Gabon is a small, heavily forested country that lies on the west coast of Africa. It straddles the equator. Gabon is extremely rich in natural resources. It is noted for its high-quality lumber. It also has some of the world's richest iron and manganese deposits.
Most of Gabon's people are farmers who live in small villages that lie along the coast or along the rivers. One of the inland towns, Lambarene, became known throughout the world as the home of Albert Schweitzer. This much-honoured physician, missionary, and musician built his hospital and leper colony near Lambarene.
Gabon was a French colony from the early 1900's until it became an independent republic in 1960. Its name in French, the official language, is Republique Gabonaise (Gabonese Republic).
103,347 sq. mi. (267,667 sq. km).
Coastline - 500 mi. (800 km).
Estimated 1996 population - 1,115,000; density, 11 persons per sq. mi. (4 persons per sq. km); distribution, 50 percent rural, 50 percent urban. 1993 census - 1,011,710. Estimated 2001 population - 1,297,000.
Basic unit franc.
Agriculture - bananas, cacao, cassava, coffee, yams.
Forestry mahogany, okoume.
Mining - gold, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium.
"La Concorde" ("Concord").
Three horizontal stripes, green, yellow, and blue.
Gambia is one of the smallest independent countries in Africa. A narrow strip of land in western Africa, Gambia extends inland from the Atlantic Ocean for about 180 miles (290 kilometres). It lies along the banks of the Gambia River. Gambia is only 15 to 30 miles (24 to 48 kilometres) wide.
It is a flat land. Mangrove and scrub forests line the areas along the coast and the Gambia River. Elsewhere, sandy soil covers the land. Except for its short coastline, Gambia is entirely surrounded by Senegal. It is officially called the Republic of The Gambia or The Gambia. Banjul, a busy port with about 44,000 people, is the only large town.
Gambia is a poor country. It has relatively little fertile soil and no valuable mineral deposits. Tropical crops grow well near the mouth of the river. However, most farmers in Gambia earn a living by raising peanuts. Peanuts account for most of the country's income.
James Island, in the Gambia River, was once a slave trading centre from which slaves were shipped to the West Indies and America. All or part of what is now Gambia was controlled by the English from the 1660's to 1965, when Gambia became an independent nation.
4,361 sq. mi. (11,295 sq. km).
Estimated 1996 population - 1,106,000; density, 254 persons per sq. mi. (98 per sq. km); distribution, 74 percent rural, 26 percent urban. 1993 census - 1,025,867. Estimated 2001 population - 1,243,000.
Basic unit - dalasi.
Agriculture - bananas, cassava, corn, hides and skins, limes, livestock (cattle, goats, sheep), mangoes, millet, oranges, palm kernels, papayas, peanuts, rice, vegetables.
"Na Gambia Banko Kamma" ("For Gambia Our Homeland").
The flag has three horizontal bands (red, blue, and green) divided by two narrow white bands.
Georgia is a nation in the Caucasus Mountains that became independent in 1991 after nearly 200 years of Russian and Soviet rule. Georgia lies mostly in Asia, but part of northern Georgia is located in Europe. Tbilisi is the largest city.
26,911 sq. mi. (69,700 sq. km).
north-south, 175 mi. (280 km);
east-west, 350 mi. (565 km).
Highest - Mount Shkhara, 17,163 ft. (5,201 m) above sea level.
Lowest - sea level along the coast.
Estimated 1996 population - 5,478,000; density, 204 persons per sq. mi. (79 per sq. km); distribution, 56 percent urban, 44 percent rural. 1989 census - 5,443,359. Estimated 2001 population - 5,506,000.
Basic unit - lari.
Agriculture - citrus fruit, corn, grapes, silk, tea, tobacco, tung oil, wheat.
Manufacturing and processing - food products.
Mining - barite, coal, copper, manganese.
The flag has a red field. A cantor in the upper left corner is divided into two horizontal stripes of black and white.
Germany is a large country in central Europe. From 1949 to 1990, it was divided into the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). On Oct. 3, 1990, East and West Germany were unified into a single nation, also called the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin is Germany's largest city.
For hundreds of years, Germans lived in many separate states, one of the most powerful of which was the kingdom of Prussia. During the late 1800's, Otto von Bismarck, the prime minister of Prussia, united most of these states and cities under Prussian leadership. After Bismarck, German leaders tried to expand their influence in Europe and overseas. These policies helped trigger World War I in 1914. When the war ended in 1918, Germany had been defeated, and a period of political and economic crises followed.
In 1933, Adolf Hitler - leader of the Nazi Party, an extremely militaristic and nationalistic political movement - established his dictatorship and began to rebuild Germany's military power. In 1939, Hitler started World War II. Germany was defeated in 1945 and was divided into zones that, in 1949, became West Germany and East Germany. Berlin was also divided. West Germany became a parliamentary democracy with strong ties to Western Europe and the United States. East Germany became a Communist dictatorship closely associated with the Soviet Union.
After World War II, the West Germans and East Germans rebuilt their shattered industries and made them more productive than ever. West Germany became one of the leading industrial nations. Although East Germany's economic development was not as rapid, the country ranked as one of the most economically advanced of the nations that adopted Communism. Yet dissatisfaction led millions of East Germans to flee to West Germany between 1946 and 1961, the year that East Germany built the Berlin Wall to cut off the major escape route.
In 1989, reform movements swept through the Communist nations of Europe. In East Germany, political protests and massive emigration set in motion the chain of events that ended in the unification of East and West Germany. In November 1989 - in response to the protests - the East German government allowed its citizens to travel freely for the first time. The end of travel restrictions included the opening of the Berlin Wall. Also for the first time, non-Communist political parties were permitted to organise and form their own policies in late 1989. In March 1990, East Germany held free parliamentary elections, and non-Communists gained control of the government.
With the end of Communist control in East Germany, many Germans, both East and West, began considering unification. In July 1990, East Germany and West Germany united their economies into a single system. In August, both nations signed a treaty that would finalise unification. The treaty took effect on October 3. Germany held its first national elections after unification in December 1990.
Germans are famous for being hard-working and disciplined, but they are also known for their love of music, dancing, good food, and fellowship. Germans also enjoy vacations in their world-famous scenic areas. The Bavarian Alps, for example, are a popular winter sports region. The beautiful Rhine River winds through valleys with grand castles overlooking the river.
Germans have made many important contributions to culture. Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven composed some of the world's greatest music. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Thomas Mann wrote masterpieces of literature. German scientists have made breakthroughs in chemistry, medicine, and physics.
Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany).
Third stanza of "Deutschland-Lied" ("Song of Germany").
Largest Cities (1990 official estimate)
Frankfurt am Main (644,865);
Germany lies in central Europe. It borders France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, and it has a short coastline on the North and Baltic seas. The northern part of the country is mostly flat; the terrain is hilly in central and southern Germany. The Alps run along the border with Austria; the rugged Black Forest lies in the southwest; the Bohemian Forest is along the Czech border.
Major rivers include Rhine in the west, Danube in the south, Elbe and Weser in the north, and Oder in the east.
137,796 sq. mi. (356,890 sq. km).
north-south, 540 mi. (869 km);
east-west, 390 mi. (628 km).
Coastline - 574 mi. (924 km).
Highest - 9,721 ft. (2,963 m) at Zugspitze, in the Alps.
Lowest - sea level along the coast.
Mild summers, cool winters. Typical summer daytime highs are in low 70's degrees F (20's degrees C). In winter, typical daytime high is a few degrees above freezing. The Rhine Valley is generally the warmest part of the country; the coastal areas are usually milder than the inland areas. Moderate rainfall in all seasons.
Head of State
Head of Government
Parliament of two houses - the Bundestag (662 members) and the Bundesrat (up to 68 members). The Bundestag is more powerful than the Bundesrat.
Federal chancellor (elected by Bundestag). Chancellor selects Cabinet ministers.
Highest court is the Federal Constitutional Court.
1998 estimate - 81,664,000. 2001 estimate - 81,333,000. Population Density: 593 persons per sq. mi. (229 per sq. km).Distribution: 86 percent urban, 14 percent rural.
Major Ethnic/National Groups
95 percent German, 5 percent other Europeans.
43 percent Protestant (chiefly Lutheran); 40 percent Roman Catholic; 2 percent Muslim.
Agriculture - milk, hogs, wheat, potatoes, barley, sugar beets, beef cattle.
Manufacturing - processed foods and beverages, motor vehicles, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, machinery, electrical equipment, steel.
Mining - coal.
Major exports - machinery, motor vehicles, electrical equipment, chemicals.
Major imports - petroleum and petroleum products, food products, electrical machinery, clothing.
Major trading partners - France, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium.
571 miles from London
GMT +1 hour
International aircraft prefix
International dialling code
Vehicle nationality plates
3 October - German Unity Day
Unter den Linden 32-34
Telephone (00 49) (30) 20184-0
3 equal horizontal bands of black, red and gold
Ghana is a tropical country in western Africa. Ghana lies on the Gulf of Guinea, where Africa bulges westward into the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the people of Ghana are Africans. Cacao seeds, which are used to make chocolate, are the country's most important crop and its leading export. Ghana's forests yield valuable tropical hardwoods. Ghana has important deposits of bauxite, diamond, gold, and manganese.
Portuguese explorers landed in what is now Ghana in 1471. They found so much gold there that they called it the Gold Coast. Later, European merchants came to compete for profits in the gold and slave trades. In the late 1800's, the Gold Coast became a British colony.
The Gold Coast gained its independence in 1957. It took the name Ghana, the name of an ancient African kingdom. Ghana was the first member of the Commonwealth of Nations to be governed by Africans. Its official name is the Republic of Ghana. Accra is the largest city.
92,098 sq. mi. (238,533 sq. km).
north-south, 445 mi. (716 km);
east-west, 310 mi. (499 km).
Coastline - 335 mi. (539 km).
Estimated 1996 population - 17,453,000; density, 195 persons per sq. mi. (75 per sq. km); distribution, 64 percent rural, 36 percent urban. 1984 census - 12,296,081. Estimated 2001 population - 20,739,000.
Basic unit - new cedi.
Agriculture - cacao, cassava, coconuts, palm oil and kernels, yams.
Mining - bauxite, diamonds, gold, manganese.
Forestry - mahogany.
The flag has horizontal red, yellow, and green stripes with a black star symbolizing African freedom in the centre.
Gibraltar is a British dependency on Spain's southern coast. It lies on a narrow peninsula near the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea. The Rock of Gibraltar, a huge limestone mass, occupies most of Gibraltar's 2.3 square miles (6 square kilometres). Because of its location, Gibraltar became important militarily.
A governor, appointed by the British Crown, heads Gibraltar's government. The Gibraltar Council, made up of five leading officials and four members of the House of Assembly, assists the governor.
The 15 members of the House of Assembly are elected by the people to four-year terms. Eight members make up a Council of Ministers that advises the House. The Supreme Court is Gibraltar's highest court.
Gibraltar has a population of about 30,000. Most of the people are descended from Italian, Maltese, Portuguese, and Spanish settlers. Others are descended from British military personnel who were formerly stationed there. Most of the people are Roman Catholics.
Almost all the people live in apartments in the town of Gibraltar. Gibraltar imports all its food because it has no farmland. It has a mild climate.
Children from 5 to 15 years old receive free education. Classes are taught in English, but many families speak Spanish at home. Gibraltar has no colleges.
Most of Gibraltar's workers are employed by the Gibraltar government, a dockyard, or in jobs connected with the tourist industry. Many Moroccans now live and work in Gibraltar.
Moors from North Africa settled in Gibraltar in A.D. 711 and held it for almost 600 years. The Spaniards conquered Gibraltar in 1309 but lost it to the Moors again in 1333. The Spaniards reconquered the peninsula in 1462 and held it until 1704, when a British naval force captured it. The Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713, gave Gibraltar to Britain. According to the Treaty of Utrecht, Britain must offer Gibraltar to Spain if Britain decides to give up the dependency. In 1964, Britain considered granting independence to Gibraltar. Spain objected and began a campaign to force Britain to return it to Spain. In 1965, the United Nations supported Spain's claim to Gibraltar. But Britain decided in 1967 to keep the dependency after the people of Gibraltar voted for continued British control.
In the past, Gibraltar had great military value to the British because of its location. In the early 1700's, Britain established a military base there. The British used Gibraltar to keep enemy ships from entering or leaving the Mediterranean Sea. In 1942, during World War II, the Allies launched an attack from Gibraltar against German and Italian forces in North Africa. After the war, Gibraltar's military importance declined gradually. In 1991, Britain withdrew its military forces from Gibraltar. However, Gibraltar remained a British dependency.
Greece is a small country where Western civilization started about 2,500 years ago. In those days, Greece controlled much of the land bordering the Mediterranean and Black seas. Athens is largest city of Greece. In Athens and other parts of Greece, magnificent ruins stand as monuments to the nation's glorious past.
About one-fourth of the workers in Greece earn their living by farming, and agriculture is an important economic activity. But mountains cover most of Greece, and the land is rocky with little fertile soil. A Greek legend tells that God sifted the earth through a strainer while making the world. He made one country after another with the good soil that sifted through, and threw away the stones left in the strainer. According to the legend, these stones became Greece.
No part of Greece is more than 85 miles (137 kilometres) from the sea. The Greeks have always been seafaring people. About a fifth of Greece consists of islands. The mainland makes up the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, extending into the Mediterranean Sea. Many ancient Greek legends, including those about Ulysses and Jason, centre on sea voyages. Today, Greece has one of the largest merchant fleets in the world.
The Greeks came under the control of invaders for more than 2,000 years. They lost their independence to the Macedonians in 338 B.C. The Greeks did not regain their independence until A.D. 1829, from the Ottoman Empire. Since then, Greece has had many serious political problems, largely because of weak or undemocratic governments.
In ancient times, the Greeks established the traditions of justice and individual freedom that are basic to democracy. Their arts, philosophy, and science became foundations of Western thought and culture.
Elliniki dimokratia (Hellenic Republic).
50,962 sq. mi. (131,990 sq. km).
Greatest mainland distances
north-south, 365 mi. (587 km);
east-west, 345 mi. (555 km).
Coastline (including islands) - 9,333 mi. (15,020 km).
Highest - Mount Olympus, 9,570 ft. (2,917 m) above sea level.
Lowest - sea level along the coasts.
Estimated 1996 population - 10,386,000; density, 204 persons per sq. mi. (79 per sq. km); distribution, 65 percent urban, 35 percent rural. 1991 census - 10,264,156. Estimated 2001 population - 10,451,000.
Agriculture - corn, cotton, grapes and raisins, olives, poultry, sheep, sugar beets, tobacco, wheat.
Manufacturing - cement, chemicals, cigarettes, clothing, fabricated metal products, petrochemicals, processed foods, textiles.
Mining - bauxite, chromite, iron ore, lignite, magnesite.
"Ethnikos Hymnos" ("National Anthem").
1484 miles from London
GMT +2 hours
International aircraft prefix
International dialling code
Greek, English and French
Vehicle nationality plates
25 March - Independence Day
1 Ploutarchou Street
106 75 Athens
Telephone (00 30) (1) 7272600
Opening hours 0800 to 1500 (local time)
9 horizontal stripes of blue and white alternating, with a blue square in the upper corner with a white cross
Greenland is the largest island in the world. It is a province of Denmark, though it is part of North America and lies about 1,300 miles (2,090 kilometres) away in the North Atlantic Ocean. At one point, the island is only 10 miles (16 kilometres) from Canada. Its official name is Kalaallit Nunaat in the Greenlandic language and Gronland in Danish. Both names mean Greenland.
Greenland is about 50 times as large as Denmark, but Denmark has about 90 times as many people. Most of Greenland's people are descended from both Inuit (sometimes called Eskimos) and Danes. The population is small because the island has an extremely cold climate and few natural resources. Most of Greenland lies north of the Arctic Circle, and thick ice covers about 80 percent of it. Cape Morris Jesup, the northernmost land in the world, is only about 440 miles (708 kilometres) from the North Pole. The southwestern coast, where almost all Greenlanders live, is the warmest region. But even there, July temperatures average only 50 °F (10 °C). Godthab is in this region.
Viking explorers named the island Greenland to attract settlers. But during Greenland's short summer, only coastal areas are green. Fishing is the major industry. The location of Greenland gives the island special importance. Scientists there can forecast storms on the North Atlantic. United States military bases there form a major part of the North American defence system.
Danish and Greenlandic.
840,004 sq. mi. (2,175,600 sq. km).
north-south, 1,660 mi. (2,670 km);
east-west, 750 mi. (1,210 km).
Coastline - 8,650 mi. (13,920 km).
Highest - Mount Gunnbjorn, 12,139 ft. (3,700 m).
Lowest - sea level along the coast.
Estimated 1996 population - 58,000; density, 7 persons per 100 sq. mi. (3 per 100 sq. km); distribution, 77 percent urban, 23 percent rural. 1976 census - 49,630. Estimated 2001 population - 60,000.
Agriculture - sheep, vegetables.
Fishing - cod, halibut, shrimp.
Hunting - seals.
Grenada is an island nation in the West Indies. It lies in the Caribbean Sea, about 90 miles (140 kilometres) north of Venezuela. The island of Grenada makes up most of the country. The country also includes several tiny islands near the main island. In addition, it includes Carriacou - which lies about 17 miles (27 kilometres) northeast of the main island - and several other small islands of the Grenadine chain.
Grenada has a population of about 93,000 and a land area of 133 square miles (344 square kilometres). Its tropical climate and beautiful scenery and beaches attract many tourists. The nation is a leading producer of nutmeg and other spices. St. George's is the capital and largest city of Grenada. The East Caribbean dollar is the basic unit of currency. Grenada was a dependency of Britain from the late 1700's until 1974, when it gained independence.
About 95 percent of Grenada's people are of African or mixed African and European ancestry. Descendants of East Indians or of Europeans make up the rest of the population. The majority of Grenadians speak English, the nation's official language, or a dialect (local form) of English. A French-African patois (mixture of languages) is also commonly spoken. More than half the population are Roman Catholics. Other religious groups include Anglicans, Methodists, and Seventh-day Adventists.
Children between the ages of 6 and 14 must attend school. Grenada's government provides most of the funding for the country's many public and technical schools. Grenada is home to a branch of the University of the West Indies.
The mountainous, thickly forested countryside of the main island of Grenada has many gorges and waterfalls. Grand Etang, a lake in the crater of a volcano, lies near the centre of the island.
Temperatures in Grenada seldom fall below 65° F (18° C) in winter or rise above 90° F (32 °C) in summer. The coast of the mainland receives up to 60 inches (150 centimetres) of rainfall each year. The mountain regions receive up to 200 inches (510 centimetres). The dry season in Grenada extends from January until May.
Economy of Grenada is based chiefly on agriculture and tourism. The nation has few factories. The standard of living remains low because most Grenadians either cannot find work or must work for low wages. The island's chief exports include bananas, cocoa, nutmeg, and a spice called mace. Other products include coconut, cotton, limes, and sugar cane. Grenada needs many products made in other countries, and so it imports more than it exports. St. George's is the chief port, but the country also has several smaller ports.
Britain, Canada, and the United States rank as Grenada's leading trade partners. In 1974, Grenada sought to increase trade with its neighbours by joining the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), an economic union of nations.
Grenada has about 600 miles (970 kilometres) of roads, most of which are surfaced. The nation has two airports and bus service but no railroads. Five newspapers and a radio station serve the island.
Arawak Indians were the first people to live in what is now Grenada. During the 1300's, Carib Indians from South America took over the main island. In 1498, Christopher Columbus became the first European explorer to land there. He named it Concepcion, but other Europeans later called it Grenada. The Caribs defeated early European efforts to colonise Grenada. In 1650, the French claimed Grenada and later slaughtered many of the Indians. Some Caribs killed themselves rather than submit to French rule.
Control of Grenada shifted between France and Britain several times before the island became a British colony in 1783. Through the years, European planters brought many African slaves to work on plantations there. After the British ended slavery in 1833, East Indians came to work in Grenada.
In the mid-1900's, the British gave Grenada some control over its own affairs. In the early 1970's, Prime Minister Eric M. Gairy led a movement for independence. Political unrest developed because some groups opposed independence and accused Gairy of becoming a dictator. Grenada gained independence in 1974. The new country became a constitutional monarchy and joined the Commonwealth of Nations. A prime minister headed the government. A governor general, a symbolic official, was appointed by the British monarch.
Gairy served as prime minister of Grenada until 1979, when rebels led by Maurice Bishop overthrew his government. The rebels set up a new government and named Bishop prime minister. Bishop, a Marxist, established close ties with Cuba and adopted a number of leftist policies. But some other rebels denounced him for not adopting a complete Marxist system. In 1983, rebels took over the government and killed Bishop.
Other Caribbean nations feared Grenada would be used as a base by Cuba and the Soviet Union to support terrorism and leftist revolutions in Latin America. Soon after Bishop was killed, several Caribbean nations asked the United States to help restore order in Grenada.
On Oct. 25, 1983, U.S. troops invaded Grenada. U.S. President Ronald Reagan said the action was necessary to protect the lives of Americans in Grenada, including nearly 600 students at St. George's University School of Medicine. Troops from six Caribbean nations also took part in the invasion. The nations were Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The multinational force quickly took major objectives, including an airport being constructed at Point Salines with Cuban assistance. After several days, the multinational force took complete control of Grenada. By December 15, all U.S. troops had been pulled out of the country. About 250 noncombat U.S. military personnel remained in Grenada until 1985 to maintain law and order.
After the fighting ended, Sir Paul Godwin Scoon, governor general of Grenada, took temporary control of the government. He appointed a nine-member advisory council to help him rule the country. In 1984, Grenada's democratically elected government was restored. A prime minister again headed the government. The government ended the leftist policies that the Marxist government had adopted.
Guadeloupe is a group of islands in the West Indies. It forms an overseas department (administrative district) of France. It consists of two main islands separated by a narrow sea channel, a small island group called Iles des Saintes, and five small islands. It covers about 687 square miles (1,780 square kilometres). The larger of the main islands is called Guadeloupe, or Basse-Terre, and the other is Grande-Terre. The small islands are Marie-Galante, Desirade, St.-Barthelemy, the northern part of St. Martin, and Petite-Terre. The town of Basse-Terre is the capital.
Guadeloupe has a population of about 345,000. Most of the people are of mixed ancestry. A group of descendants of the original Norman and Breton settlers lives in the Iles des Saintes group. French is the official language, but many people speak a mixture of African words and French called patois. Guadeloupe has a hot, humid climate from June to December. But steady winds tend to moderate the heat. The islands have cooler, drier weather from January to May.
Most people in Guadeloupe are employed in service industries. But agriculture is the chief source of income for the islands. Leading farm products include bananas, cocoa, coffee, and sugar cane. Rum is distilled and exported. Guadeloupe's chief port and largest town is Pointe-a-Pitre on Grande-Terre Island.
A general council of elected members governs Guadeloupe. Deputies represent the group in the French National Assembly. The Carib Indians occupied Guadeloupe when the first French settlers arrived in 1635. Since then, Guadeloupe has remained a French possession, except for temporary British occupations between 1759 and 1813. In 1989, Hurricane Hugo killed six people on Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre.
Guam is a territory of the United States in the Mariana Islands. It serves as a vital U.S. air and naval base in the Pacific Ocean. Agana is the capital of Guam.
Guam lies at the south end of the Marianas, about 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometres) east of the Philippines. About 30 miles (48 kilometres) long and 4 to 10 miles (6.4 to 16 kilometres) wide, Guam covers 209 square miles (541 square kilometres). It has a population of 133,000.
Coral reefs lie off the coast of Guam. A limestone plateau rises on the northern part of the island. Many forests in the north have been cleared for farms and airfields. The southern half of Guam has a range of mountains of volcanic origin. Several rivers originate in the mountains and run to the coast. Earthquakes occasionally strike the island. The War in the Pacific National Historical Park is on Guam. It honours the U.S. troops who fought in the Pacific in World War II (1939-1945).
Guam has warm weather most of the year. Average temperatures range from 68 to 90 °F (20 to 32 °C). But typhoons frequently hit the island, and rainfall averages 90 inches (230 centimetres) a year. The rainy season generally lasts from May to November.
About 40 percent of the Guamanian people are Chamorros. Chamorros are descendants of the island's original inhabitants and other Micronesian islanders, and of Filipinos and Spaniards. Other Guamanians are descended from American, Italian, French, British, Japanese, Chinese, and Mexican settlers. About one-sixth of the people on Guam are U.S. military personnel and their dependents. English and Chamorro are the official languages of Guam. English is the most widely used language. The University of Guam, in Mangilao, is the only university. Tamuning is the largest town.
Tourism and related industries produce the largest part of Guam's income. Each year, more than 500,000 tourists, mostly Japanese, visit Guam. The U.S. military is the second largest source of income. It maintains Andersen Air Force Base and a number of naval facilities on the island. Military facilities provide many jobs for Guamanians. Agriculture and fishing are minor economic activities. Farmers grow coconuts, sweet potatoes, and taro. Tuna is the most important fish. Apra Harbor is Guam's chief port.
Chamorros were the first inhabitants of Guam. They came from Southeast Asia, perhaps as early as 3000 B.C. Through the years, many Chamorros and other settlers in Guam intermarried. The descendants of these people are still called Chamorros.
The Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan led the first European expedition to Guam. His group arrived there in 1521. Spain made the island a possession in 1565. But the Spanish did not take actual control over Guam until 1668. Spain ceded Guam to the United States in 1898 after the Spanish-American War. Guam was placed under the administration of the United States Navy. Japan attacked Guam on Dec. 8, 1941, during World War II. It captured the island on December 10. United States forces landed on Guam on July 21, 1944, but they did not completely recapture the island until Aug. 10, 1944.
After World War II ended in 1945, the U.S. military took over about one-third of Guam's land. In 1954, the U.S. Air Force established Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.
The United States made Guam a territory on Aug. 1, 1950, and transferred its supervision from the Navy to the Department of the Interior. The people became United States citizens. Guam voters elect a one-house Legislature. They elect a governor and lieutenant governor for four-year terms. Before 1970, governors were appointed by the U.S. President. Since 1972, Guam voters have elected a delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. The delegate may vote in House committees, but not on the House floor.
Guatemala has more people than any other Central American country. Most of Guatemala's people live in the rugged mountains in the central part of the country. There, on a high plateau, lies Guatemala City, the industrial centre of Guatemala, and the largest city in Central America.
Almost half the people are Indians whose way of life differs greatly from that of other Guatemalans. Their ancestors, the Maya Indians, built a highly developed civilisation hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus landed in America. Today, the Indians live in peasant or farm communities apart from the main life of the country. Most speak Indian languages and wear Indian clothing. Most of the other Guatemalans - called Ladinos - are of mixed Indian and Spanish ancestry. They speak Spanish and follow a Guatemalan form of Spanish-American customs. The Ladinos include peasants and labourers as well as the people in cities and towns who control the government and economy.
The main sources of Guatemala's income are exported farm products, especially coffee. Guatemala has close economic and political ties with the United States. The United States is Guatemala's chief trading partner and imports much Guatemalan coffee. Most of Guatemala's coffee is grown along the southern edge of the broad central mountainous region. A large, thinly populated plain with thick rain forests lies north of the mountains. South of the mountains, farmers grow such crops as corn, cotton, and sugar cane and raise beef cattle on a grassy lowland between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
42,042 sq. mi. (108,889 sq. km).
north-south, 283 mi. (455 km);
east-west, 261 mi. (420 km).
Coastlines - Pacific, 152 mi. (245 km); Caribbean, 53 mi. (85 km).
Highest - Volcan Tajumulco, 13,845 ft. (4,220 m) above sea level.
Lowest - sea level along the coasts.
Estimated 1996 population - 10,919,000; density, 260 persons per sq. mi. (100 per sq. km); distribution, 58 percent rural, 42 percent urban. 1994 census - 9,302,400. Estimated 2001 population - 12,550,000.
Agriculture - bananas, beans, beef cattle, cardamom, coffee, corn, cotton, sugar cane.
Manufacturing - clothing and textiles, handicrafts, processed foods and beverages.
5452 miles from London
GMT -6 hours
International aircraft prefix
International dialling code
Spanish and Amerindian
15 September - Independence Day
Avenida la Reforma 16-00
Edificio Torre Internacional
Telephone (00 502) 3675425
Opening hours 0830 to 1230/1330 to 1700 Monday to Thursday, 0830 to 1230 Friday (local time)
3 vertical bands of light blue, white and light blue with the coat of arms centred in the white band
Guernsey is the westernmost of the Channel Islands in the English Channel. Guernsey has a population of about 56,000. A large part of the island's 24-square-mile (63-square-kilometre) area is covered with small farms, hedged fields, and narrow, winding lanes. Greenhouses are used to grow tomatoes and many varieties of flowers. Tan-and-white Guernsey cattle on the island produce rich milk. Banking and the production of knitted garments are also important industries. St. Peter Port is the chief town.
Guinea is a country on the west coast of Africa. It lies on the huge bulge of Africa that juts westward toward the Atlantic Ocean. Guinea is a land of coastal swamps, crusty plateaus, grassy plains, and forested hills. The country's official name is Republique de Guinee (Republic of Guinea). Conakry is the largest city.
Guinea has much potential for economic growth because of its abundant natural resources. Its economy is based on agriculture and mining. Guinea has large deposits of bauxite, a mineral from which aluminium is made. Guinea was a colony of France from the late 1800's until 1958, when it became an independent nation.
French.Area: 94,926 sq. mi. (245,857 sq. km).
east-west, 450 mi. (725 km);
north-south, 350 mi. (565 km).
Coastline - 190 mi. (305 km).
Highest - Mt. Nimba, 5,748 ft. (1,752 m) above sea level.
Lowest - sea level.
Estimated 1996 population - 6,897,000; density, 73 persons per sq. mi. (28 per sq. km); distribution, 70 percent rural, 30 percent urban. 1983 census - 4,533,240. Estimated 2001 population - 7,981,000.
Basic unit - franc.
Agriculture - bananas, cassava, coffee, corn, palm products, peanuts, plantains, rice, sweet potatoes.
Manufacturing - alumina, food products, textiles.
Mining - bauxite, diamonds, gold.
The flag has three vertical stripes: red (for the spirit of sacrifice), gold (for sun and wealth), and green (for the forests).
Guyana is a country on the northeast coast of South America. It is a tropical land with large sugar plantations and small rice farms. Guyana has valuable mineral resources, dense forests, and wild mountain country. Much of the land is difficult to reach, and some areas have never been explored. Guyana is an Amerindian (American Indian) word meaning Land of Waters. The country's official name is the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Guyana is made up of people from several national and ethnic groups.
Guyana was one of the first areas in the Western Hemisphere to be settled by Europeans. Christopher Columbus sailed along its coast in 1498. In 1581, the Dutch founded a settlement in what is now Guyana and claimed the area. Sir Walter Raleigh searched there in 1595 for El Dorado, the legendary city of gold. In 1831, Britain created the colony of British Guiana there. The colony became the independent nation of Guyana in 1966. Georgetown is the largest city.
83,000 sq. mi. (214,969 sq. km).
north-south, 495 mi. (797 km);
east-west, 290 mi. (467 km).
Coastline - 270 mi. (435 km).
: Estimated 1996 population - 843,000; density, 10 persons per sq. mi. (4 per sq. km); distribution, 65 percent rural, 35 percent urban. 1980 census - 758,619. Estimated 2001 population - 892,000.
"Guyana National Anthem."
Basic unit - Guyana dollar.
Agriculture - sugar cane, rice.
Manufacturing and processing - sugar, rice, timber, coconuts.
Mining - bauxite, diamonds, gold.
The flag is green (representing agriculture and forests) with a red triangle (zeal in nation building) and a golden yellow arrowhead (minerals). The triangle has a black border (endurance) and the arrowhead has a white border (water resources).
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