Georgetown, capital city of Guyana. The country’s chief port, Georgetown lies on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Demerara River. Although the settlement was founded by the British in 1781 and named for George III, it had been largely rebuilt by the French by 1784. Known during the Dutch occupation as Stabroek, it was established as the seat of government of the combined colonies of Essequibo and Demerara in 1784. When the British regained control in 1812, the name was changed back to Georgetown.
Many houses and public buildings in the city are constructed of wood, the former generally raised on brick pillars 4–10 feet (1–3 metres) from the ground. As a consequence of great fires in 1945 and 1951, however, most buildings in the business sections were reconstructed of reinforced concrete. The public buildings in the centre of the city include the government offices, City Hall, and cathedrals. The University of Guyana (1963) is in the suburb of Turkeyen. The city also has an extensive botanical garden, a zoo, a seaside promenade, and many outdoor recreational facilities.
Georgetown is the chief commercial and manufacturing centre of Guyana. It exports sugar, rice, and tropical fruits, as well as timber, balata, bauxite, gold, and diamonds from the Guyanese hinterland. Large sugar refineries are located in the city. Guyana’s highway network is poor, although roads do lead along the coast and inland from Georgetown for a short distance. The city is served by various international steamship lines and airlines.