City Hall, Georgetown. Completed in 1889, it is one the finest
examples of Gothic architecture in South America.
Courtesy Embassy of Guyana, Washington
Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam are the dominant religions in
Guyana. The majority of the Indo-Guyanese are Hindus, although a
substantial number are Muslims. Some Indo-Guyanese have converted
to Christianity, but conversion is often for professional reasons.
Some converts continue their Hindu or Muslim rituals in addition to
participating in Christian services. Most Afro-Guyanese are
Christians, although a few have converted to Hinduism or Islam.
Guyana's other ethnic groups are largely Christian. In 1990, some
52 percent of Guyanese were Christian, 34 percent were Hindu, and
9 percent were Muslim. Of the Christians, 65 percent were
Protestant and 35 percent Roman Catholic (see
table 4, Appendix A).
Christianity's status as Guyana's dominant system of values is
a consequence of colonial history. To the European planters,
colonial administrators, and missionaries, the profession of
Christian beliefs and observance of Christian practices were
prerequisites to social acceptance. Even though the planters
discouraged the teaching of their religion to the slaves,
Christianity eventually became as much the religion of the Africans
as of the Europeans. Indeed, after abolition, Christian
institutions played an even more important role in the lives of the
former slaves than in the lives of the masters. By the time the
East Indians and other indentured groups arrived in Guyana, a new
syncretic Afro-Guyanese culture in which Christianity played an
important part had already been established. Only since the
mid-twentieth century, with the growth of the Indo-Guyanese
population and the efforts of their ethnic and religious
organizations, have Muslim and Hindu values and institutions been
recognized as having equal status with those of Guyana's
Data as of January 1992