Descendants of the Africans, the Afro-Guyanese came to see themselves as the true people of British Guiana, with greater rights to land than the indentured workers who had arrived after them. The fact that planters made land available to East Indians in the late nineteenth century when they had denied land to the Africans several decades earlier reinforced Afro-Guyanese resentment toward other ethnic groups in the colony. The AfroGuyanese people's perception of themselves as the true Guyanese derived not only from their long history of residence, but also from a sense of superiority based on their literacy, Christianity, and British colonial values.
By the early twentieth century, the majority of the urban population of the country was Afro-Guyanese. Many Afro-Guyanese living in villages had migrated to the towns in search of work. Until the 1930s, Afro-Guyanese, especially those of mixed African and European descent, comprised the bulk of the nonwhite professional class. During the 1930s, as the Indo-Guyanese began to enter the middle class in large numbers, they began to compete with Afro-Guyanese for professional positions.
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