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The Republic of Suriname (also spelled Surinam) is a country in northern South America, in 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.
|National motto: Justitia - Pietas - Fides|
(Latin: Justice - Piety - Loyalty)
- % water
|Ranked 90th |
- Total (2001)
|From the Netherlands
November 25, 1975
|Time zone||UTC -4|
|National anthem||God zij met ons Suriname|
Though Dutch traders had established several colonies in the Guiana region before, the Dutch did not get hold of what is now Suriname until the Treaty of Breda[?], settling the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War.
After becoming an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1954, independence was granted in 1975. A military regime led by Desi Bouterse ruled the country in the 1980s, until democracy was re-established in 1988.
The National Assembly elects the head of the executive branch, the president, by a two-third majority. If no candidate achieves such a majority, the president is elected by the People's Assembly, a 340 member institute consisting of the National Assembly and regional representatives.
Suriname is divided into ten districts:
Suriname, the smallest country in South America, is situated on the Guiana Shield[?], the highest point being the Julianatop[?] (1,286 m above sea level). The land can be artificially divided into two parts. The northern, coastal area has been cultivated, and most of the population lives here. The southern part consists of sparsely inhabited tropical rainforest.
Lying near the equator, the climate in Suriname is tropical, and temperatures do not vary a lot throughout the year. The year has two rain seasons, from December to early February and from late April to mid-August.
Located in the north-east of the countries is the W.J. van Blommesteinmeer, a large reservoir lake.
The Surinamese population is made up of several minority groups. The large of them are the Hindustani, descendants of 19th century immigrants from India, about 37% of the population. The Creole, mixed white and black form about 31%, while the Javanese ("imported" from the former Dutch East Indies) and Maroons (descendants of escaped African slaves) make up 15 and 10 percent, respectively. The remainder is formed by Indians, Chinese and whites.
While Dutch is still the official language of Suriname, Sranang Tongo[?], originally a Creole language, is considered the lingua franca. The Surinamese of Asian descent often also speak their own languages.
Due to the mix of population groups, the Surinamese culture is very diverse.