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Suriname: numerous ethnic groups and rainforest

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Suriname (Republiek van Suriname/Republic of Suriname) is a republic located just north of the equator in the north-eastern part of South America. It is washed to the north by the Atlantic Ocean and it borders to the west with Guyana, to the south with Brazil and to the east with French Guyana.

Paramaribo, the capital, is located on the left bank of the Suriname River 20 km from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the main port and the only real city of the country. The territory has a flat area along the coast. Here lie the capital and most towns.


The interior of the country is made up of a central plateau with dense forests and some savannah. In the south there is a mountainous region rich in forests, which culminates in Mount Julianatop with 1.280 m. On the border with Brazil lies the Serra Tumucumaque. There are numerous rivers: The Maroni (Marowijne) marking the border with French Guyana, the Corantijn (Courantyne) marking the border with Guyana, the Coppename, Saramacca and Suriname. A big dam forms Lake Brokopondo with 1,560 sq km, also known as Prof. Dr. Ir. W.J. van Blommesteinmeer. It is located along the Suriname River.

Important are the mineral and forest resources of the country, including large deposits of bauxite, manganese, copper, nickel, platinum, gold and oil. The main industrial activities are related to these two areas. Agriculture is only practiced in a very small area of the national territory. Rice, palm oil, sugar cane, bananas and coffee are harvested. Fishing for shrimps is another contribution to the country’s economy.

The climate of Suriname.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster.

  • Area: 163,820 sq km: arable land 0,4%, pastures 0,1%, forests and bushland 91,9%, uncultivated and nproductive land 7,6%
  • Population: 450,000 (as of 2005): Asian Indians 37%, Creols (descendants of Africans and Europeans) 31%, Javanese 15%, Maroons (Africans) 10%, Amerindians 3%, Chinese 2%, Europeans 1%.
  • State Capital: Paramaribo.
  • Official Language: The official language is Dutch. The English Creole Sranan Tongo, Hindi, Javanese, Saramaka and Paramakan are also spoken.
  • Religion: Christians 48%: Protestants 25% and Catholics 23%; Hindus 27%, Muslims 20%, indigenous beliefs 5%.
  • Currency: Suriname Dollar (SRD).
  • Time Zone: UTC-3 hours.



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