Jonestown was the communal settlement made in northwestern Guyana by the Peoples Temple, a cult from California. Jonestown was founded in the mid-1970s by the cult leader, Jim Jones, for whom it was named. It stood amidst jungle, about seven miles (11 km) southwesterly from Port Kaituma. It had a population of about one thousand once it was fully established and the bulk of Jones' followers had moved there, but they occupied it only for a few years.
Jonestown gained lasting international notoriety in 1978, when nearly its whole population died in a mass murder-and-suicide ordered by Jones. Somewhat over nine hundred men, women and children were slain, Jones among them.
The place was abandoned promptly thereafter by the collapsing remnant of the Peoples Temple. Afterward, it was at first tended by the Guyanese government, which allowed its re-occupation by Hmong refugees from Laos, for a few years in the early 1980s, but it has since been altogether deserted. It is now a scanty ruin, mostly destroyed by a fire in the mid-1980s and then left to decay and be swallowed up again by the jungle.
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