Fast Facts

Paramaribo; 253,000
163,265 square kilometers (63,037 square miles)
Dutch, English, Sranang Tongo (Taki-Taki), Hindustani, Javanese
Hindu, Protestant (Moravian), Roman Catholic, Muslim
Surinamese dollar
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $3,400
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Suriname
Map: Suriname

Along the north coast of South America, Suriname is a small, but ethnically diverse, country. Most people are descendants of African slaves and Indian or Indonesian servants brought over by the Dutch to work in agriculture. Suriname, formerly known as Dutch Guiana, gained independence in 1975. Most Surinamers live in the narrow, northern coastal plain. Access to the interior rain forest and forest people is limited. Bauxite mining and alumina exports dominate trade; inexpensive power from the hydroelectric plant at Afobaka helps the economy. Boundary disputes with Guyana and French Guiana persist.


  • Industry: Bauxite and gold mining, alumina production, oil, lumbering, food processing
  • Agriculture: Paddy rice, bananas, palm kernels; beef; forest products; shrimp
  • Exports: Alumina, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

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