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Brief History of Suriname:
Suriname was inhabited by Native American Arawak and then Carib tribes. Columbus was the first European to discover the coastland in 1498 and Spain claimed the area in 1593. However, the first settlers were the Dutch in 1616. In 1667 Suriname became a Dutch colony called Dutch Guiana.
In 1975 the colony became the independent nation of Suriname. The country has experienced a number of military coups since then.
The Geography of Suriname
Total Size: 163,270 square km
Size Comparison: slightly larger than Georgia
Geographical Coordinates: 4 00 N, 56 00 W
World Region or Continent: South America
General Terrain: mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Geographical Low Point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
Geographical High Point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
Climate: tropical; moderated by trade winds
Major cities: PARAMARIBO (capital) 259,000 (2009)
The People of Suriname
Type of Government: constitutional democracy
Languages Spoken: Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
Independence: 25 November 1975 (from Netherlands)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 25 November (1975)
Religions: Hindu 27.4%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), Roman Catholic 22.8%, Muslim 19.6%, indigenous beliefs 5%
National Anthem or Song: God zij met ons Suriname! (God Be With Our Suriname)
Economy of Suriname
Major Industries: bauxite and gold mining, alumina production; oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing
Agricultural Products: paddy rice, bananas, palm kernels, coconuts, plantains, peanuts; beef, chickens; shrimp; forest products
Natural Resources: timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Major Exports: alumina, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Major Imports: capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
Currency: Surinam dollar (SRD)
National GDP: $6,326,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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