This week we visit Suriname, a country on the northern coast of South America.
Formerly known as the Dutch Guiana, Suriname is one of the smallest countries in South America, both in terms of area and population. It has a tropical climate and nine-tenths of its area is covered with forests, containing more than a thousand species of trees. The Central Suriname Nature reserve is one of the largest protected areas of rainforest in the world, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.
People and Language
Suriname is one of the most diverse countries in South America in terms of ethnicity. South Asians (Hindustani peoples), Maroons (descendants of escaped slaves of African origin), Creoles, and Javanese (people from the island of Java in Indonesia) are the major ethnic groups. Dutch is the official language, but the extent to which members are able to use it differs. Most of the population learns it as a second language.
Suriname’s economy depends on its abundant supply of natural resources. It is one of the top producers of the bauxite, a type of rock with a high content of aluminum, often used commercially as the ore of aluminum.
Surinamese music is represented by groups such as the Fra Fra Bigband, an orchestra that blends indigenous forms of kaseko (dance music combining march, jazz, and calypso), kawina (Creole pop music), and winti (ritual music) to form Afro-Caribbean jazz. Suriname’s most popular sports include football (soccer), basketball, and volleyball. Fishing and hunting are common recreational sports.