Guyana (pronounced or ), officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, is a sovereign state on the northern mainland of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and southwest, Suriname to the east and Venezuela to the west. With 215,000 square kilometres (83,000 sq mi), Guyana is the third-smallest country on mainland South America after Uruguay and Suriname.
The region known as "Guyana" comprised the large shield landmass north of the Amazon River and east of the Orinoco River known as the "Land of many waters". Originally inhabited by several indigenous groups, Guyana was settled by the Dutch before coming under British control in the late 18th century. It was governed as the plantation economy of British Guiana until independence in 1966, and officially became a republic within the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1970. The legacy of British rule is reflected in the country's diverse population, which includes Indian, African, Amerindian, and multiracial groups.