Suriname is a small country on the northeastern coast of South America. It’s defined by vast swaths of tropical rainforest, Dutch colonial-era architecture and a melting-pot culture.
The official name of Suriname is the Republic of Suriname.
It is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south.
The official language is Dutch.
As of 1 January 2016, the population of Suriname was estimated to be 545,672 people.
At just under 165,000 square kilometers (64,000 square miles), it is the smallest country in South America (in terms of its geographical size and its population).
Paramaribo is the capital and largest city of Suriname, located on the banks of the Suriname River in the Paramaribo District. Paramaribo has a population of roughly 240,000 people, almost half of Suriname’s population.
Tropical rainforests make up about 80% of Suriname´s total Landscape.
The hilly country is rising up to the highest point in Suriname, the Julianatop, a hill with an elevation at its top of 1,230 meters (4,199 feet).
There are several Protected Areas of Suriname. The largest of these is the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was created in 1998 by Conservation International and the government of Suriname from the fusion of three existing nature reserves: Ralleighvallen, Tafelberg and Eilerts de Haan gebergte. It comprises 1.6 million hectars of primary tropical forest of west-central Suriname.
In all, 16% of the country’s land area is national parks and lakes, according to the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Suriname has 2 UNESCO world heritage site.
The historic inner city of Paramaribo is considered to be one of the most culturally interesting areas in this part of South America, with many of the buildings from the colonial period in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries still to be seen here. The original Dutch architecture is seen more strongly in the older buildings, as the local influences crept in over the years to complement the Dutch style, and this has led to the area being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Suriname’s earliest inhabitants were the Surinen Indians, after whom the country is named. By the 16th century they had been supplanted by other South American Indians.
Spain explored Suriname in 1593, but by 1602 the Dutch began to settle the land, followed by the English. The English transferred sovereignty to the Dutch in 1667 (the Treaty of Breda) in exchange for New Amsterdam (New York).
Suriname, formerly known as Dutch Guiana, gained independence in 1975.
Suriname is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds.
Most people are descendants of African slaves and Indian or Indonesian servants brought over by the Dutch to work in agriculture. There are also Amerindians, the original inhabitants of Suriname and Chinese, mainly descendants of the earliest 19th-century contract workers.
The main export of Suriname is bauxite, which is an aluminum ore that is exported to several major countries across the world, contributing around fifteen per cent of the country’s GDP. However, industries such as ecotourism are also growing, while other major exports include bananas, shrimp and rice.
One of the most distinctive foods that you can enjoy in Suriname is Pom, which reveals the blend of cultures that have helped to form this country, with Jewish and Creole origins. Pom is a dish that contains quite a bit of meat, which makes it a dish for a special occasion in Surinamese culture, and is usually reserved for a birthday party or similar celebration. The dish is made in a high sided dish with layers of the local tayer plant sandwiching chicken pieces, and then covered in a sauce made with tomatoes, onions, nutmeg and oil before being cooked in the oven.
Although Suriname is an independent nation it still retains strong links with the Netherlands, and similarly to the Netherlands the national sport is football. While the Surinamese national side may not be particularly famous, several of the most famous Dutch footballers, including Ruud Gullit and Nigel de Jong are of Surinamese descent
New Year’s Eve in Suriname is called Oud jaar, or “old year“.
A typical, mainly urban Creole, expression is “no span” (“Keep cool; don’t worry”), symbolizing the generally relaxed atmosphere.
Suriname and neighboring Guyana are the only two countries on the mainland South American continent that drive on the left.
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