The Republic of Suriname is located in the northeast of South America. This state gained independence from the Netherlands not so long ago, in 1975. The former name of the colony is Netherlands Guiana. Suriname covers over 163, 000 square kilometers. A little more than half a million people live on such a fairly large area. The average density is less than three people per square kilometer.
11 interesting facts about Suriname
- For the first time, Europeans approached the shores of Suriname at the very end of the 15th century, in 1499. It was the expedition of the Spanish navigators Alonso de Ojeda and Vicente Pinsona. In the first half of the 17th century, the territory of present-day Suriname was colonized by the British, who handed it over to the Netherlands in 1667 in exchange for New Amsterdam.
- Suriname finally gained independence on November 25, 1975, and is now a national holiday.
- Virtually all of Suriname's population lives on the Atlantic coast. But in the interior of the country there are no more than 5 percent of the total population. This is due to the fact that almost the entire territory of the country is covered with forests. The flora and fauna are extremely diverse here, in the wild there are a huge number of jaguars, armadillos, monkeys, crocodiles, as well as snakes and birds. Even in the 21st century, biologists often find previously unknown species of animals, birds and insects in Suriname.
- There are currently no operating railways in Suriname. The only 166 km railway line was built in 1903-1912. It connected the capital of the country Paramaribo with the city of Lava. At the end of the last century, the railway was recognized as unprofitable, its operation was converted in 1987. In some places, you can still see rusting trains, which turned out to be unclaimed.
- Suriname has long been called the "sugar colony" of the Netherlands. Sugarcane was grown here, as well as coffee, cocoa, tobacco and cotton. But, at the end of the 19th century, large reserves of bauxite ores were discovered here, and then oil. The basis of the modern economy of Suriname is the extraction of bauxite, gold and oil. but agriculture employs only about 8 percent of the working-age population.
- The official language of Suriname is Dutch. At the same time, the local population speaks more than 30 languages. The natives of Suriname also have their own interethnic language, in which there are few words - only 340. Literacy in the country is quite high, among people over 15 years old, about 90 percent can read and write.
- Maroons live in remote areas of the country - the descendants of black slaves brought to local plantations in the 17th century. Some of them, fleeing the exploiters, fled to the forests, where they founded their settlements. Now in Suriname there are about 40, 000 of them. In the era of slavery, real hunts were arranged for the Maroons in order to return the fugitive slaves to their former masters. Only in the forties of the last century, some of the Maroons began to gradually merge into Surinamese society, moving from the forests to the coast.
- Diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Suriname were established in 1975, immediately after Suriname received the status of an independent state. In 1990, Soviet consul Stasis Obukauskas was assassinated in Suriname. He was found in the vicinity of Paramaribo with three bullet wounds to the head. A few days later, three criminals were arrested who confessed that they had committed the murder in order to seize and sell the Soviet diplomat's car.
- Representatives of the Wayana Indian people still live on the territory of Suriname. Their number is estimated at about 700 people. Even in the 21st century, the basis of their economic activity is agriculture with the use of primitive tools. Many tourists visiting Suriname are eager to buy products made by Indian artisans. The tribe has an interesting custom - to leave their village in the event of the death of the leader.
- Suriname has rather tense relations with its neighboring state - Guyana. And the subject of territorial disputes is the land between the rivers New River and the Koranteyn, which are located in Guyana. In 1969, there was even an armed clash. Despite the fact that further military conflicts were avoided, diplomatic disputes continue. Both Suriname and Guyana periodically detain fishermen who fish in disputed areas.
- Athletes from Suriname have participated in the Summer Olympics since 1960. But only one athlete during all this time managed to become a medalist, moreover, twice. In 1988, swimmer Anthony Nesty, who became a national hero, won gold and bronze medals in Seoul. Anthony Nesty is currently working as a coach in the United States at the University of Florida.