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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             DEVELOPMENT STUDIES

                                                                            Copyright © 2000 International Development Options

                                                                                               All Rights Reserved

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Volume Two                                                                      Winter 1999-Spring 2000                                                          Numbers 1-2.

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                                  THEME: CARIBBEAN DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES: ISSUES AND OPTIONS

 

 

   

        THE IMPACT OF GOLD, DIAMOND AND BAUX­ITE PRO­DUC­TION ON THE GUYANESE ECONOMY,

      1890-1956

         Barbara P. Josiah

         Department of History

         Howard University

         Washington, DC 20059

         Published Online: December 15, 2016

 

        ABSTRACT

 

In the context of Guyana's economic development, the coming of the gold, diamond, and bauxite industries promoted econom­ic diversifi­cation.  This article examines the role of African Guyanese villagers and coastal dwellers who seasonally migrated to hinterland localities and worked in the gold and diamond industries from the late nineteenth century; bauxite workers, their counterparts of the twentieth century, are also discussed.  The article argues that colonial administrators recognized the value of this labor at a time when the country's main agricultur­al export product, sugar, was fetching a low price on the world market.  The diversification of the country's economy was critical.  Consequently, profitable returns from the mining industry promoted action by the government to liberalize land acquisition laws.  The resulting increased access to land by workers and investors enabled not only the diversification of the Guyana's economy, but also impacted on the infrastructure and national development.  This article documents that over a period spanning more than six decades, former agricultural workers braved human and ecologically hostile environments, endured myriad adversi­ties, and developed the gold, diamond and bauxite indus­tries.  These developments facilitated the diversifi­cation of the economy, significantly affected national develop­ment, and the genera­tion of profits for the British economy.

 

 

 

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