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First explored by the Spaniards in the 16th century and then settled by the English in the mid-17th century, Suriname became a Dutch colony in 1667. With the abolition of slavery in 1863, workers were brought in from India and Java. Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic. It continued to exert control through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1990, the military overthrew the civilian leadership, but a democratically elected government - a four-party coalition - returned to power in 1991. The coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005 and ruled until August 2010, when voters returned former military leader Desire BOUTERSE and his opposition coalition to power.


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Geography

Location
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana

Geographic coordinates
4 00 N, 56 00 W

Map references
South America

Area World Ranking: 92
Total 163,820 sq km
Land 156,000 sq km
Water 7,820 sq km

Area - comparative
Slightly larger than Georgia

Land boundaries
Total 1,703 km
Border countries
Brazil 593 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km

Coastline
386 km

Maritime claims
Territorial sea 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone 200 nm

Climate
Tropical; moderated by trade winds

Terrain
Mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps

Elevation extremes
Lowest point
Unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
Highest point Juliana Top 1,230 m

Natural resources
Timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore

Land use
Arable land 0.36%
Permanent crops 0.06%
Other 99.58% (2005)

Irrigated land
510 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources
122 cu km (2003)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Total 0.67 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)
Per capita 1,489 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards
NA

Environment - current issues
Deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities

Environment - international agreements
Party to
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
Signed, but not ratified
None of the selected agreements

Geography - note
Smallest independent country on South American continent; mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that, for the most part, is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively small population, mostly along the coast


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  Suriname (Paramaribo):


  GPS points from Suriname (Paramaribo)

Anoejomara Kreek Distrikt Marowijne

Wanotobo Distrikt Sipaliwini

Zoewatta Distrikt Brokopondo

Koenaihede Soela Suriname (general)

Heidoti Distrikt Sipaliwini

Langadamsoela Distrikt Sipaliwini

Margaretenburg Distrikt Nickerie

Paka Apekepoeroe Eiland Distrikt Sipaliwini




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