Guyana is a republic on the northern coast of South America. Formerly known as British Guiana, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by Suriname, on the south by Brazil, and on the west by Brazil and Venezuela. The country achieved independence on May 26, 1966. Guyana has an area of 215,000 sq km (83,000 sq mi); its coastline is 459 km (285 mi) long.