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History[edit | edit source]
Although first sighted by Columbus in 1498, the first successful settlement was not established until 1651. In 1667, the Netherlands acquired Suriname from Great Britain in exchange for Dutch rights in what is now Manhattan, New York. During the 18th and 19th centuries, amid slave uprisings and political turmoil, sovereignty of the country was shuffled among France, England, and the Netherlands. The Netherlands regained control in 1815. Suriname gained independence in 1975.
Suriname was long inhabited by various indigenous people before being invaded and contested by European powers from the 16th century, eventually coming under Dutch rule in the late 17th century. As the chief sugar colony during the Dutch colonial period, it was primarily a plantation economy dependent on African slaves and, following the abolition of slavery in 1863, indentured servants from Asia. Suriname was ruled by the Dutch-chartered company Sociëteit van Suriname between 1683 and 1795.
In 1954, Suriname became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 25 November 1975, the country of Suriname left the Kingdom of the Netherlands to become an independent state, nonetheless maintaining close economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties to its former colonizer. Suriname is considered to be a culturally Caribbean country, and is a member of the Caribbean Community.
While Dutch is the official language of government, business, media, and education, Sranan Tongo, an English-based creole language, is a widely used lingua franca. Suriname is the only sovereign nation outside Europe where Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population. As a legacy of colonization, the people of Suriname are among the most diverse in the world, spanning a multitude of ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups.
Timeline[edit | edit source]
1954 - Suriname became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands
1975 - Full independence was granted
1986 - The brutal civil war between the Suriname army and Maroons, more than 10,000 Surinamese, mostly Maroons, fled to French Guiana in the late 1980s