oishimaya Sent Nag

•culled from

Thursday 19 December 2019

Biggest Cities In Paraguay

Asunción is Paraguay’s largest by size as well as
the capital and the most populous city.
With more than 2 million metro residents, Asuncion is both the capital and most populous city of Paraguay.

Paraguay is a landlocked country situated in Central South America, southwest of Brazil and northeast of Argentina. The country borders Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil and it is one of the poorest in the region. Most of the population in the country live in the southern part of the country. The country has several cities including Asuncion which is also the capital. The cities play a significant role in the economy of Paraguay. Most of the people are found within these cities especially in the capital where they access economic and educational opportunities. The cities have been growing slowly since independence due to political instability but are currently picking up since the re-establishment of democracy.

Biggest Cities In Paraguay


Asunción is Paraguay’s largest as well as the capital and the most populous city with a total population of 525,244 people and a metropolitan population of about 2.2million. The city was founded in 1537 and later became an important town for the Spanish and played a significant role in the 19th-century Paraguayan war that saw the slaying of a majority of her population. The economy of the city grew slowly after the war and was only revived by European and Ottoman immigration into the city. The city is currently a major economic hotspot for Paraguay with businesses and trading centers and serves other educational, religious, tourism, sports, and transport services.

Ciudad Del Este

The city is the second largest and second most populous in Paraguay with a total of about 293,817 people mainly of Lebanese and Taiwanese origin with other members from Korea and Iran. The city was founded in 1957. Ciudad Del Este is a city with rich and diverse culture of its residents and attracts a huge number of tourists. Ciudad is a transport and communication center with transport infrastructure and media houses, a diplomatic center with various consulates from some foreign countries and an economic center. It is one of the leading economic center in Paraguay.


Luque was founded in the period between 1635 and 1750 and served as a temporary national capital during the Paraguayan War in 1868. Its population of 263,604 makes Luque the third most populous city in Paraguay. The city is an important transport center with a national airport, a sporting center with various stadiums and arenas as well as headquarters for organizations such as CONMEBOL.

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo is the Paraguay’s fourth most populous city with a population of 252,561. The city is located in the central department. The city was founded in 1775 and initially existed as a Jesuit locality until 1767 when they were expelled from the city. The city is infamous for criminal activities such as muggings and gang activities. The city has several facilities including the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Lorenzo and the National University of Asuncion.

Problems Facing Paraguay’s Cities

The cities of Paraguay are plagued with some economic, environmental, and social problems including lack of housing due to overpopulation in the urban areas. Pollution due to inadequate methods of waste disposal also puts a risk on the health of the people in the towns as it threatens the sanitation of these towns and increases the chances of a disease outbreak. Other major cities in Paraguay also include Capiatá, Lambaré, Fernando de la Mora, Encarnación, Ñemby, and Limpio.

Rank Biggest Cities in Paraguay Population

1 Asunción 525,294 ( 2.2 million metro residents)
2 Ciudad del Este 293,817
3 Luque 263,604
4 San Lorenzo 252,561
5 Capiatá 224,152
6 Lambaré 170,851
7 Fernando de la Mora 162,652
8 Encarnación 127,527
9 Ñemby 126,817
10 Limpio 87,301

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

The Culture Of Paraguay

Rural farmer transports sugar cane to Villarrica,
Paraguay has a rich culture that is a blend of Spanish and Amerindian cultures.

The South American country of Paraguay, one of the two landlocked nations in the continent, is home to a population of 7,025,763 individuals. Paraguay has a rich and vibrant culture that is a blend of native Amerindian and Spanish cultures.

Ethnicity, Language, and Religion in Paraguay

A vast majority (95%) of Paraguay’s population comprises of mestizos (mixed Amerindian and Spanish peoples). Spanish and Guarani are the
official languages of the country. 89.6% of the population practice Roman Catholicism.

The Cuisine of Paraguay

Vegetables, meat, maize, fish, cheese, corn, milk, cassava, etc., are common food products used in Paraguayan cuisine. Traditional barbecue of the country is called Asado and is a popular social event. Cassava, egg, and cheese are used to make chipa (a type of cake). Lampreado is a delicious fried cake made with cassava flour. Mbejú is the staple food of the diet. It is basically a starch cake that is served with vegetables, meat, or fish. Pira caldo (a fish soup), milanesa (a breaded meat cutlet), soyo (a thick meat soup flavored with spices), vori vori (a thick, yellow soup with little balls of cheese, corn flour and cornmeal), etc., are some common dishes of the Paraguayan cuisine. Terere is the country’s national drink. Beer, wine, soft drinks, and fruit juices are other beverages consumed in the country.

Clothing in Paraguay

In the urban areas of Paraguay, modern, Western-style clothing is primarily worn. However, traditional garments are often adorned in rural areas. Rebozo, a traditional shawl, is worn by rural women over a simple skirt and blouse or dress. Bomachas which are loose trousers is worn by men with a shirt or jacket. A neck scarf and a poncho are also worn by men.

Literature and the Arts in Paraguay

For a long period of time, written literature in Paraguay was restricted due to widespread poverty and low literacy levels. Also, the period of Stroessner's dictatorship suppressed the activities of free-thinking writers and poets. However, Paraguay does have an active literary tradition with most of the works being written in Spanish. Oral literature in Paraguay, however, has a long history. Folktales and legends have been passed down through generations by word of mouth.

The folk art scene of the country is very rich. Some of the most famous folk art forms from the country include embroidery, clay work, ceramic work, silver filigree jewelry production, spider web-like lace production, etc.

Performance Arts in Paraguay

Guarania and Paraguayan polka are the folkloric traditional music of the country. The latter was introduced in the country in 1858 and is of Czech origin. The modern rhythms of pop, rock, protest song, jazz, reggae, electronic music, blues music, and others have a growing scene in the country.

Sports in Paraguay

Football and basketball are the most popular sports in Paraguay. A variety of other sports like futsal, swimming, tennis, volleyball, chess, golf, rowing, etc., are also played in the nation.

William Paats, a Dutch sports instructor, first introduced football in Paraguay. Today, the game is played throughout the nation. The national football team of the country has participated in eight World Cups and also earned a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games. The national basketball team of Paraguay has also performed well and come second-place in the 1955 and 1960 South American Basketball Championship. The country has also performed well in the fields of rugby, tennis, and volleyball.

Life in the Paraguayan Society

Traditionally, gender-based roles defined life in the Paraguayan society. Men were regarded as the breadwinners while women concentrated on maintaining the household and engaged in childcare. In rural areas, Paraguayan women have always participated in agricultural work, either in the family-owned farms or as laborers in other farms. Today, however, the gender-based differences are gradually disappearing. A significant section of the Paraguayan women participates in the rural and urban workforce.
Many are employed in skilled labor jobs. Women are also represented in government and politics. However, gender-based disparities in earning still exist. The gap is slowly narrowing.

Marriages in Paraguay are by the choice of the couple. Consensual unions without marriage are also common. Divorces in legal marriages are rare but the unions are often unstable, especially among the lower classes. Women are expected to be loyal to their partners while men with extramarital affairs are not judged too harshly. Domestic units in the country are usually small in size and extended family households are rare. About 20% of the households are headed by a female and are usually the poorest ones.

Although nuclear families are the norm, the extended kin plays an important role in the life of an individual in Paraguay. The kin may be called on to provide support during times of need. Godparents are often chosen by the parents and thus fictive kin ties are established.
Infants are adored by Paraguayans. Both men and women showed infants with attention and affection. In the poorer communities, children are expected to start assisting their parents in work since an early age. Primary education is free and compulsory but the literacy levels are low among the country’s poor.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Religious Beliefs In Guyana

St. George's Cathedral in Georgetown, Guyana.
Christianity is the most popular religion in Guyana.

Guyana, located on the South American mainland’s northern coast, occupies an area of 215,000 square km and hosts a population of 773,303 people.

Christianity is the dominant religion in Guyana. Christians account for 57.4% of the population of the country. Hindus also have a significant presence in the country and comprise 28.4% of the nation’s total population. Muslims and believers of other religions like indigenous religions, Buddhists, Rastafarians, and Baha’is accounted for 7.2% and 1.9% of the population of the country, respectively. 2.3% claimed non-affiliation to any religious faith.

The Most Popular Religion In Guyana

Most of Guyana’s Christians are Protestants while a small population of Roman Catholics also live in the country. Other Christian denominations are also active in the nation. Like other countries in the region, the growth of Christianity in the country occurred during the colonial era. The work of Christian missionaries in Guyana helped spread the religion among the indigenous inhabitants of the country. The African slaves brought to work on the plantations owned by the Europeans also converted to Christianity in great numbers. The practice of the faith was regarded as a prerequisite to social acceptance in the region at that time. However, the Africans also maintained their traditional rituals and customs that resulted in the development of a syncretic Afro-Guyanese culture in Guyana.

Hinduism, The Second Largest Religion In Guyana

Although Hinduism has the second highest number of adherents in Guyana, the number of followers of this religion have been falling in recent decades. Most of Guyana’s Hindus trace their origins to India. The Hindus of Guyana celebrate many festivals throughout the year.

Islam In Guyana

Muslims in Guyana also trace their origins to South Asia from where they were brought by the European colonists to work as indentured laborers in the plantations. Different Islamic groups, the Shias, Sunnis, Sufis, and Ahmadiyyas constitute the Muslim population of Guyana. Muslims and Hindus in Guyana share a large part of their culture. They live in perfect harmony in the country and often participate in each other’s festivals.

Traditional Religions Practiced In Guyana

Traditional religions are followed by both Amerindians and African-origin immigrants to Guyana. Although a majority of them have converted to Christianity and their indigenous practices have waned over the years, some indigenous beliefs and rituals are still prevalent in the country. Shamans play a significant role in traditional Guyanese society where shamans are believed to be the connection between the spirits world and humans. Obeah, a folk religion of African origin is also practiced in the country. Obeah incorporates the beliefs and practices of the different immigrant ethnic groups in the country.

Freedom Of Religion In Guyana

Guyana’s Constitution provides for the freedom of religion in the country. The government of the country also generally respects this right of the people. Discrimination on the basis of religion is not known in Guyana. Although the work of missionaries is supported, forced conversions are not tolerated in the country. Although Christian holidays were celebrated as national holidays in the country since decades, other religious holidays received formal recognition only from the 1970’s.

•By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•Culled from

What Is The Ethnic Composition Of Guyana?

What Is The Ethnic Composition Of
Guyana has a racially and ethnically heterogeneous population.

Guyana is a country found in South America, although it is frequently regarded as part of the Caribbean largely because of its political, historical, and cultural connections to the English speaking countries of the Caribbean.

 Guyana shares its land

borders with Venezuela, Brazil, and it covers an area of approximately 83,000 square miles. The country is the third smallest in mainland South America after Uruguay and Suriname. Guyana is a name derived from the word Guiana which was used to refer to the large region which consisted of Suriname (Dutch Guiana), Guyana (British Guiana), French Guiana, and Some parts of Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia. The following are the largest ethnic groups in Guyana.


The Wai-Wai ethnic group belongs to the larger Carib-speaking people found mainly in Guyana and northern part of Brazil. They are part of the indigenous Amerindians who occupied most of South America. The Wai-Wai ethnic group is the smallest of all the nine tribes in Guyana, and they are found in the Southern part of the country known as Konashen near the headwaters of river Essequibo. It is estimated that there are about 1,000 Wai-Wai people in Guyana and about 2,000 in Brazil.


The Macushi ethnic community is among the indigenous people of Guyana, and they are found in the border between Northern Brazil and Southern Guyana. In Brazil, they are found in the state of Roraima, and similarly, they are also found in the eastern part. Macushi ethnic group speak the Macushi language, which is also part of the Carib language family. The Macushi people in Brazil also speak the Portuguese language, and those in Venezuela speak the Spanish language, while those in Guyana speak the English language.


The Patanoma people are the Amerindian indigenous community who occupy the region around the Pakaraima Mountains in Guyana. The Patamona people are also known as Kapon, and they are estimated to be about 5,000 people of Patamona ethnicity living in Guyana. From the archaeological evidence, Patamona people lived along the Yawong Valley and the upper parts of Siparuni River. The Kaieteur Falls was one of the most important cultural sites for the community which practice animist religion.


The Lokono ethnic group are also known as Arawak, and they are native along the coastal region of the larger part of South America. They are found in Guyana, Venezuela, Trinidad, Suriname, French Guiana, and Barbados. Currently, there are about 10,000 people of Lokono ethnic group and they speak the Arawak language. When the Spanish colonized the Caribbean region, the Lokono people among other mainland communities resisted the Spanish for a long time, and the Spanish were unable to subdue them throughout the 16th century. However, in the 17th century when the increased encouragement from other European powers, the Lokono people allied with the Spanish against their neighboring Kalina (Caribs), who had collaborated with the Dutch and the English. In the early 19th century, change in the economic situation such as the tragic ending of the plantation economy adversely affected the Lokono people, and their population declined drastically.


The Kalina ethnic group is also known as the Caribs, and they are the indigenous people native to coastal areas in South America, and they are found in Guyana and other countries such as Venezuela, French Guiana, Suriname, and Brazil. The Kalina ethnic group speaks the Cariba language known as Carib. Kalina people could be related to the island Caribs of the Caribbean, although the language is unrelated.


Wapishana is one of the indigenous ethnic groups of Guyana, and they are also found in Brazil. According to the estimates of 1981, there were approximately 5,000 people of Wapishana ethnic group, and they occupied the southern part of Guyana which borders Brazil. In Guyana, they are found mainly in the Rupununi region, particularly along Tacutu and Kwitaro rivers. The Wapishana language is categorized as one of the Arawak language families. Traditionally, the Wapishana practiced polygyny although the practice has almost disappeared, possibly because of the pressure exerted by the missionaries.


The Pemon people are one of the indigenous communities in Guyana, and they are also found in the neighboring countries of Brazil and Venezuela. The Community is also known by other names such as Aricuna, Arecuna, Taurepang, Kamarakoto, Jaricuna, or Pemong. The Pemon ethnic group speaks Pemon Language, which is part of the Cariban language family. Other Cariban languages include Macushi, Mapoyo, Tualipang, Kamarakoto, Ingarikó, and Arekuna.


Akawaio ethnic group is part of the indigenous people of Guyana, and they are also found in the neighboring countries of Brazil and Venezuela. Akawaio is closely related to Ingarikó and Kapon ethnic groups. It is estimated that the Akawaio are about 5,000 to 6,000 people and they speak the Akawaio language in all three countries. Traditionally, the Akawaios were polytheistic, and currently, they are farmers planting crops such as sugarcane, cotton, bananas, yams, and calabash.


The Warao ethnic group is among the indigenous ethnic community found in different parts of South America. They are found in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Venezuela. The word Warao translates to “the boat people,” which indicates their lifelong association with water. They are estimated to be about 20,000 people of Warao ethnic group in Guyana, Venezuela, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, and the majority of them are found in Venezuela. The Warao people speak the Warao language.

Official Languages in Guyana

English is the only official language in Guyana, which is used in government offices, for educational purposes, in media, and other services like trade. However, the majority of people in Guyana speak Guyanese Creole as their native language. The Creole is based on English with some influence from East Indian and African languages. A minority also speaks the Cariban language, while the Indic language is used for religious and cultural purposes only. Guyana is the only nation in South America with English as its official language. Spanish and Portuguese are also taught in schools, and they are gaining popularity as second favorite foreign languages in Guyana.

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from

Tuesday 17 December 2019

The Biggest Cities In Guyana

Downtown Georgetown, Guyana.
Georgetown is the most populous city in Guyana and also the seat of government, a major economic hub, and tourist destination in the country.

Where Is Guyana?

Guyana is a sovereign nation located in South America’s northern mainland. Due to the country’s close connection to the culture, politics, and history of the Caribbean countries, Guyana is also included in the Caribbean Region. The country is bordered by Brazil to the southwest and south, Venezuela to the west, and Suriname to the east. The Atlantic Ocean borders the country to the north. Today, Guyana is inhabited by several different ethnic groups including Africans, Indian, Amerindians, and others. Here, English is the official language. However, a majority of the people speak English-based creole languages.

Guyana has one major city, Georgetown, which is the capital of the country. Several other towns and villages are present here. Linden and New Amsterdam are the second and third biggest cities in the country. Here, we discuss some of the biggest cities in Guyana and their major characteristics.

The Three Biggest Cities In Guyana


Georgetown, the capital and biggest city of Guyana, is located on the Atlantic coast of the country on the Demerara River Estuary’s east bank. Savannah lands, cane fields, and marshy swamps surround the city. Georgetown is often nicknamed as the 'Garden City of the Caribbean.’ The parliament and legislative buildings of Guyana are located in the city. Georgetown is home to a seaport and the Cheddi Jagan International Airport/Timehri, the country’s major international airport is also only an hour’s distance from the city. The headquarters of the CARICOM is also housed within the city. The city is also a major economic center in the country and accounts for a significant portion of the country’s GDP.

Several points of tourist interest are located in Georgetown. These include the National Library, St. George's Anglican Cathedral, Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology, Georgetown Lighthouse, Roman Catholic Brickdam Cathedral, Splashmins Fun Park, National Museum of Guyana, and others.


Linden is Guyana’s second biggest urban center and the Upper Demerara-Berbice region’s capital. In 1970, Linden was upgraded to the status of a town. The town is based on the banks of the Demerara River. Bauxite mining is the most important economic activity carried out in Linden. The bauxite mining activity in the region is nearly a century old activity. A tourist attraction near Linden is the Gluck Island, an uninhabited island located off Rockstone in the Essequibo River. It is one of the rare places where one can witness the blossoming of the Victoria Regia Water Lily. Big caimans and giant otters can also be spotted on this island. Over 200 species of birds including colorful macaws and parrots also visit the Gluck Island.

New Amsterdam

New Amsterdam is the third biggest town in Guyana and is located in the East Berbice-Corentyne Region of the country. The town is based on the eastern bank of the Berbice River near the mouth of the river as it enters the Atlantic Ocean. The town serves as an important port in the country. Many old colonial buildings are present here. A National Heritage Site, the Mission Chapel is also located in New Amsterdam. Several educational institutions, hotels, and a government run hospital are hosted by the city.

Which Are The Biggest Cities In Guyana?

Rank Name Population

1 Georgetown , Demerara-Mahaica 235,017
2 Linden , Upper Demerara-Berbice 44,690
3 New Amsterdam , East Berbice-Corentyne 35,039
4 Anna Regina, Pomeroon-Supenaam 12,448
5 Bartica , Cuyuni-Mazaruni 11,157
6 Skeldon , East Berbice-Corentyne 5,859
7 Rosignol , Mahaica-Berbice 5,782
8 Mahaica Village, Demerara-Mahaica 4,867
9 Mahdia , Potaro-Siparuni 4,200
10 Parika , Essequibo Islands-West Demerara 4,081

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

The Culture Of Guyana

Guyana Pepperpot is a signature dish of the
Guyana is a South American country with a rich and diverse culture that is an amalgamation of the cultures of its diverse ethnic groups.

Guyana is a South American country with a rich and diverse culture that is an amalgamation of the cultures of its diverse ethnic groups.

6. Ethnicity, Language, and Religion in Guyana

Guyana is home to 740,685 individuals. East Indians are the largest ethnic community in the country accounting for 39.8% of the population. Those of African descent make up 29.3% of the population. Mixed, Amerindians, Portuguese, Chinese, and others constitute the rest of Guyana’s population. English is the official language of the country and acts as the lingua franca of the people. Guyanese, Creole, Caribbean Hindustani, Chinese, Amerindian languages, etc., are spoken by the country’s different ethnic groups. There is also great religious diversity in Guyana. Protestant Christians account for 34.8% of the population. Hindus and Muslims comprise 24.8% and 6.8% of the population, respectively. Roman Catholicism and other Christian denominations also have a significant presence in Guyana.

5. Guyanese Cuisine

Guyanese cuisine reflects the ethnic diversity of the population. It is influenced by East Indian, African, Portuguese, Amerindian, Creole, Chinese, and British cuisines. Thus, a wide variety of dishes are consumed in Guyana. Dal Bhat, curry, and roti (East Indian influence) is one of the country’s most popular dishes. The curry can have seafood, chicken, goat, lamb, or vegetables. Guyana Pepperpot (an Amerindian stew made with cassareep, meat, and seasonings) is a signature dish of the country. Homemade bread, pastries, tarts, patties, and cheese rolls (British influence) are produced in many villages. Guyanese-style chowmein (Chinese influence) is cooked in many homes. Fresh food and vegetables are consumed in plenty. Ginger beer, peanut punch, Lime Wash, pine drink, mauby, etc., are some popular beverages.

4. Literature and the Arts in Guyana

Guyana has a rich tradition of folklore that is a mix of African, Indian, European, and Amerindian beliefs. Today, many of these folktales and legends have been penned down by Guyanese authors. Edgar Mittelholzer was the first major novelist from the nation. He worked in England and is most well-known for his novel Corentyne Thunder that was published in 1941. Wilson Harris is another author from the country whose works reflect the influences of Amerindian myths and the natural beauty of the country.

Guyanese visual arts take many forms with the dominant themes being the ethnic diversity of the population and the natural splendor of the nation. Folk art from Guyana is also famous. Some of the country’s leading modern and contemporary artists are Frank Bowling, Stanley Greaves, Roshini Kempadoo, and others. The Guyanese also excel in a variety of handicrafts like pottery, basketry, woodcraft, etc.

3. Performance Arts in Guyana

Guyana has a rich heritage of music, dance, and drama. There is also great diversity in the performing arts scene of the country. Each ethnic group has its own set of music and dance. Calypso is the most popular type of music in Guyana. Other well-liked music styles include chutney, soca, Bollywood film songs, etc. Foreign cultures have also influenced the Guyanese music and dance. Salsa, Reggaeton, Bachata, Merengue have been introduced in Guyana from neighboring countries.

2. Sports in Guyana

Football and cricket are the most popular sports in Guayana. Other games with a significant presence in the country include netball, tennis, basketball, boxing, squash, beach cricket, etc. Many professional cricket players of Guyana are members of the West Indies cricket team. Watching cricket matches is a popular form of entertainment for the Guyanese. Several games of the 2007 Cricket World Cup were held in Guyana. The Providence Stadium in the country hosted these matches.

1. Life in the Guyanese Society

Both men and women in Guyana enjoy equal rights and freedoms as per the Constitution and law. However, in practice, such equality is yet to be realized in the true sense. The status of Guyanese women varies widely depending on the ethnic group to which they belong. Fewer women than men are represented in the government. The country had one female president in the past. However, there is still a paucity of women in the cabinet. In recent years, more and more women have received education and have entered the country’s workforce. They work as farmers, market vendors, civil servants, teacher, clerks, etc. In the poorer sections of society, there are many cases of abandonment of family by men. Male-centered drinking culture is also prevalent in the lower classes. Such situations have often left women with the sole responsibility for their children. Household size in Guyana varies from single mother led households to nuclear families and extended families.

By Oishimaya Sen Nag

•culled from

Monday 16 December 2019


The map of Falkland Islands. © Google
A place of little concern: 1592-1982. The uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the Falkland Islands is a direct result of their relative unimportance. The European seafaring nations have frequently seized from each other rich islands in the Caribbean. But in such cases the affront has been such that it is soon followed by a treaty, either restoring the territory to its previous owners or ceding it to the newcomers.

The bleak Falklands, far south in the Atlantic, have changed hands with similar frequency. But in the past there has never been sufficient sense of urgency to settle the issue.

The British are the first to record the existence of the islands. John Davis sights them in 1592. John Strong is the first to land, in 1690. He names the islands after the treasurer of the navy, Viscount Falkland, and then sails on.

The islands remain uninhabited until the French found a colony at Port Louis on East Falkland in 1764 (they call the islands les Îles Malouines because the expedition arrives from St Malo). In the following year a British expedition under John Byron (grandfather of Lord Byron the poet) establishes a fort at Port Egmont on the tiny Saunders island north of West Falkland. Byron claims the islands for Britain (unaware that the French are on East Falkland, though this would not have deterred him). Soon the British acquire new neighbours. The French cede their settlement on East Falkland to Spain.

Spain, adapting the French name to become las Islas Malvinas, is the first nation to take settlement on the islands seriously. Spanish forces make repeated efforts to expel the British from Saunders Island. They finally succeed in 1774.

For the next sixty years the islands are exclusively in Spanish hands, but during this period the allegiance of the local Spaniards changes. When the Argentinians assert their independence from Spain, in 1816, they also lay claim to the Spanish territory of the Malvinas. Argentinians take possession of the islands in 1820.

In 1832 Britain reasserts its claim to the Falklands (hardly as yet exercised outside Saunders Island). A year later a British force arrives to evict the Argentinians. And at last British settlement begins.

The Falklands Islands Company is founded in 1851, primarily to exploit the wild cattle descended from herds imported by the French. Subsequently sheep farming becomes the basis of the islands' economy. By 1892, when the Falklands are formally granted the status of a colony, a population of some 2000 British settlers is economically self-supporting.

After the British invasion of 1833 the Argentinian government consistently denies any British right to the islands. The issue lingers on as an unresolved dispute in international law, while successive generations of British familes in the Falklands increasingly feel the strong claim of possession.

In 1964 the dispute is brought before the United Nations. Argentina argues that the Malvinas must revert to them, not only for legal reasons but to end a relic of colonialism in their immediate neighbourhood. Britain replies that such a change would instead create a colonial situation, with the islanders transferred against their will to another power.

In 1965 the General Assembly invites Argentina and Britain to enter negotiations. But little progress is made by the time, in 1982, when the dispute escalates into open conflict.

The withdrawal of a Royal Navy support vessel from regular Falklands duty suggests to the Argentinians that British interest in the islands is perhaps declining. Meanwhile the Argentinian leader, General Galtieri , needs some impressive national achievement to bolster his unpopular regime. The recovery of the Malvinas in time for 1983 (the 150th anniversary of the British invasion) would fit the bill perfectly. The general decides to take a chance.

The Falklands War: 1982

On 2 April 1982 a force of 5000 Argentinian troops lands in the Falklands, claiming sovereign rights over them as the Islas Malvinas. The defending British garrison of eighty-one marines is easily overwhelmed. General Galtieri pays a triumphal visit to Port Stanley, the islands' capital.

In Britain the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, immediately mobilizes a fleet to recover the islands. An exclusion zone of 200 miles is declared around the region, with the warning that any ship or aircraft found within this zone will be assumed to be hostile. By the end of April the first units of the British task force reach the scene.

On May 3 the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano is torpedoed and sinks with heavy casualties (368 dead). This becomes the most controversial event of the war, because of allegations that the ship was outside the exclusion zone and was heading away from it. The following day the British destroyer HMS Sheffield is hit by an Exocet missile, with the loss of twenty men.

The first British landing is on East Falkland, where a bridgehead is established by May 21. Within the following week Port Darwin and the nearby Goose Green airstrip are captured. On June 14 it is announced that British troops are in Port Stanley and the Argentinians have surrendered.

The casualties in the war number 655

Argentinian dead and 255 British (the majority of the British deaths occur on the landing ships Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram , bombed while unloading supplies near the Fitzroy settlement).

In Britain the victory does wonders for the political fortunes of Margaret Thatcher (somewhat in the doldrums before these events). In Argentina the war has considerably more dramatic results. The military regime, already unpopular, is totally discredited by the embarrassing defeat - a self-inflicted one in the sense that the junta initiated the action. Galtieri resigns three days after the surrender, but this is only the beginning of the Falklands repercussions in Argentina.

Fortress Falklands: From 1982

In the Falklands the result of the war is an enormously increased semi-permanent British garrison, protecting the islands against the possibility of a renewed Argentinian invasion. By the end of the 1990s the population of the colony consists of some 1700 troops guarding 2200 residents. The islands acquire the name Fortress Falklands, as the costs of the brief war continue to escalate.

One of the first acts of Carlos Menem, on becoming president of Argentina in 1989, is to open peace negotiations with Britain. They make little immediate progress, but hostilities are formally concluded by 1995.

A treaty in 1995 also tackles another important issue which has been a subtext in the conflict. Geological surveys suggest that there may be extensive oil reserves in the Falklands region. This, as much as national pride, is a reason for claiming possession.

Although no progress is made on the matter of sovereignty, a compromise on oil is reached in 1995. Britain and Argentina agree to share, in proportions varying in different regions, any wealth deriving from the anticipated oil fields. The British share is to be used to defray the cost of the war and the garrison. Licences are issued in 1996. Exploratory drilling begins in 1998.

•culled from

Saturday 14 December 2019

Religious Beliefs In Ecuador

Domes of the Catedral de la Inmaculada
Concepción, Cuenca, Ecuador
For centuries, Ecuador has been overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, although Protestantism and unbelief have grown significantly in recent years.

Ecuador is a democratic republic situated in the northwestern part of South America bordering Peru, Colombia, and the Pacific Ocean. The official language spoken in Ecuador is Spanish together with 13 other languages that are recognized throughout the country. Ecuador is a hub of ethnical diversity with a population of more than 16 million people with most of them being Mestizo followed by other smaller groups including Amerindian, African, and European descendants. Religion is a very important aspect to the people of Ecuador. For centuries, Ecuador has been overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, although Protestantism and unbelief have grown in recent past with the larger percentage being Roman Catholic after having been colonized by the Spanish. Below are the different religious beliefs in Ecuador.

Religious Beliefs In Ecuador

Roman Catholic Christianity

Roman Catholicism was first introduced to Ecuador during the colonial era by the Spanish, and ever since Catholicism continues to be the most important religion for both the Ecuadorian society and government. Catholicism was made the official religion of Ecuador after 1869 making Catholics the only persons to be eligible for citizenship. However, in 1899 a liberal government led by President Alfaro Delgado established a new constitution that encouraged respect for all religions and a guaranteed freedom of choice for religious practices. Religious freedom made a huge impact in regards to public education in that it became free of the religious influence. Roman Catholic Christianity accounts for about 79% of the population in Ecuador.

Protestant Christianity

Protestant Christianity in Ecuador can be traced back to English and German descents. Most of the protestant Christians in Latin America are known as Evangelicals with a good number of them being Pentecostals together with other active denominations. The Evangelical movement gained great momentum during the 18th and the 19th century with the first protestant missionary entering Ecuador during the late 18th century. In the beginning, it was quite hard for any other faith aside from Roman Catholic to thrive however, protestant Christianity has been growing at the expense of Catholicism. Presently, Protestantism accounts for 11% of the population in Ecuador.

Atheism Or Agnosticism

Atheism is the absence of belief that a greater or divine power exists whereas Agnosticism is the general view supernatural claims or the existence of God is unknown. Agnosticism emerged from the ancient Greece as a formal philosophical position whose views were derived using a skeptical approach by renowned philosophers such as Socrates. One of the few people to identify as atheist lived during the 18th century. Atheistical concepts derive their arguments from the lack of evidence that a higher power exists. Both agnostic and atheist in Ecuador fail to openly declare their belief for fear of discrimination, social stigma, and even worse persecution. Before religious freedom was established in Ecuador both Agnosticism and Atheism were highly condemned. However, now an individual is allowed the freedom of religious choice including confessing as agnostic or atheist, although it is not easy especially in Ecuador. The two belief systems account for 7% of the total population in Ecuador.

Jehovah's Witness Christianity

Jehovah's Witness are a Christian denomination whose beliefs are different from the mainstream Christian views. The Jehovah's Witness faith was founded by Charles Taze Russel in the late 18th century having emerged from the Bible Student Movement. In order for Bible student movement to distinguish itself from other Bible student groups it adopted the name Jehovah's Witness in the year 1931. Jehovah's Witness use a door to door approach of preaching and the distribution of their literary works such as The Watchtower. Approximately 1% of the Ecuadorian population accounts for the Jehovah's Witness.

Other Religious Beliefs In Ecuador

Other religious affiliations in Ecuador include Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Latter-day Saints, Baha’i and Apostolic Faith. All of these religious affiliations consist of small groups who have been slowly integrated into the Ecuadorian society. The 'Other' group accounts for 2% of the population in the country.

Religious Beliefs In Ecuador

Rank Belief System Share of Population in Ecuador

1 Roman Catholic Christianity 79%
2 Protestant Christianity 11%
3 Atheism or Agnosticism 7%
4 Jehovah's Witness Christianity 1%
Other Beliefs 2%

By Joyce Chepkemoi

•culled from

Ethnic Groups Of Ecuador

Ecuadorian dancers perform in a carnival in
Riobamba, Ecuador.
Ecuador has a Mestizo majority, along with significant minorities of people with indigenous, African, and European ancestries.

The Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic country in the northwestern part of South America. The country has a population of more than 16 million people and a majority of Ecuadorians can trace their ancestry to three major geographical origins of human migration who inhabited South America. The three largest groups settled in Ecuador about 15,000 years ago and they include the indigenous pre-Hispanic groups, Europeans mainly the Spaniards who arrived five centuries after and colonized most of South America and the black Africans mainly from the sub-Saharan part which the Spaniards imported as slave labors during their colonial era. The result of mixing the two or three of the groups gave rise to new ethnic groups in Ecuador. Ecuador has a Mestizo majority, with significant minorities of people with indigenous, African, and European ancestries.

Ethnic Groups Of Ecuador


The Mestizos are multiracial people of mixed European and Amerindian bloodline. During the Spanish colonial era in Ecuador, they invented a complicated system of distinguishing between racial mixtures for purposes of racial profiling used for social control and a determinant of one's position in society. During the colonial era the White Spanish conquerors were the minority but with time sired offspring with the native people of Ecuador. With time the Amerindian population declined due to war and European diseases while the mestizo population predominantly emerged. At present, the mestizos are by far the largest ethnic group in Ecuador accounting for 72% of the total population.


The Montubio are an aboriginal mestizo group that originates from the coastal part of Ecuador. Initially, the Montubio were not recognized by the Ecuadorian government until 2001 following some protests that consisted of prolonged hunger strikes. The Montubios are best known for activities such as rodeos and ranching and tools such as the machete. The Montubio account for 7% of the Ecuadorian population.


African Ecuadorians are descendants of the African slaves that were imported into Ecuador by the Spanish colonialists. The African Ecuadorians are mainly located in the northwestern coastal region of Ecuador. The African Ecuadorian's most known cultural influence is the Marimba music. The African Ecuadorians account for 7% of the total population.

Native South American

The native South Americans are the first or original group of people to occupy what is present day Ecuador. The native South Americans are said to have migrated from Asia while other theories suggest that they migrated from Oceania through the Pacific Ocean and from Europe through the Atlantic. The indigenous people of Ecuador were hunters and gatherers and practiced agriculture. The native South American population in Ecuador drastically declined during the Spanish colonial era following some wars and epidemic diseases such as cholera, measles and smallpox. The native South Americans account for 7% of Ecuador's population.

White Ecuadorian

The White Ecuadorians originated from Europe in the 17th century they are mostly of Spanish ancestry from the colonial era and locally born Spaniards also known as criollo. During the Spanish colonial period, the White Ecuadorians sired children with the indigenous people of Ecuador to give rise to a new generation of an ethnic group that has continued to dominate the population of Ecuador. Currently, the population of White Ecuadorians accounts for 6% of the population.

Ecuadorian Ethnicity at a Glance

The descendants of Ecuador's population mostly originate from the Spanish immigrants and the native South American people. Most of Ecuadorians are of the Hispanic mestizo culture which is a mixture of Amerindian and Spanish cultures despite their ethnic diversity. The Ecuadorian indigenous ethnic groups keep decreasing in numbers as multiracial ethnic groups increase.

Ethnic Groups Of Ecuador

Rank Ethnic Group Share of Population in Ecuador

1 Mestizo 72%
2 Montubio 7%
3 African Ecuadorian 7%
4 Native South American 7%
5 White Ecuadorian 6%
Other Ethnicities 1%

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe

•culled from
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