|General background: Independence from the Netherlands
was granted in 1975. Five years later the civilian government
was replaced by a military regime that soon declared
a socialist republic. It continued to rule through a
succession of nominally civilian administrations until
1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic
election. In 1989, the military overthrew the civilian
government, but a democratically-elected government
returned to power in 1991.
Slightly larger than Georgia.
Tropical; moderated by trade winds.
Mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps.
Population: 436,494 (July 2002 est.)
Ethnic groups: Hindustani (also known locally
as "East Indians"; their ancestors emigrated
from northern India in the latter part of the 19th
century) 37%, Creole (Mixed White and Black) 31%,
Javanese 15%, "Maroons" (their African ancestors
were brought to the country in the 17th and 18th centuries
as slaves and escaped to the interior) 10%, Amerindian
2%, Chinese 2%, White 1%, other 2%
Religions: Hindu 27.4%, Muslim 19.6%, Roman
Catholic 22.8%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian),
Indigenous beliefs 5%
Language: 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.
Government type: Constitutional democracy
Legal system: Based on Dutch legal system
incorporating French penal theory.
Economic overview: The economy is dominated
by the bauxite industry, which accounts for more than
15% of GDP and 70% of export earnings. Suriname's
economic prospects for the medium term will depend
on renewed commitment to responsible monetary and
fiscal policies and to the introduction of structural
reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition.
The government of Ronald VENETIAAN has begun an austerity
program, raised taxes, and attempted to control spending.
The Dutch Government has restarted the aid flow, which
will allow Suriname to access international development
Communication/Telephone system: International
facilities are good.
Places of interest: