Wikipedia Entry for Suriname, Read by Jason

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Suriname, officially the Republic of Suriname, is a sovereign state in northern South America. Situated slightly north of the equator within the tropics, over 90% of its territory is covered by rainforests, the highest proportion of forest cover in the world. Suriname is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, and Brazil to the south. It is the smallest country in South America by both population and territory, with around 612,985 inhabitants in an area of approximately 163,820 square kilometers (63,251 square miles). The capital and largest city is Paramaribo, home to roughly half the population.
Suriname was inhabited as early as the fourth millennium BC by various indigenous peoples, including the Arawaks, Caribs, and Wayana. Europeans arrived in the 16th century, with the Dutch establishing control over much of the country's current territory by the late 17th century. During the Dutch colonial period, Suriname was a lucrative source of sugar. Its plantation economy was initially driven by African slave labour; with the abolition of slavery in 1863, indentured servants were brought from Asia, predominantly from British India and the Dutch East Indies. In 1954, Suriname became a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 25 November 1975, it became independent following negotiations with the Dutch government. Suriname continues to maintain close diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties with the Netherlands.
Suriname's culture and society strongly reflect the legacy of Dutch colonial rule. It is the only sovereign nation outside Europe where Dutch is the official and prevailing language of government, business, media, and education; an estimated 60% of the population speak Dutch as a native language. Sranan Tongo, an English-based creole language, is a widely used lingua franca. Most Surinamese are descendants of slaves and labourers brought from Africa and Asia by the Dutch. Suriname is highly diverse, with no ethnic group forming a majority; proportionally, its Muslim and Hindu populations are the largest and third largest, respectively, in the Americas. Most people live along the northern coast, in and around Paramaribo, making Suriname one of the least densely populated countries on Earth.
Suriname is a developing country with a relatively high level of human development; its economy is heavily dependent on its abundant natural resources, namely bauxite, gold, petroleum, and agricultural products. Suriname is a member of the Caribbean Community, the United Nations, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The name Suriname may derive from an indigenous people called Surinen, who inhabited the area at the time of European contact. The suffix -ame, common in Surinamese river and place names (see also the Coppename River), may come from aima or eima, meaning river or creek mouth, in Lokono, an Arawak language spoken in the country. The earliest European sources give variants of "Suriname" as the name of the river on which colonies were eventually founded. Lawrence Kemys wrote in his Relation of the Second Voyage to Guiana of passing a river called "Shurinama" as he travelled along the coast. In 1598, a fleet of three Dutch ships visiting the Wild Coast mention passing the river "Surinamo". In 1617, a Dutch notary spelled the name of the river on which a Dutch trading post had existed three years earlier as "Surrenant". British settlers, who in 1630 founded the first European colony at Marshall's Creek along the Suriname River, spelled the name as "Surinam"; this would long remain the standard spelling in English. The Dutch navigator David Pietersz. de Vries wrote of travelling up the "Sername" river in 1634 until he encountered the English colony there; the terminal vowel remained in future Dutch spellings and pronunciations. The river was called Soronama in a 1640 Spanish manuscript entitled "General Description of All His Majesty's Dominions in America". In 1653, instructions given to a British fleet sailing to meet Lord Willoughby in Barbados, which at the time was the seat of English colonial government in the region, again spelled the name of the colony Surinam. A 1663 royal charter said the region around the river was "called Serrinam also Surrinam". As a result of the Surrinam spelling, 19th-century British sources offered the folk etymology Surryham, saying it was the name given to the Suriname River by Lord Willoughby in the 1660s in honour of the Duke of Norfolk and Earl of Surrey when an English colony was established under a grant from King Charles II. This folk etymology can be found repeated in later English-language sources. When the territory was taken over by the Dutch, it became part of a group of colonies known as Dutch Guiana. The official spelling of the country's English name was changed from "Surinam" to "Suriname" in January 1978, but "Surinam" can still be found in English, such as Suriname's national airline Surinam Airways. The older English name is reflected in the English pronunciation,

Indigenous settlement of Suriname dates back to 3,000 BC. The largest tribes were the Arawak, a nomadic coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing. They were the first inhabitants in the area. The Carib also settled in the area and conquered the Arawak by using their superior sailing ships. They settled in Galibi (Kupali Yumï, meaning "tree of the forefathers") at the mouth of the Marowijne River. While the larger Arawak and Carib tribes lived along the coast and savanna, smaller groups of indigenous people lived in the inland rainforest, such as the Akurio, Trió, Warrau, and Wayana.

Beginning in the 16th century, French, Spanish and English explorers visited the area. A century later, Dutch and English settlers established plantation colonies along the many rivers in the fertile Guiana plains. The earliest documented colony in Guiana was an English settlement named Marshall's Creek along the Suriname River. After that, there was another short-lived English colony called Surinam that lasted from 1650 to 1667.

Disputes arose between the Dutch and the English for control of this territory. In 1667, during negotiations leading to the Treaty of Breda after the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch decided to keep the nascent plantation colony of Surinam they had gained from the English. In return the English kept New Amsterdam, the main city of the former colony of New Netherland in North America on the mid-Atlantic coast. The British renamed it New York City, after the Duke of York who would later become King James II of England. In 1683, the Society of Suriname was founded by the city of Amsterdam, the Van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck family, and the Dutch West India Company. The society was chartered to manage and defend the colony. The planters of the colony relied heavily on African slaves to cultivate, harvest and process the commodity crops of coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and cotton plantations along the rivers. Planters' treatment of the slaves was notoriously brutal even by the standards of the time—historian C. R. Boxer wrote that "man's inhumanity to man just about reached its limits in Surinam"—and many slaves escaped the plantations. In November 1795, the Society was nationalized by the Batavian Republic and from then on the Batavian Republic and its legal successors (the Kingdom of Holland and the Kingdom of the Netherlands) governed the territory as a national colony – barring two periods of British occupation, between 1799 and 1802, and between 1804 and 1816.
With the help of the native South Americans living in the adjoining rain forests, runaway slaves established a new and unique culture in the interior that was highly successful in its own right. They were known collectively in English as Maroons, in French as Nèg'Marrons (literally meaning "brown negroes", that is "pale-skinned negroes"), and in Dutch as Marrons. The Maroons gradually developed several independent tribes through a process of ethnogenesis, as they were made up of slaves from different African ethnicities. These tribes include the Saramaka, Paramaka, Ndyuka or Aukan, Kwinti, Aluku or Boni, and Matawai.
The Maroons often raided plantations to recruit new members from the slaves and capture women, as well as to acquire weapons, food, and supplies. They sometimes killed planters and their families in the raids. Colonists built defenses, which were significant enough that they were shown on 18th-century maps. The colonists also mounted armed campaigns against the Maroons, who generally escaped through the rainforest, which they knew much better than the colonists did. To end hostilities, in the 18th century, the European colonial authorities signed several peace treaties with different tribes. They granted the Maroons sovereign status and trade rights in their inland territories, giving them autonomy.

From 1861 to 1863, with the American Civil War underway, and enslaved people escaping to Northern territory controlled by the Union, United States President Abraham Lincoln and his administration looked abroad for places to relocate people who were freed from enslavement and who wanted to leave the United States. It opened negotiations with the Dutch government regarding African-American emigration to and colonization of the Dutch colony of Suriname. Nothing came of the idea, and the idea was dropped after 1864. The Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname in 1863, under a gradual process that required slaves to work on plantations for 10 transition years for minimal pay, which was considered as partial compensation for their masters. After that transition period expired in 1873, most freedmen largely abandoned the plantations where they had worked for several generations in favor of the capital city, Paramaribo. Some of them were able to purchase the plantations they worked on, especially in the district of Para and Coronie. Their descendants still live on those grounds today. Several plantation owners did not pay their former enslaved workers the pay they owed them for the ten years following 1863. They paid the workers with the property rights of the ground of the plantation in order to escape their debt to the workers.
As a plantation colony, Suriname had an economy dependent on labor-intensive commodity crops. To make up for a shortage of labor, the Dutch recruited and transported contract or indentured laborers from the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia) and India (the latter through an arrangement with the British, who then ruled the area). In addition, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, small numbers of laborers, mostly men, were recruited from China and the Middle East.
Although Suriname's population remains relatively small, because of this complex colonization and exploitation, it is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse countries in the world.

During World War II, on 23 November 1941, under an agreement with the Netherlands government-in-exile, the United States sent 2,000 soldiers to Suriname to protect the bauxite mines to support the Allies' war effort. In 1942, the Dutch government-in-exile began to review the relations between the Netherlands and its colonies in terms of the post-war period. In 1954, Suriname became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands. In this construction, the Netherlands retained control of its defense and foreign affairs. In 1974, the local government, led by the National Party of Suriname (NPS) (whose membership was largely Creole, meaning ethnically African or mixed African-European) started negotiations with the Dutch government leading towards full independence; in contrast to Indonesia's earlier war for independence from the Netherlands, the path toward Suriname's independence had been an initiative of the then left-wing Dutch government. Independence was granted on 25 November 1975. A large part of Suriname's economy for the first decade following independence was fueled by foreign aid provided by the Dutch government.

The first President of the country was Johan Ferrier, the former governor, with Henck Arron (the then leader of the NPS) as Prime Minister. In the years leading up to independence, nearly one-third of the population of Suriname emigrated to the Netherlands, amidst concern that the new country would fare worse under independence than it had as a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Surinamese politics did degenerate into ethnic polarisation and corruption soon after independence, with the NPS using Dutch aid money for partisan purposes. Its leaders were accused of fraud in the 1977 elections, in which Arron won a further term, and the discontent was such that a large portion of the population fled to the Netherlands, joining the already significant Surinamese community there.

On 25 February 1980, a military coup overthrew Arron's government. It was initiated by a group of 16 sergeants, led by Dési Bouterse. Opponents of the military regime attempted counter-coups in April 1980, August 1980, 15 March 1981, and again on 12 March 1982. The first counter attempt was led by Fred Ormskerk, the second by Marxist-Leninists, the third by Wilfred Hawker, and the fourth by Surendre Rambocus.
Hawker escaped from prison during the fourth counter-coup attempt, but he was captured and summarily executed. Between 2 am and 5 am on 7 December 1982, the military, under Bouterse's leadership, rounded up 13 prominent citizens who had criticized the military dictatorship and held them at Fort Zeelandia in Paramaribo. The dictatorship had all these men executed over the next three days, along with Rambocus and Jiwansingh Sheombar (who was also involved in the fourth counter-coup attempt).

The brutal civil war between the Suriname army and Maroons loyal to rebel leader Ronnie Brunswijk, begun in 1986, continued and its effects further weakened Bouterse's position during the 1990s. Due to the civil war, more than 10,000 Surinamese, mostly Maroons, fled to French Guiana in the late 1980s. National elections were held in 1987. The National Assembly adopted a new constitution that allowed Bouterse to remain in charge of the army. Dissatisfied with the government, Bouterse summarily dismissed the ministers in 1990, by telephone. This event became popularly known as the "Telephone Coup". His power began to wane after the 1991 elections.
At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Suriname became the smallest independent South American state to win its first ever Olympic medal as Anthony Nesty won gold in the 100-metre butterfly.
The first half of 1999 was marked by non-violent national protests against poor general economic and social conditions. By mid-year, the Netherlands tried Bouterse in absentia on drug-smuggling charges. He was convicted and sentenced to prison but remained in Suriname.

On 19 July 2010, Bouterse returned to power when he was elected as the president of Suriname. Before his election in 2010, he, along with 24 others, had been charged with the murders of 15 prominent dissidents in the December murders. However, in 2012, two months before the verdict in the trial, the National Assembly extended its amnesty law and provided Bouterse and the others with amnesty of these charges. He was reelected on 14 July 2015. However, Bouterse was convicted by a Surinamese court on 29 November 2019 and given a 20-year sentence for his role in the 1982 killings.

After winning the 2020 elections, Chan Santokhi was the sole nomination for president of Suriname. On 13 July, Santokhi was elected president by acclamation in an uncontested election. He was inaugurated on 16 July in a ceremony without public attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In February 2023, there were heavy protests against rising living costs in the capital Paramaribo. Protesters accused the government of President Chan Santokhi of corruption. They stormed the National Assembly, demanding the government to resign. However, the government condemned the protests.

The Republic of Suriname is a representative democratic republic, based on the Constitution of 1987. The legislative branch of government consists of a 51-member unicameral National Assembly, simultaneously and popularly elected for a five-year term.
In the elections held on Tuesday 25 May 2010, the Megacombinatie won 23 of the National Assembly seats, followed by Nationale Front with 20 seats. A much smaller number, important for coalition-building, went to the "A-combinatie" and to the Volksalliantie. The parties held negotiations to form coalitions. Elections were held on 25 May 2015, and the National Assembly again elected Dési Bouterse as president. The president of Suriname is elected for a five-year term by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly. If at least two-thirds of the National Assembly cannot agree to vote for one presidential candidate, a People's Assembly is formed from all National Assembly delegates and regional and municipal representatives who were elected by popular vote in the most recent national election. The president may be elected by a majority of the People's Assembly called for the special election.
As head of government, the president appoints a sixteen-minister cabinet. A vice president is normally elected for a five-year term at the same time as the president, by a simple majority in the National Assembly or People's Assembly. There is no constitutional provision for removal or replacement of the president, except in the case of resignation.
The judiciary is headed by the High Court of Justice of Suriname (Supreme Court). This court supervises the magistrate courts. Members are appointed for life by the president in consultation with the National Assembly, the State Advisory Council, and the National Order of Private Attorneys.

Due to Suriname's Dutch colonial history, Suriname had a long-standing special relationship with the Netherlands.
In 1999, Dési Bouterse was convicted and sentenced in absentia in the Netherlands to 11 years of imprisonment for drug trafficking. He was the main suspect in the court case concerning the December murders, the 1982 assassination of opponents of military rule in Fort Zeelandia, Paramaribo. He served as president between 2010 and 2020. These two cases still strain relations between the Netherlands and Suriname. The Dutch government stated during that time that it would maintain limited contact with the president. Bouterse was elected as president of Suriname in 2010. The Netherlands in July 2014 dropped Suriname as a member of its development program. Since 1991, the United States has maintained positive relations with Suriname. The two countries work together through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) and the U. S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Suriname also receives military funding from the U. S. Department of Defense. European Union relations and cooperation with Suriname are carried out both on a bilateral and a regional basis. There are ongoing EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and EU-CARIFORUM dialogues. Suriname is party to the Cotonou Agreement, the partnership agreement among the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union. On 17 February 2005, the leaders of Barbados and Suriname signed the "Agreement for the deepening of bilateral cooperation between the Government of Barbados and the Government of the Republic of Suriname. " On 23–24 April 2009, both nations formed a Joint Commission in Paramaribo, Suriname, to improve relations and to expand into various areas of cooperation. They held a second meeting toward this goal on 3–4 March 2011, in Dover, Barbados. Their representatives reviewed issues of agriculture, trade, investment, as well as international transport. In the late 2000s, Suriname intensified development cooperation with other developing countries. China's South-South cooperation with Suriname has included a number of large-scale infrastructure projects, including port rehabilitation and road construction. Brazil signed agreements to cooperate with Suriname in education, health, agriculture, and energy production.

The Armed Forces of Suriname have three branches: the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy. The president of the Republic is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (Opperbevelhebber van de Strijdkrachten). The president is assisted by the minister of defence. Beneath the president and minister of defence is the commander of the armed forces (Bevelhebber van de Strijdkrachten). The military branches and regional military commands report to the commander.
After the creation of the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Army was entrusted with the defense of Suriname, while the defense of the Netherlands Antilles was the responsibility of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The army set up a separate Troepenmacht in Suriname (Forces in Suriname, TRIS). Upon independence in 1975, this force was turned into the Surinaamse Krijgsmacht (SKM):, Surinamese Armed Forces. After the 1980 overthrow of the government, the SKM was rebranded as the Nationaal Leger (NL), National Army.
In 1965, the Dutch and Americans used Suriname's Coronie site for multiple Nike Apache sounding rocket launches.

The country is divided into ten administrative districts, each headed by a district commissioner appointed by the president, who also has the power of dismissal. Suriname is further subdivided into 62 resorts (ressorten).

Suriname is the smallest independent country in South America. Situated on the Guiana Shield, it lies mostly between latitudes 1° and 6°N, and longitudes 54° and 58°W. The country can be divided into two main geographic regions. The northern, lowland coastal area (roughly above the line Albina-Paranam-Wageningen) has been cultivated, and most of the population lives here. The southern part consists of tropical rainforest and sparsely inhabited savanna along the border with Brazil, covering about 80% of Suriname's land surface.
The two main mountain ranges are the Bakhuys Mountains and the Van Asch Van Wijck Mountains. Julianatop is the highest mountain in the country at 1,286 metres (4,219 ft) above sea level. Other mountains include Tafelberg at 1,026 metres (3,366 ft), Mount Kasikasima at 718 metres (2,356 ft), Goliathberg at 358 metres (1,175 ft) and Voltzberg at 240 metres (790 ft).
Suriname contains six terrestrial ecoregions: Guayanan Highlands moist forests, Guianan moist forests, Paramaribo swamp forests, Tepuis, Guianan savanna, and Guianan mangroves. Its forest cover is 90.2%, the highest of any nation in the world. The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 9.39/10, ranking it fifth globally out of 172 countries.

Suriname is situated between French Guiana to the east and Guyana to the west. The southern border is shared with Brazil and the northern border is the Atlantic coast. The southernmost borders with French Guiana and Guyana are disputed by these countries along the Marowijne and Corantijn rivers, respectively, while a part of the disputed maritime boundary with Guyana was arbitrated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration convened under the rules set out in Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on 20 September 2007.

Lying two to five degrees north of the equator, Suriname has a very hot and wet tropical climate, and temperatures do not vary much throughout the year. Average relative humidity is between 80% and 90%. Its average temperature ranges from 29 to 34 °C (84 to 93 °F). Due to the high humidity, actual temperatures are distorted and may therefore feel up to 6 °C (11 °F) hotter than the recorded temperature.
The year has two wet seasons, from April to August and from November to February. It also has two dry seasons, from August to November and February to April.
Climate change in Suriname is leading to warmer temperatures and more extreme weather events. As a relatively poor country, its contributions to global climate change have been limited. Because of the large forest cover, the country has been running a carbon negative economy since 2014.

Due to the variety of habitats and temperatures, biodiversity in Suriname is considered high. In October 2013, 16 international scientists researching the ecosystems during a three-week expedition in Suriname's Upper Palumeu River Watershed catalogued 1,378 species and found 60—including six frogs, one snake, and 11 fish—that may be previously unknown species. According to the environmental non-profit Conservation International, which funded the expedition, Suriname's ample supply of fresh water is vital to the biodiversity and healthy ecosystems of the region. Snakewood (Brosimum guianense), a tree, is native to this tropical region of the Americas. Customs in Suriname report that snakewood is often illegally exported to French Guiana, thought to be for the crafts industry. On 21 March 2013, Suriname's REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP 2013) was approved by the member countries of the Participants Committee of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). As in other parts of Central and South America, indigenous communities have increased their activism to protect their lands and preserve habitat. In March 2015, the "Trio and Wayana communities presented a declaration of cooperation to the National Assembly of Suriname that announces an indigenous conservation corridor spanning 72,000 square kilometers (27,799 square miles) of southern Suriname. The declaration, led by these indigenous communities and with the support of Conservation International (CI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas, comprises almost half of the total area of Suriname. This area includes large forests and is considered "essential for the country's climate resilience, freshwater security, and green development strategy. "
The Central Suriname Nature Reserve has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unspoiled forests and biodiversity. There are many national parks in the country, including Galibi National Reserve along the coast; Brownsberg Nature Park and Eilerts de Haan Nature Park in central Suriname; and the Sipaliwani Nature Reserve on the Brazilian border. In all, 16% of the country's land area is national parks and lakes, according to the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Suriname's extensive tree cover is vital to the country's efforts to mitigate climate change and maintain carbon negativity.

Suriname's democracy gained some strength after the turbulent 1990s, and its economy became more diversified and less dependent on Dutch financial assistance. Bauxite (aluminium ore) mining used to be a strong revenue source but has ended now. The discovery and exploitation of oil and gold has added substantially to Suriname's economic independence. Agriculture, especially rice and bananas, remains a strong component of the economy, and ecotourism is providing new economic opportunities. More than 93% of Suriname's landmass consists of unspoiled rainforest. With the establishment of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve in 1998, Suriname signaled its commitment to the conservation of this precious resource. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve became a World Heritage Site in 2000.
The economy of Suriname was dominated by the bauxite industry, which accounted for more than 15% of GDP and 70% of export earnings up to 2016. Other main export products include rice, bananas, and shrimp. Suriname has recently started exploiting some of its sizeable oil and gold reserves. About a quarter of the people work in the agricultural sector. The Surinamese economy is very dependent on commerce, its main trade partners being the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, and Caribbean countries, mainly Trinidad and Tobago and the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles.
After assuming power in the fall of 1996, the Wijdenbosch government ended the structural adjustment program of the previous government, claiming it was unfair to the poorer elements of society. Tax revenues fell as old taxes lapsed and the government failed to implement new tax alternatives. By the end of 1997, the allocation of new Dutch development funds was frozen as Surinamese Government relations with the Netherlands deteriorated. Economic growth slowed in 1998, with decline in the mining, construction, and utility sectors. Rampant government expenditures, poor tax collection, a bloated civil service, and reduced foreign aid in 1999 contributed to the fiscal deficit, estimated at 11% of GDP. The government sought to cover this deficit through monetary expansion, which led to a dramatic increase in inflation. It takes longer on average to register a new business in Suriname than virtually any other country in the world (694 days or about 99 weeks).
GDP (2010 est. ): US$4.794 billion.
Annual growth rate real GDP (2010 est. ): 3.5%.
Per capita GDP (2010 est. ): US$9,900.
Inflation (2007): 6.4%.
Natural resources: Bauxite, gold, oil, iron ore, other minerals; forests; hydroelectric potential; fish and shrimp.

Agriculture: Products—rice, bananas, timber, palm kernels, coconuts, peanuts, citrus fruits, and forest products.
Industry: Types—alumina, oil, gold, fish, shrimp, lumber.
Exports (2012): US$2.563 billion: alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas. Major consumers: US 26.1%, Belgium 17.6%, UAE 12.1%, Canada 10.4%, Guyana 6.5%, France 5.6%, Barbados 4.7%.
Imports (2012): US$1.782 billion: capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods. Major suppliers: US 25.8%, Netherlands 15.8%, China 9.8%, UAE 7.9%, Antigua and Barbuda 7.3%, Netherlands Antilles 5.4%, Japan 4.2%.

In 2022, Suriname had a population of roughly 618,040 according to estimates by the United Nations. This compares to 541,638 inhabitants from the 2012 census. The Surinamese populace is characterized by high levels of diversity, wherein no particular demographic group constitutes a majority. This is a legacy of centuries of Dutch rule, which entailed successive periods of forced, contracted, or voluntary migration by various nationalities and ethnic groups from around the world.

The largest ethnic group are Indians, who form over a quarter of the population (27.4%). The vast majority are descendants of 19th-century indentured workers from India, hailing mostly from Bhojpuri speaking areas of modern Bihar, Jharkhand, and northeastern Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and southeastern Tamil Nadu. If counted as one ethnic group, the Afro-Surinamese are the largest community, at around 37.4%, however, they are usually divided into two cultural/ethnic groups: the Creoles and the Maroons. Surinamese Maroons, whose ancestors are mostly runaway slaves that fled to the interior, comprise 21.7% of the population. They are divided into six tribes: Ndyuka (Aucans), Saramaccans, Paramaccans, Kwinti, Aluku (Boni) and Matawai. Surinamese Creoles, mixed people descending from African slaves and Europeans (mostly Dutch), form 15.7% of the population. Javanese make up 14% of the population, and like the East Indians, descend largely from workers contracted from the island of Java in the former Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia). 13.4% of the population identifies as being of mixed ethnic heritage. Chinese, originating from 19th-century indentured workers and some recent migration, make up 7.3% of the population.
Other groups include Lebanese, primarily Maronites, and Jews of Sephardic and Ashkenazi origin, whose center of population was Jodensavanne. Various indigenous peoples make up 3.7% of the population, with the main groups being the Akurio, Arawak, Kalina (Caribs), Tiriyo and Wayana. They live mainly in the districts of Paramaribo, Wanica, Para, Marowijne and Sipaliwini. A small but influential number of Europeans remain in the country, comprising about 1% of the population. They are descended mostly from Dutch 19th-century immigrant farmers, known as "Boeroes" (derived from boer, the Dutch word for "farmer"), and to a lesser degree other European groups, such as Portuguese. Many Boeroes left after independence in 1975.
More recently Suriname has seen a new wave of immigrants, namely Brazilians and Chinese (many of them laborers mining for gold). Most do not have legal status. The vast majority of Suriname's inhabitants (about 90%) live in Paramaribo or on the coast.

The option to choose between Surinamese or Dutch citizenship in the years leading up to Suriname's independence in 1975 led to a mass migration to the Netherlands. This migration continued in the period immediately after independence and during military rule in the 1980s and for largely economic reasons extended throughout the 1990s. The Surinamese community in the Netherlands numbered 350,300 as of 2013 (including children and grandchildren of Suriname migrants born in the Netherlands), compared to approximately 566,000 Surinamese in Suriname itself. According to the International Organization for Migration, around 272,600 people from Suriname lived in other countries in the late 2010s, in particular in the Netherlands (c.  192,000), France (c. 25,000, most of them in French Guiana), the United States (c. 15,000), Guyana (c. 5,000), Aruba (c. 1,500), and Canada (c. 1,000).

According to the 2020 census, 52.3% of Surinamese were Christians; 26.7% were Protestants (11.18% Pentecostal, 11.16% Moravian, 0.7% Reformed (including Remonstrants), and 4.4% other Protestant denominations), while 21.6% were Catholics. Hindus are the second largest religious group in Suriname, comprising nearly one-fifth of the population (18.8% in 2020), the third largest proportion of any country in the Western Hemisphere, after Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, both of which also have large proportions of Indians. Likewise, almost all practitioners of Hinduism are found among the Indo-Surinamese population. Muslims constitute 14.3% of the population, the highest proportion of Muslims in the Americas. They are largely of Javanese or Indian descent. Folk religions are practiced by 5.6% of the population and include Winti, an Afro-American religion practiced mostly by those of Maroon ancestry, Javanism (0.8%), a syncretic faith found among some Javanese Surinamese, and various indigenous folk traditions that are often incorporated into one of the larger religions (usually Christianity). In the 2020 census, 6.2% of the population declared they had "no religion", while a further 1.9% adhere to "other religions".

Suriname has roughly 14 local languages, but Dutch (Nederlands) is the sole official language and is the language used in education, government, business, and the media. Over 60% of the population are native speakers of Dutch and around 20%–30% speak it as a second language. In 2004, Suriname became an associate member of the Dutch Language Union. Suriname is one of three Dutch-speaking sovereign countries in the world (the others being the Netherlands and Belgium). It is also the only area in the Americas where Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population (as the Caribbean territories in the Kingdom of the Netherlands all have other majority languages). Finally, Suriname and English-speaking Guyana are the only countries in South America along with English-speaking British dependent territory Falkland Islands where a Romance language does not predominate.
In Paramaribo, Dutch is the main home language in two-thirds of the households. The recognition of "Surinaams-Nederlands" ("Surinamese Dutch") as a national dialect equal to "Nederlands-Nederlands" ("Dutch Dutch") and "Vlaams-Nederlands" ("Flemish Dutch") was expressed in 2009 by the publication of the Woordenboek Surinaams Nederlands (Surinamese–Dutch Dictionary). It is the most commonly spoken language in urban areas. Only in the interior of Suriname (namely parts of Sipaliwini and Brokopondo) is Dutch seldom spoken.
Sranan Tongo, a local English-based creole language, is the most widely used vernacular language in daily life and business. Together with Dutch, it is considered to be one of the two principal languages of Surinamese diglossia. Both are further influenced by other spoken languages which are spoken primarily within ethnic communities. Sranan Tongo is often used interchangeably with Dutch depending on the formality of the setting; Dutch is seen as a prestige dialect and Sranan Tongo the common vernacular. Sarnami, a fusion of Bhojpuri and Awadhi, is the third-most used language. It is primarily spoken by the descendants of Indian indentured labourers from the former British India.
The six Maroon languages of Suriname are also considered English-based creole languages, and include Saramaccan, Aukan, Aluku, Paramaccan, Matawai and Kwinti. Aluku, Paramaccan, and Kwinti are so mutually intelligible with Aukan that they can be considered dialects of the Aukan language. The same can be said about Matawai, which is mutually intelligible with Saramaka.
Javanese is used by the descendants of the Javanese people, which were indentured laborers sent from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).
Amerindian languages include Akurio, Arawak-Lokono, Carib-Kari'nja, Sikiana-Kashuyana, Tiro-Tiriyó, Waiwai, Warao, and Wayana.
Hakka and Cantonese are spoken by the descendants of the Chinese indentured labourers. Mandarin is spoken by the recent wave of Chinese immigrants.
English, Guyanese English Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and French Guianese Creole are spoken at areas near the country's borders where there are many migrants from neighboring countries speaking their respective languages.

The national capital, Paramaribo, is by far the dominant urban area, accounting for nearly half of Suriname's population and most of its urban residents. Indeed, its population is greater than the next nine largest cities combined. Most municipalities are located within the capital's metropolitan area, or along the densely populated coastline.

Owing to the country's multicultural heritage, Suriname celebrates a variety of distinct ethnic and religious festivals.

Wikipedia Entry for Suriname, Read by Jason
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