OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Suriname
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Multiparty Republic
AREA: 163,265 Sq Km (63,037 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 447,900
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Suriname is located along the northeast
coast of South America. It is bound by Guyana to the west,
French Guiana to the east, Brazil to the south and the Atlantic
Ocean to the north. The country is divided into four distinct
natural regions. (1.) The coastal belt which accounts for
16% of the land area. (2.) An intermediate plain between
the coastal belt that runs to the edge of the vast rain
forest region. (3.) The mountainous rain forest region which
rises to the country's highest point the Wilhelmina Gebergte
Massif and this region also .comprises 75% of the land area.
(4.) A high savannah in the southwest. The principal rivers
are the Corantyne, Nickerie, Copename, Saramacca, Suriname,
Commewijne and Marauijne. Major Cities (pop. est.); Paramaribo
68,000, Nieuw Nickerie 6,100, Meerzorg 5,400, Marienburg
3,600 (1980). Land Use; forested 96%, pastures and agricultural-cultivated
0.5%, other 3.5% (1993).
CLIMATE: Suriname has a tropical climate that is characterized
by high rainfall, high humidity and hot temperatures which are modified
by the NE trade winds. There are four seasons, two dry seasons from August
to November and February to April as well as two wet seasons from April
to August and November to February, although none of the seasons are completely
wet or dry. Average annual precipitation in Paramaribo is 2,200 mm (87
inches) and average temperature ranges are from 26 degrees Celsius (79
degrees Fahrenheit) to 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: Suriname has eight main ethnic groups which are as follows,
Creoles who account for around 31% of the population, East Indians who
account for around 37%, Indonesians for around 15%, Bush Negroes for around
10%, AmerIndians for 3%, Europeans for around 1% and Chinese for around
2% of the population.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 2.5 persons per sq km
(6.6 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 65.2% urban, 34.8% rural (1988).
Sex Distribution; 49.5% male, 50.5% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
67.1 years male, 72.1 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 34% under 15,
33% 15 to 29, 17% 30 to 44, 10% 45 to 59, 5% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1991).
Birth Rate; 23.2 per 1,000 (1988). Death Rate; 6.1 per 1,000 (1988). Increase
Rate; 17.1 per 1,000 (1988). Infant Mortality Rate; 27.6 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Around 22% of the population are Roman Catholic while
15% are Moravian, 26% are Hindu, 19% are Muslim and the remainder follow
local native tribal beliefs.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Dutch, although most of the
population speak a Pidgin English known as Sranang Tongo or Taki-Taki.
English is also widely spoken among the educated.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: N/A. Literacy;
literate population aged 15 or over 262,700 or 94.9% (1990).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1948 universal adult suffrage
was introduced and in 1950 Suriname was granted internal self-government.
In 1954 Suriname became an overseas territory of the Dutch Kingdom. During
the early and mid 1970's the Creoles led a movement for full independence,
although the Hindustanis opposed independence and racial unrest escalated.
On Nov. 25, 1975 Suriname gained full independence with Henck Arron as
its Prime Minister. In Feb. 1980 a group of noncommissioned officers overthrew
the government, appointed Dr Henk Chin A Sen as Prime Minister and abolished
the Parliament. In Feb. 1982 Chin A Sen was dismissed and a new government
established, in which both civilians and the military held power in a cabinet.
In Dec. 1982 demonstrations and protests resulted in the deaths of 15 civilians
by the armed forces and in Feb. 1983 a new civilian cabinet was appointed,
which in turn was replaced by another in Jan. 1984. In Jan. 1985 a nominated
National Assembly was established and in 1987 the military leaders permitted
a referendum which resulted in the approval of a new constitution. In 1986
antigovernment rebels led by Ronny Brunswijk embarked on a guerrilla campaign
against the army. In Jan. 1988 Ramsewak Shankar was elected President and
Arron was reelected Prime Minister as well as Vice President. In Mar. 1990
Brunswijk was arrested after negotiations, at the invitation of Pres. Shankar,
where he announced he had proof the military command was engaged in illegal
cocaine trafficking. In Sept. 1990 the National Army had all but isolated
the rebels led by Brunswijk and in Dec 1990 Lt.-Col. Desi Bouterse who
ruled the country from 1980 to 1988 resigned as commander of the armed
forces. On Dec. 24, 1990 his replacement Lt. Ivan Graanoogst led a coup
that ousted Pres. Shankar and appointed Johan Kraag as interim President
who re-instated Bouterse as commander. In Mar. 1991 Lt.-Col. Bouterse and
rebel leader, Ronny Brunswijk agreed on a cease-fire pending peace-talks.
On May 25, 1991 elections were held with the New Front for Democracy and
Development (NF) winning 30 of the 51 seats followed by the Army-backed
National Democratic Party which gained 12 seats. On Sept. 16, 1991 Ronald
Venetiaan of the NF was inaugurated as President with Jules Adjodhia as
Prime Minister. On Mar. 21, 1992 the government requested that the National
Assembly remove references in the constitution that allowed the army to
act in a way that contravened the functioning of a democratic constitutional
state. In May 1992 Brubswijk's Surinamese Liberation Army and Thomas Sabajo's
Tucayana Amazonas announced a truce against the government and in Aug.
1992 signed a draft peace treaty. The treaty included a general amnesty
and integration of the rebels into the police force. On Aug. 24, 1992 the
Surinamese Liberation Army disarmed following meetings with the Organization
of American States. Also in 1992 Pres. Venetiaan visited US Pres. George
Bush requesting possible assistance in the case of another coup attempt
and the Netherlands agreed to resume aid of some 1 billion guilders over
the next five years. On April 5, 1993 Siegfried Gilds, the Minister of
Defense, appointed Col. Arthy Gorre as commander of the army in an attempt
to restore discipline, that resulted in a mutiny and threat of a new coup.
On May 12, 1993 the National Assembly ratified Col. Gorre's appointment
and requested the resignation of the rebellious officers. On Aug. 8, 1993
Arti Jesserun of the Suriname National Party and Dilip Sardjoe of the Progressive
Reform Party (PRP) both resigned over allegations of accepting bribes from
Dutch trading companies. Also in 1993 the Netherlands suspended its financial
aid to Suriname following a EU report claimed Pres. Venetiaan was responsible
for the country's high inflation rate as a result of failing to restructure
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Guilder (Sf) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $488,000,000 (1993). Public
Debt; USD $138,000,000 (1990). Imports; USD $520,500,000 (1993). Exports;
USD $443,300,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $11,000,000 (1992). Balance
of Trade; USD -$77,200,000 (1993). Economically Active Population; 138,000
or 33.6% of total population (1992). Unemployed; 13.4% (1992).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
the Netherlands, other EU countries and other European countries.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Bauxite, Cattle, Citrus Fruits,
Cocoa, Coconuts, Coffee, Rice, Sugar, Timber.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Alumina Refining, Aluminum, Bauxite
Mining, Forestry, Timber Processing.
MAIN EXPORTS: Alumina and Aluminum, Bauxite, Rice, Timber and Timber
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 167 km (104 mi) (1987), passenger-km
N.A., cargo ton-km N/A. Roads; length 8,888 km (5,523 mi) (1987). Vehicles;
cars 32,102 (1987), trucks and buses 12,137 (1987). Merchant Marine; vessels
23 (1990), deadweight tonnage 15,721 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km
554,759,000 (344,711,000 passenger-mi) (1988), cargo ton-km 22,973,000
(15,734,000 short ton-mi) (1988).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 3 with a circulation
of 25,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 290,256 (1993). Television; receivers
59,598 (1993). Telephones; units 46,900 (1993).
MILITARY: 1,800 (1995) total active duty personnel with 77.8%
army, 13.3% navy and 8.9% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 1.1% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
© 1993-2011, Latimer Clarke Corporation Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved
Use of these site materials or portion thereof is restricted
Atlapedia is a trademark and in worldwide use
See our Legal Notice for Copyright and Linking conditions of use
Best viewed at 1024x768 or higher