November 30, 2021
Suriname (sometimes also spelled Suriname), in the long form the Republic of Suriname (in Dutch: Suriname and Republiek Suriname), is a country in South America (called Dutch Guyana until its independence in 1975). It is located in the north of the continent, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, in the heart of the Guyana or Guyana plateau. Its neighbors are Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south and French Guiana to the east, and its capital is Paramaribo. The country owes its name to its main waterway, the Suriname River. With a population of approximately 520,000 inhabitants and an area of 163,270 km2, Suriname is, after Guyana, the second least densely populated country in the Americas as well as the country with the smallest surface area in South America. Suriname is one of the last two countries on the American continent where driving is on the left side, the other being its neighbor, Guyana. The region was colonized by the United Provinces in the 17th century and took the name of Dutch Guyana. It supplied sugar, coffee, chocolate and cotton to the metropolis as a result of slavery, until its abolition in 1863. Suriname became an autonomous region of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1954 before gaining independence in 1975. A military coup in 1980 marked the beginning of a decade of dictatorship marked by the execution of political opponents (massacres of December 1982) and of villagers belonging to the brown minority (Moïwana massacre) as well as the outbreak of a civil war. The democratic process was reestablished in the early 1990s. The main person responsible for the 1980 coup, Desi Bouterse, was however elected President of the Republic in 2010. The population is concentrated in about 3% of the territory, the rest of the country being at least 97% made up of the Amazon rainforest, and more than 90% of the population is concentrated on the coast that faces the Atlantic Ocean.