Suriname <<sur ree NAHM uh>> is a country in South America. It is bordered by Brazil, French Guiana, and Guyana. The northern border of Suriname lies on the North Atlantic Ocean. Suriname is the smallest independent country in South America. It is the smallest in both land area and in population. Paramaribo is Suriname’s capital and largest city.
Mountainous rain forests cover most of Suriname. A narrow area of swampland along the coast has been drained for farming. Most of Suriname’s people live there.
People of many backgrounds live in Suriname. Hindustanis make up much of the population. They come from a people of India. Creoles make up another large group. They have a mixed European and black African background. The rest of Suriname’s people are American Indians, Chinese, Europeans, Indonesians, and Maroons. Maroons come from black Africans who escaped from slavery in the 1600′s and 1700′s. Each group speaks its own language and follows its own religion and way of life.
Suriname makes most of its money from mining minerals and making metal. Suriname mines large amounts of bauxite. Bauxite is a mineral from which the metal aluminum is made. Farming also has an important role in Suriname. Rice is grown on most of the farmland. Suriname sells rice to other countries.
European explorers arrived in what is now Suriname in the 1500′s. Later, the British and then the Dutch controlled the country. Suriname became independent in 1975.
Various military leaders controlled the government of Suriname from 1980 to 1990. In 1991, the people were again allowed to elect the government.