Suriname, once known as Dutch Guiana, is one of South America’s smallest countries. It enjoys a relatively high standard of living but also faces serious political and economic challenges.
Since independence from the Netherlands in 1975 Suriname has endured coups and a civil war. Suriname is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the Americas.
Most of its people are descended from African slaves and Indian and Javanese indentured labourers brought over by the Dutch to work in agriculture. Most political parties are ethnically based.
Gold, oil and agriculture are key economic sectors. Bauxite mining has gone into decline. Efforts have been made to diversify the economy.
- The Republic of Suriname
- Capital: Paramaribo
- Population 534,000
- Area 163,265 sq km (63,037 sq miles)
- Major languages Dutch (official), English, Sranang Tongo, Hindi, Javanese
- Major religions Hinduism, Islam, Christianity
- Life expectancy 68 years (men), 74 years (women)
- Currency Suriname dollar