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Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham
1923 - 1985

Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham was born in Kitty, British Guiana on the 20th of February, 1923. He was the son of Methodist parents, James Ethelbert Burnham and Rachel Abigail Sampson. Burnham had two marriages in his life, which produced five daughters. The first was to Sheila Bernice Lataste, in 1951. Roxane, Annabelle, and Francesca were the fruits of that union. The second, in 1967, was to Viola Victorine Harper who bore him Melanie and Ulele.

Forbes Burnham Burnham attended Kitty Methodist School for his primary education and Central High School for his secondary. His higher education consisted of Queens College in Guyana and the University of London in England. In 1947, he received his law degree from the University of London. He
had many distinguishing honors in his life including the Order of Excellence of Guyana.

Burnham played a major role in establishing both major political parties in Guyana. In 1950, he and Dr. Cheddi Jagan co-founded the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). Five years later, he split from the PPP to form a more "moderate" party called the People’s National Congress (PNC). He was the Prime Minister of Guyana from 1964 until he became President in 1980. He held the office of the presidency until his death in 1985.

Until 1970, the country was ruled in moderation, looking to foreign investors and staying away from socialism. However, from 1970, his government declared the country a "Cooperative Republic", established relations with communist countries, and nationalized foreign owned bauxite mines and sugar plantations. These policies eventually led to Guyana’s economic stagnation in the 80’s.

Burnham, the first president of Guyana, led his country for twenty-one years. He died on August 6, 1985, at the age of 62. He was undergoing a throat operation in a hospital in Georgetown. He was a major player in Guyana's political arena.