The second smallest nation on the South American continent, Suriname is also the country in the globe that has received the least amount of traveler attention. Northern and southern regions make up this country, which is located in the so-called Guiana Shield and is split between those two halves. The majority of the population lives in the city of Paramaribo, which is located in the northern lowland coastal zone. This region is also home to the country’s capital. Along the border with Brazil, the southern region of the country is dominated by tropical rainforests, which encompass approximately 80 percent of the land area. There are several distinct ethnic groups that make up the country’s total population of 481,267 people, with the Hindustanis constituting the largest of these groups at 27 percent of the population. The Hindustanis are mostly the descendants of contract workers who came from India in the 19th century. The two groups with the fewest members are the Brazilians, who number around 40,000, many of whom worked in the gold mines, and the Chinese, whose numbers are believed to be around 14,000, many of whom are also descendants of contract workers from the 19th century. The city of Paramaribo is located around 24 kilometers (15 miles) inland from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Coffee, fruits, lumber, bauxite, and tourism are all significant contributors to the city’s economy. There are two mountain groups in this nation: the Bakhuy Mountains and the Van Asoh Mountains. The Bakhuy Mountains contain Julianatop, which is the highest mountain in the country at 1,200 meters (4,419 feet) above sea level. The Tafelberg, which stands at 1,026 meters, is the second tallest peak (3386 ft.). The coastal plain has an average elevation of less than two meters, making it the lowest spot.
Deforestation, which makes it possible to chop down trees for export but also depletes the country’s forest resources, and the pollution of interior rivers caused by small-scale mining activities are two of the most significant environmental issues the country faces. Nevertheless, in spite of these environmental challenges, the country is gifted with tropical rainforests that are, for the most part, pristine and undeveloped.
CULTURE AND OLD WAYS OF DOING THINGS
The cultural traditions of Suriname are aligned with those of The Netherlands; nonetheless, despite its multi-cultural background, Suriname does not have a culture that is uniquely its own. The Dutch colonial influence can be seen in the architecture of central Paramaribo, particularly the Presidential Palace. However, the influence of South American architecture can be seen in the architecture of the Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul, which was the largest wooden structure built as early as the 19th century. Due to the country’s rich multi-cultural history, it celebrates a wide variety of festivals, each of which honors a different group of people, their religion, or their immigration to the country. Some examples of these celebrations include Emancipation Day, Day of the Indigenous People, Immigration of the Javanese, and Immigration of the Indians. In addition, the people of Suriname celebrate Hindu national holidays such as Divali and Phagwa, as well as Islamic national holidays such as Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-adha, according to the Islamic calendar; however, the exact dates of these holidays vary from year to year. People celebrate “Qud jaar,” which translates to “old year,” on the evening before the New Year by converging in the city’s commercial sector to watch fireworks and participate in a street party known as café t vat. They leave the street celebrations before midnight to return home and light their own fireworks to ring in the New Year, and they continue their revelry until dawn.
It is usual for a man to have many partners or wives at the same time in Hindustani culture, despite the fact that Hindustani custom requires the bride to be a virgin before the wedding. In spite of the fact that in Paramaribo there are interracial weddings, the custom in agricultural regions is for the parents to choose the spouses for their children, and the vast majority of people who marry within the same ethnic group. After marriage, the woman is permitted to continue working in agriculture for sustenance, but she is unable to assert that her position is equivalent to that of her husband.
Dutch is the only language recognized as official in Suriname, despite the fact that the nation is home to a population that speaks a variety of other tongues. In Paramaribo, the country’s largest city, Dutch is spoken in around two-thirds of homes. The nation has joined the Dutch Language Union as an associate member in order to further its efforts to establish Dutch as the official language of instruction in schools, as well as in business and the media. During the historical period in which the Dutch were colonizing the land, the Dutch language was first brought to the area. Later on, it was utilized as a means of communication among the indigenous Surinamese, up until the point where it was adopted as the primary language utilized in the Surinamese educational system. While it continued to be extensively impacted by other languages, notably slang, spoken by locals on the streets, some aspects of the spoken Dutch were also subsequently introduced by immigrants from British India and Java. At the same time, it remained to be heavily influenced by other languages.
Sranan Tongo, a prominent Creole language that is extensively spoken on the streets and evolved on the plantations when it was spoken between the plantation owners and their slaves, is one of the other languages; among the other languages are: Maroon, which is spoken by Amerindians, Caribs, and Arawak; Javanese, which is spoken by offspring of Javanese contract workers; Hakka or Cantonese, a language of the descendants of Chinese contract workers; Mandarin, which is spoken by Chinese immigrants; and English, Spanish, and Portuguese, which are the languages spoken by Latin American locals and their descendants and which are someti English, Spanish, and Portuguese are the languages spoken by Latin American locals and their descendants Current suggestions have been made to change the country’s national language to English or Spanish, which would be more appropriate given the country’s position in South America, in order to boost relations to the Caribbean and North America.
Children aged 6 to 12 years old in Suriname are required to participate in pre-school, primary school, junior secondary school, senior secondary school, vocational school, and postsecondary education. Education in Suriname is both free and mandatory for these children. Free education is offered from kindergarten all the way through secondary school not only by the government but also by the Roman Catholic and Moravian churches, and the Ministry of Education and Community Development is in charge of regulating and coordinating the entire educational system. This free education is provided from kindergarten all the way through secondary school.
The pre-school is a program that lasts for two years and is designed for children who are four to five years old. It is typically housed in a primary school building. On the other hand, the primary school is comprised of grades one through six and is designed for children who are six to 11 years old. Examinations that are given all around the country at the conclusion of Grade 6 indicate whether or not a student has completed this level. The junior secondary education is comprised of two stages: the junior secondary education, which typically lasts between three and four years, and the senior secondary education, which typically lasts between two and three years. Following this level is the senior secondary education, which is further subdivided into an academic track lasting three years (secondary education) and a vocational track lasting two years (senior secondary). After graduating from all of these levels, students are now prepared to continue their education at the tertiary level, which is comprised of two distinct paths: the University of Suriname, which is home to a medical school, and the Higher Vocational Education, which provides advanced programs in 21 different fields of study, as well as advanced training courses. All of the schools teach in Dutch, with the exception of the International Academy of Suriname, the Christian Liberty Academy, and the AlphaMax Academy. The International Academy of Suriname, the Christian Liberty Academy, and the AlphaMax Academy are overseen by the Caribbean Christian Ministries and the AlphaMax Foundation, respectively.
Bauxite mining contributes more than 15 percent of Suriname’s Gross National Product (GNP) and 70 percent of the country’s revenue from exports. The economy of Suriname is highly dependent on the bauxite sector. Bauxite is typically shipped out of the country in the form of aluminum oxide and aluminum, both of which are byproducts of the mining of bauxite that takes place at major mining sites in Moengo and Lelydorp. The government is also developing additional bauxite mining sites in the eastern, western, and northern parts of the country to ensure that reserves will be sufficient up until the year 2045.
Rice, bananas, shrimp, fish, crude oil, wood, and wood products are some of the other primary exports that this nation sends to its trade partners in the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, France, and Norway, as well as the countries of the Caribbean. Rice is one of the country’s most important exports, and as a result, the nation has achieved self-sufficiency in rice production. The government owns and operates the majority of the nation’s largest rice farms. The United States, the Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago, China, Japan, and Brazil are the country’s primary import partners, and the government imports capital equipment, petroleum products, iron and steel products, and consumer goods from these countries. This helps the government contribute to the growth of the local economy and productivity.
Gold mining is an important part of the economy but this is not regulated by the government because the mining process uses chemicals that adversely affect the environment. International companies have offered help to develop better the gold exploration projects in the country. Additionally, in order to boost oil production by the state-owned oil company, the government has begun negotiations with an international joint venture partner. The hotel industry not only plays an important role in the country’s economy; it may become a major dollar earner being part of an emerging tourism industry.
The government of Suriname is a constitutional democracy based on its 1987 Constitution, and is run through its three branches: the Executive, Legislative and Judicial. The Executive Branch is headed by the President of the country, who is elected by the National Assembly for a term of five years or by the People’s Assembly if the National Assembly fails to elect him. The President appoints the 16-minister Cabinet. The Vice President is a member of the Executive Branch of government. Like the President, the Vice President is elected to a term of five years at the same time as the President. The State Advisory Council is chaired by the Vice President, and its primary function is to provide the President with advice regarding the implementation of government policies. The Council has 11 seats allotted to all political parties represented in the National Assembly, and three other seats for workers and employers organizations. The Legislative Branch consists of the 51-member bicameral National Assembly elected for a five-year term. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, and its members are appointed for life by the President after consulting with the National Assembly. The Judiciary Branch is in charge of enforcing the law. The country’s magistrate courts and the National Order of Private Attorneys are under the supervision of the Supreme Court of the country. Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, and Sipaliwini are the 10 administrative districts that help the government run. Wanica is the 11th administrative district. In addition to having elected representatives in the National Assembly, each of these districts is led by a district commissioner who is appointed by the President and can be removed at the President’s discretion.
Other important government officials that are appointed by the President to help handle government operations include the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the United States, and the Ambassador to the United Nations.Overview and History of Chile