Monday, September 2, 2013

95. Suriname - Introduction

Suriname (or Surinam), officially known as the Rep

ublic of Suriname
 is a country in the north of South America. It is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west, Brazil to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the north, making it one of two countries, French Guiana the other, not to border any of the Spanish-speaking countries on the continent. Suriname was colonised by the English and the Dutch in the 17th century

In 1667 it was captured by the Dutch, who governed Suriname as Dutch Guiana until 1954. At that time it was designated as one of the constituent countries (Dutch: landen) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, next to the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles (dissolved in 2010). On 25 November 1975, the country of Suriname left the Kingdom of the Netherlands to become independent. A member of CARICOM, it is frequently considered a Caribbean country and has had frequent trade and cultural exchange with the Caribbean nations.

At just under 165,000 km2 (64,000 sq mi), Suriname is the smallest sovereign state in South America. (French Guiana, while less extensive and populous, is an overseas department of France.) Suriname has a population of approximately 566,000, most of whom live on the country's north coast, where the capital Paramaribo is located. The official language is Dutch. It is the only independent entity in the Americas where Dutch is spoken.
The name Suriname may derive from a Taino (Arawak-speaking) group called Surinen, who occupied the region before European arrival.
English settlers, who founded the first European colony at Marshall's Creek along the Suriname River, spelled the name as "Surinam". Taken over by the Dutch, it became part of a group of colonies known as Dutch Guiana. Surinam can still be found in English. A notable example is Suriname's national airline, Surinam Airways. The older English name is reflected in the English pronunciation, /ˈsʊrɨnæm/ or /ˈsʊrɨnɑːm/. In Dutch, the official language of Suriname, the pronunciation is [ˌsyriˈnaːmə], with the main stress on the third syllable and a schwa terminal vowel.