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Coordinates: 4°N 56°W / 4°N 56°W / 4; -56

Republic of Suriname

Republiek Suriname  (Dutch)
Motto: "JustitiaPietasFides" (Latin)
"Justice – Piety – Trust"
Gerechtigheid – Vroomheid – Vertrouwen  (Dutch)
Anthem: God zij met ons Suriname  (Dutch)
(English: "God be with our Suriname")
Location of Suriname (dark green) in South America (grey)
Location of Suriname (dark green)

in South America (grey)

Capital
and largest city
Paramaribo
5°50′N 55°10′W / 5.833°N 55.167°W / 5.833; -55.167
Official languagesDutch
Recognised regional languages
Other languages
Capital
and largest city
Paramaribo
5°50′N 55°10′W / 5.833°N 55.167°W / 5.833; -55.167
Official languagesDutch
Recognised regional languages
Other languages
Ethnic groups
(2012)
  • 27.4% Indian
  • 21.7% Maroon-Bushinengue
  • 15.7% Creole-Mulatto[1]
  • 13.7% Javanese
  • 13.4% Other Mixed (incl. Douglas)
  • 3.8% Indigenous Amerindian
  • 1.5% Chinese[2][3]
  • 1% European
  • 1.8% /ˈsjʊərɪnæm/, US also /-nɑːm/, sometimes spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname (Dutch: Republiek Suriname [reːpyˌblik syːriˈnaːmə]), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers (64,000 square miles), it is the smallest sovereign state in South America.[note 1] Suriname has a population of approximately 575,990,[8][9] most of whom live on the country's north coast, in and around the capital and largest city, Paramaribo.

    Situated slightly north of the Equator, Suriname is a tropical country dominated by rain forests. Its extensive tree cover is vital to the country's efforts to mitigate climate change and reach carbon neutrality. A developing country with a high level of human development, Suriname's economy is heavily dependent on its abundant natural resources, namely bauxite, gold, petroleum and agricultural products.

    Suriname was inhabited as early as the fourth millennium BC by various indigenous peoples, including the Arawaks, Caribs, and Wayana. Europeans arrived in the 16th century, with the Dutch establishing control over much of the country's current territory by the late 17th century. During the Dutch colonial period, Suriname was a lucrative source of sugar, its plantation economy driven by African slave labor and, after abolition of slavery in 1863, indentured servants from Asia. In 1954, Suriname became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 25 November 1975, Suriname left the Kingdom to become an independent state, nonetheless maintaining close economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties to its former colonizer.

    Suriname is considered to be a culturally Caribbean country, and is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Suriname is the only sovereign nation outside Europe where Dutch is the official and prevailing language of government, business, media, and education.[13] Sranan Tongo, an English-based creole language, is a widely used lingua franca. As a legacy of centuries of colonialism, the people of Suriname are among the most diverse in the world, spanning a multitude of ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups.

    Etymology

    The name Suriname may derive from an indigenous people called Surinen, who inhabited the area at the time of European contact.[14] It may also be derived from a corruption of the name "Surryham" which was the name given to the Suriname River by Lord Willoughby in honour of the Earl of Surrey when an English colony was established under a grant from King Charles II.[15][16][17]

    British settlers, who founded the first European colony at Marshall's Creek[18] along the Suriname River, spelled the name as "Surinam".

    When the territory was taken over by the Dutch, it became part of a group of colonies known as Dutch Guiana. The official spelling of the country's English name was changed from "Surinam" to "Suriname" in January 1978, but "Surinam" can still be found in English; a notable example is Suriname's national airline, Surinam Airways. The older English name is reflected in the English pronunciation, /ˈsjʊərɪnæm, -nɑːm/. In Dutch, the official language of Suriname, the pronunciation is [ˌsyriˈnaːmə], with the main stress on the third syllable and a schwa terminal vowel.

    History

    Maroon village, along Suriname River, 1955

    Indigenous settlement of Suriname dates back to 3,000 BC. The largest tribes were the Arawak, a nomadic coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing. They were the first inhabitants in the area. The Carib also settled in the area and conquered the Arawak by using their superior sailing ships. They settled in Galibi (Kupali Yumï, meaning "tree of the forefathers") at the mouth of the Marowijne River. While the larger Arawak and Carib tribes lived along the coast and savanna, smaller groups of indigenous people lived in the inland rainforest, such as the Akurio, Trió, Warrau, and Wayana.

    Colonial period

    Maroon village, along Suriname River, 1955

    Indigenous settlement of Suriname dates back to 3,000 BC. The largest tribes were the Arawak, a nomadic coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing. They were the first inhabitants in the area. The Carib also settled in the area and conquered the Arawak by using their superior sailing ships. They settled in Galibi (Kupali Yumï, meaning "tree of the forefathers") at the mouth of the Marowijne River. While the larger Arawak and Carib tribes lived along the coast and savanna, smaller groups of indigenous people lived in the inland rainforest, such as the Akurio, Trió, Warrau, and Wayana.

    Colonial period

    Beginning in the 16th century, French, Spanish and English explorers visited the area. A century later, Dutch and English settlers established plantation colonies along the many rivers in the fertile Guiana

    British settlers, who founded the first European colony at Marshall's Creek[18] along the Suriname River, spelled the name as "Surinam".

    When the territory was taken over by the Dutch, it became part of a group of colonies known as Dutch Guiana. The official spelling of the country's English name was changed from "Surinam" to "Suriname" in January 1978, but "Surinam" can still be found in English; a notable example is Suriname's national airline, Surinam Airways. The older English name is reflected in the English pronunciation, /ˈsjʊərɪnæm, -nɑːm/. In Dutch, the official language of Suriname, the pronunciation is [ˌsyriˈnaːmə], with the main stress on the third syllable and a schwa terminal vowel.

    Indigenous settlement of Suriname dates back to 3,000 BC. The largest tribes were the Arawak, a nomadic coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing. They were the first inhabitants in the area. The Carib also settled in the area and conquered the Arawak by using their superior sailing ships. They settled in Galibi (Kupali Yumï, meaning "tree of the forefathers") at the mouth of the Marowijne River. While the larger Arawak and Carib tribes lived along the coast and savanna, smaller groups of indigenous people lived in the inland rainforest, such as the Akurio, Trió, Warrau, and Wayana.

    Colonial period

    The largest ethnic group are the East Indians which form about 27.% of the population. They are descendants of 19th-century contract workers from India, hailing mostly from the modern Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Eastern Uttar Pradesh

    The largest ethnic group are the East Indians which form about 27.% of the population. They are descendants of 19th-century contract workers from India, hailing mostly from the modern Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Eastern Uttar Pradesh along the Nepali border. The largest group of people are however the Afro-Surinamese; around 37.4%. They are usually divided into two cultural/ethnic groups: the Creoles and the Maroons. Surinamese Maroons, whose ancestors are mostly runaway slaves that fled to the interior, comprise 21.7% of the population; they are divided into six tribes: Ndyuka (Aucans), Saramaccans, Paramaccans, Kwinti, Aluku (Boni) and Matawai. Surinamese Creoles, mixed people descending from African slaves and mostly Dutch Europeans, form 15.7% of the population. Javanese make up 14% of the population, and like the East Indians, descend largely from workers contracted from the island of Java in the former Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia).[61] 13.4% of the population identifies as being of mixed ethnic heritage. Chinese, originating from 19th-century contract workers and some recent migration, make up 7.3% of the population. Other groups include Lebanese, primarily Maronites; Jews of Sephardic and Ashkenazi origin, whose center of population was the community of Jodensavanne. Various indigenous peoples make up 3.7% of the population, with the main groups being the Akurio, Arawak, Kalina (Caribs), Tiriyó and Wayana. They live mainly in the districts of Paramaribo, Wanica, Para, Marowijne and Sipaliwini.[citation needed] A small but influential number of Europeans remain in the country, comprising about 1% of the population. They are descended mostly from Dutch 19th-century immigrant farmers, known as "Boeroes" (derived from boer, the Dutch word for "farmer"), and to a lesser degree other European groups, such as Portuguese. Many Boeroes left after independence in 1975.

    More recently Suriname has seen a new wave of immigrants; many of them have no legal status. These are namely Brazilians (many of them laborers mining for gold), Cubans, Dominicans and Haitians.[62]

    The vast majority of Suriname's inhabitants (about 90%) live in Paramaribo or on the coast.

    Emigration

    Immigrants from India

    The choice of becoming Surinamese or Dutch citizens in the years leading up to Suriname's independence in 1975 led to a mass migration to the Netherlands. This migration continued in the period immediately after independence and during military rule in the 1980s and for largely economic reasons extended throughout the 1990s. The Surinamese community in the Netherlands numbered 350,300 as of 2013 (including children and grandchildren of Suriname migrants born in The Netherlands); this is compared to approximately 566,000[13] Surinamese in Suriname itself.

    According to the International Organization for Migration, around 272,600 people from Suriname lived in other countries in the late 2010s, in particular in the Netherlands (ca 192,000), the French Republic (ca 25,000, most of them in French Guiana),[note 2] the United States (ca 15,000), Guyana (ca 5,000), Aruba (ca 1,500), and Canada (ca 1,000).[63]

    Religion

    Religion in

    According to the International Organization for Migration, around 272,600 people from Suriname lived in other countries in the late 2010s, in particular in the Netherlands (ca 192,000), the French Republic (ca 25,000, most of them in French Guiana),[note 2] the United States (ca 15,000), Guyana (ca 5,000), Aruba (ca 1,500), and Canada (ca 1,000).[63]

    Suriname's religious makeup is heterogeneous and reflective of the country's multicultural character. According to PEW research from 2016, the country comprises Christians (51.6), Buddhists (<1%), folk (5.3%), Hindu (19.8%), Jew, (<1%), Muslim (15.2%), other (1.8%), unaffiliated (5.4%).[64] According to the 2012 census, 48.4% were Christians;[7] 26.7% of Surinamese were Protestants (11.18% Pentecostal, 11.16% Moravian, and 4.4% of various other Protestant denominations) and 21.6% were Catholics. Hindus formed the second-largest religious group in Suriname, comprising 22.3% of the population,[7] the third largest proportion of any country in the Western Hemisphere after Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, both of which also have large proportions of Indians. Almost all practitioners of Hinduism are found among the Indo-Surinamese population. Muslims constitute 13.9% of the population, the highest proportion of Muslims in the Americas; they are largely of Javanese or Indian descent.[7] Other religious groups include Winti (1.8%),[7] an Afro-American religion practiced mostly by those of Maroon ancestry; Javanism (0.8%),[7] a syncretic faith found among some Javanese Surinamese; and various indigenous folk traditions that are often incorporated into one of the larger religions (usually Christianity). In the 2012 census, 7.5% of the population declared they had "no religion", while a further 3.2% left the question unanswered.[7]

    Languages

    Butcher market in Paramaribo with signs written in Dutch

    Suriname has a total of around 14 (local) languages, but only Dutch is the sole official language and is the language of education, government, business, and the media.[13] Over 60% of the population is a native speaker of Dutch[65] and around 20%-30% speak it as a second language. In 2004, Suriname became an associate member of the Dutch Language Union.[66] It is the only Dutch-speaking country in South America and the only independent nation in the Americas on which Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population and one of the two non-Romance-speaking countries in South America, the other being English-speaking Guyana.

    In Paramaribo, Dutch is the main home language in two thirds of the households.[4] The recognition of "Surinaams-Nederlands" ("Surinamese Dutch") as a national dialect equal to "Nederlands-Nederlands" ("Dutch Dutch") and "Vlaams-Nederlands" ("Flemish Dutch") was expressed in 2009 by the publication of the Woordenboek Surinaams Nederlands (Surinamese–Dutch Dictionary).[67] It is the most commonly spoken language in urban areas; only in the interior of Suriname (namely parts of Sipaliwini and Brokopondo) is Dutch seldom spoken.

    Sranantongo, a local English-based creole language, is the most widely-used vernacular language in daily life and business. Together with Dutch, it is considered to be the one of the two principal languages of Surinamese diglossia. Both are further influenced by other spoken languages which are spoken primarily within ethnic communities. Sranantongo is often used interchangeably with Dutch depending on the formality of the setting; Dutch is seen as a pre

    Suriname has a total of around 14 (local) languages, but only Dutch is the sole official language and is the language of education, government, business, and the media.[13] Over 60% of the population is a native speaker of Dutch[65] and around 20%-30% speak it as a second language. In 2004, Suriname became an associate member of the Dutch Language Union.[66] It is the only Dutch-speaking country in South America and the only independent nation in the Americas on which Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population and one of the two non-Romance-speaking countries in South America, the other being English-speaking Guyana.

    In Paramaribo, Dutch is the main home language in two thirds of the households.[4] The recognition of "Surinaams-Nederlands" ("Surinamese Dutch") as a national dialect equal to "Nederlands-Nederlands" ("Dutch Dutch") and "Vlaams-Nederlands" ("Flemish Dutch") was expressed in 2009 by the publication of the Woordenboek Surinaams Nederlands (Surinamese–Dutch Dictionary).[67] It is the most commonly spoken language in urban areas; only in the interior of Suriname (namely parts of Sipaliwini and Brokopondo) is Dutch seldom spoken.

    Sranantongo, a local English-based creole language, is the most widely-used [4] The recognition of "Surinaams-Nederlands" ("Surinamese Dutch") as a national dialect equal to "Nederlands-Nederlands" ("Dutch Dutch") and "Vlaams-Nederlands" ("Flemish Dutch") was expressed in 2009 by the publication of the Woordenboek Surinaams Nederlands (Surinamese–Dutch Dictionary).[67] It is the most commonly spoken language in urban areas; only in the interior of Suriname (namely parts of Sipaliwini and Brokopondo) is Dutch seldom spoken.

    Sranantongo, a local English-based creole language, is the most widely-used vernacular language in daily life and business. Together with Dutch, it is considered to be the one of the two principal languages of Surinamese diglossia. Both are further influenced by other spoken languages which are spoken primarily within ethnic communities. Sranantongo is often used interchangeably with Dutch depending on the formality of the setting; Dutch is seen as a prestige dialect and Sranan Tongo the common vernacular.[68]

    Caribbean Hindustani or Sarnami, a dialect of Bhojpuri, is the third-most used language. It is primarily spoken by the descendants of East Indian indentured laborers from ( formerly known as) British India.

    The Javanese language is somewhat used by the descendants of Javanese contract workers.

    The Maroon languages, include Saramaka, Okanisi, Aluku, Pamaka, Kwinti and Matawai. Aluku, Paramakan and Kwinti are so mutually intelligible with Okanisi that they can be consindered dialects of the Okanisi language. The same can be said about Matawai, which is mutually intelligible with Saramaka.

    Amerindian languages, include Carib, Arawak, Tiriyó and Wayana.

    Hakka and Cantonese are spoken by the descendants of the Chinese contract workers. Mandarin is spoken by the recent wave of Chinese immigrants.

    Other languages not really local to Suriname, but also used include: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

    The national capital, Paramaribo, is by far the dominant urban area, accounting for nearly half of Suriname's population and most of its urban residents; indeed, its population is greater than the next nine largest cities combined. Most municipalities are located within the capital's metropolitan area, or along the densely populated coastline.