Originally a Dutch colony
in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession.
The abolition of slavery led to black settlement of urban areas and the
importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar
plantations. This ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to
turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966,
and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented
governments. In 1992, Cheddi Jagan was elected president in what is
considered the country's first free and fair election since
Amerindian dialects, Creole, Caribbean Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi),
and Urdu are spoken.