Area Handbook Series: Guyana and Belize: Country Studies
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC FEDERAL RESEARCH DIV
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Guyana and Belize belie their geographic location. Although both are located on the mainland of the Americas, they more closely resemble the English- speaking islands of the Caribbean than they do their Latin American neighbors. Christopher Columbus passed near the coasts of both countries, but later Spanish explorers and settlers ignored the areas because they lacked the mineral riches that brought the Spanish to the New World. The wealth of both areas would prove to be not gold but agriculture. By the end of the eighteenth century, the indigenous populations of both regions has been greatly reduced or driven to remote areas, and the coastal lands held growing populations of British or Dutch plantation owners. Plantation work was labor intensive, and initially African slaves, then other ethnic groups, were imported to work the land.
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