The Republic of Suriname lies in the northeastern part of South America. Suriname is named after the Surinen tribe, one of the indigenous peoples of the land. Suriname is part of the Guianas, an ecological region within the Amazon. There are 715 species of birds. The giant sea turtles flock to sandy beaches like Galibi and Matapica, to lay their eggs. There are many orchids and over 60 species of heliconias (lobster claw flower). The National flower is the ‘fajalobi’ (passionate love). The country has approximately 540,000 inhabitants. We have a multi ethnic population consisting of indigenous peoples, African descendants (Creoles and Maroons) and also Asian descendants (Hindustani, Javanese and Chinese people), and European descendants. Sranan tongue was the language used among the slaves. Now, it is the language spoken among the different ethnic groups. The official language is Dutch, a remnant from the last colonizer of Suriname.
After Columbus arrived in America in 1492, there was an influx of Europeans to the ‘New World’, particularly from Spain and Portugal, in search of the Gold Coast. Subsequently, the country was captured by the French, the English, the Zealanders and the Netherlands for short periods of time. The English ruled Suriname from 1651 to 1667, but as a result of the war between the Netherlands and England, Suriname was exchanged by New Amsterdam (presently New York, USA), a Dutch settlement at the time. Since then, Suriname was a Dutch colony until its independence in 1975. In 1948, Suriname achieved self-government, under the supervision and control of Netherlands. On November 25th, 1975 after much diplomatic negotiation Netherland agreed to give Suriname full independence. Its first President was also the last Governor of the self-government period, J. Ferriër. A Prime Minister, Henck Arron, stood at the head of the Government. A military coup d’état in 1980 changed the political system. The president and ministers were selected by the military. Until the end of military government in 1987, the Constitution has been put aside. Now based on the new Constitution, democratic elections have been restored and the head of government is an executive president.