Suriname is a former Dutch colony. It lies on the northeast coast of South America, with in the north the Atlantic Ocean, the east i French Guiana, the west Guyana, and Brazil in the south.
Suriname is 163,194 sq. km. (63,037 sq. mi.); slightly larger than the state of Georgia. It is one of the few spots in the world with a tropical rainforest. Suriname is the second smallest nation on the South American continent, as well asthe least explored. It is one of the least densely inhabited countries in the world. Suriname is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the Americas, but has just more than half a million inhabitants.
The connection between United States of America and Suriname:
- "New Amsterdam,” modern New York, was a former Dutch colony. In 1667 it was exchanged for Suriname. - Alcoa, a US company, was mining bauxite in Suriname to produce aluminum, that was used to build war equipment and airplanes.
- The Americans built an airport in Suriname to enable them to refuel their planes during the second world war. This airport became Suriname’s international airport.
Jan Matzeliger, the inventor of the shoe-lasting machine was born in Suriname in 1852. At the age of 18, he immigrated to the United States. Matzeliger's invention improved the process and working conditions of shoemaking. This reduced the price of shoes by 50% percent and made them affordable for ordinary citizens.
History of Suriname
According to Historians, the name Suriname is based on the name of the Amerindian tribe Surinen, the original inhabitants from Suriname. This tribe was chased away by the other Amerindian tribes, the Caribs, Arawaks, and Waraus.
Suriname was first called Dutch Guyana as is was between former British Guyana and French Guiana.
The Europeans first learned about Suriname and the other Guyanas by Christopher Columbus in 1498, but the Dutch settlement began in 1616. In the first half of the 18th century, agriculture flourished in Suriname. African slaves did most of the work on the plantations. As the treatment of the slaves was bad, some of them fled and escaped to the jungle. These runaway slaves were named Maroons or Bush Negroes.
In 1863 the Dutch ended slavery, the last European nation to do so. The slaves, however, were not free until 1873 because they were forced to sign an employment contract with the plantation owners, which bound them to work for another decade. The former slaves sought employment in the wood industry, mining industry and the service sector. To continue the work on the plantations, the government was forced to get laborers from abroad. They started to import Chinese laborers from the Netherlands East Indies and Indian from India. They import from Indian stopped when Gandhi ended the emigration from laborers in 1916. Laborers were again imported from the Netherlands East Indies, now especially from Java, known as Javanese. The imported laborers were free to return to their country after the expiration from their contract, but most stayed in Suriname.
Suriname remained under Dutch rule until the independence in 1975.
Amerindians, Creole* (African descendants and mixed races ), Maroon, Hindustani (Indian), Javanese, Chinese, Dutch immigrants (Boeroe), Boeroe means farmer in Surinamese), Lebanese and Jewish. These are ethnic groups that are official considered Surinamese because they are there for generations. In the course of time other ethnic groups settled in Suriname, such as Brazilians, Guyanese, Haitians, etc.
Christian 41%, Hindu 20%, Islam 13%, other 26%
Dutch is the official language, Surinamese, the local language, is considered to be the second language.
The other frequent spoken languages are the:
Asian languages: Sarnami Hindu, Javanese, and Chinese
Maroon languages: Aucaans, Paramacaans, Boni, Kwinti, Saramaccaans, and Matawai
Amerindian languages: determined in 3 language categories: (1) Caribs; Kalima or
Caraïbisch, Trio, and Wayana, (2) Arawaks; Lokono, (3) Waraus; Waraus
Literacy: 95.5 percentage. Compulsory age 6-12.
Female 75 year and male 69 year.
Mortality rate under 5 year (1000 live birth ) 20
Total population 571.317