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maanantai 9. tammikuuta 2017

Suriname, Cool Facts #162

<= 161. USA                                                                                                           162. Netherlands => 

1. Dutch Speaking Country

- The official language of Suriname is Dutch
- Over 60% of the population speaks Dutch as a mother tongue
- Dutch is the official language of Suriname, Belgium and the Netherlands
- Suriname and the English-speaking Guyana are the only South American countries with non-Romance languages

2. Suriname and New York 

The Dutch and the English had disputes over the area of Suriname. In 1667 during negotiations leading to the Treaty of Breda, the Dutch decided to keep the plantation colony of Suriname, which they had got from the English. The English got to keep New Amsterdam, which was the main city of the former colony of New Netherland. Later New Amsterdam was renamed after the Duke of York as New York.

At the time England and the Netherlands had conflicts because England tried to end the Dutch domination  of world trade during a period of intense European commercial rivalry. The Treaty of Breda was made after the Second Anglo-Dutch War, which had resulted in Dutch victory.

Conflicts between the Netherlands and England:

1652-1654 First Anglo-Dutch War: English victory
1665-1667 Second Anglo-Dutch War: Dutch victory
1672-1674 Third Anglo-Dutch War: Dutch victory
1688-1689 Glorious revolution
1781-1784 Fourth Anglo-Dutch War: British victory

Four Days Fight, during the second Anglo-Dutch War

3. Independence of Suriname

Suriname gained independence in 1975 although 40% of the population, mainly Asians, opposed the independence. There were fears that the country would fare worse under independence than as a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands. This was the reason why about one third of the population, about 160,000 people, moved from Suriname to the Netherlands after the Surinamese independence.

In the elections of 1977 NPS was accused of fraud, which caused a lot of discontent causing a large chunk of the population to flee to the Netherlands. Living conditions didn't improve much later when Henck Arron's regime was overthrown in a military coup. There were many counter-coup attempts in the 1980s. 

Henck Arron

4. Dictator Dési Bouterse

Dési Bouterse military coupIn 1980 Dési Bouterse led the military coup in which Henck Arron's government was overthrown. Dési Bouterse led the military dictatorship until 1987 after which he remained in charge of the army. In 1990 Bouterse dismissed the ministers by telephone after being dissatisfied with the government. This event was called as the "Telephone Coup". Bouterse's power began to wane after the elections of 1991. 

Surinamese Interior War 1986-1991 
The ethnic Maroons started the civil war after a personal feud between Bouterse and his former bodyguard Ronnie Brunswijk, a Maroon himself. The Jungle Commando led by Brunswijk fought against the national army led by Bouterse until 1991 in the remote interior region of Suriname. Runaldo Venetian the civil president elected in the elections of 1991 made a peace treaty with the guerrilla group ending the civil war.

Counters-coup attempts against Bouterse 1980 April 
1980 August 
1981 March 
1982 March

Bouterse returns to power in 2010In the elections of 2010 Bouterse returned into power and is currently (2017) still the head of state in Suriname. Bouterse is a controversial person as he has been accused of human rights violations and drug trade but he was still democratically elected as president after everything.

Human rights violations and crimes
1982 December murders: the murder of fifteen prominent young Surinamese men, who had criticized the military dictatorship 

1986 Moiwana massacre: Bouterse is suspected to have commanded the massacre of 35 people, mostly women and children and burning the house of Brunswijk. 
2000 Drug trafficking: Bouterse was sentenced in absentia in the Netherlands to 11 years in jail after being convicted of trafficking 474 kilos of cocaine. 

Wikileaks cables released in 2011 revealed that Bouterse had been active in drug trade until 2006. As the president of Suriname he enjoys national immunity from arrest in Suriname but he has no international immunity because he was convicted of the drug offense before his election in 2010 as Head of State. Europol has issued an arrest warrant for him. 

Dési Bouterse

5. Multicultural Population of Suriname 

Symbolism in the flag
The flag of Suriname reflects the multicultural population of the country. The five points of the star represent the ethnic groups of Suriname, the White, the Black, Indigenous, Indian and Chinese populations. 

Religions (2012 data)
Christianity 48,4% 

Hinduism 22,3%
Islam 13,9% 
Other religions 4,7% 
Unaffiliated 10,7% 

Background of the ethnic diversity
In 1863 slavery was abolished in Suriname and the slaves had to be replaced by indentured laborers from present-day Indonesia and India. During the late 1800s and early 1900s small number of laborers were also recruited from China and the Middle East. The descendants of the immigrants preserved their language, religions and customs creating a variety of cultures in Suriname. 

The smallest population in South America
From all the independent countries of South America, Suriname has the smallest population, only about 566,000 people.

Ethnic diversity of Suriname


3000BC First indigenous settlements were established by the Arawak people, who were conquered later by the Caribs by using their superior sailing ships
1500s French, Spanish and English explorers visited the area
1600s Marshall's Creek along the Suriname River, established by the English was the earliest documented colony in Suriname, the Dutch started also establishing plantation colonies
1667 Treaty of Breda ended the disputes between the Dutch and the English for control of this territory and as a result the Dutch decided to keep the plantation colony of Suriname, they had gained from the English and the English got to keep New Amsterdam, the future New York
1683 The Society of Suriname was established to manage and defend the colony
1815 After the Vienna Congress the territory became the Dutch Guiana
1863 The Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname, under a gradual process that required slaves to work on plantations for 10 years for minimal pay
1873 Most freed slaves abandoned the plantations and to make up for the shortage of labour, the Dutch recruited and transported contract or indentured workers from the Dutch East Indies
1918 Bauxite mining was started, which became the backbone of the Surinamese economy
1941 USA occupied Dutch Guiana to protect the bauxite mines to support the Allies war effort
1953 The name of Dutch Guiana was changed to Suriname and along with the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands it became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
1975 Suriname became independent, although 40% of the population resisted independence fearing the decline of living standards, which is why 160,000 people moved to the Netherlands after the independence
1980 Military coup overthrew the first prime minister Henck Arron's government and the coup leader Dési Bouterse started leading the country until 1991
1980 Opponents of the military regime attempted counter-coups in April, August, March 1981 and March 1982
1986 The Maroons led by Ronnie Brunswijk started a five-year civil war against the army of Bouterse
1987 National elections were held and the National Assembly adopted a new constitution that allowed Bouterse to remain in charge of the army
1990 "Telephone Coup", dissatisfied with the government Bouterse dismissed the ministers by telephone
1991 After the elections Runaldo Venetiaan brought civilian regime back and he made a peace treaty with the guerrilla movement
1995 Suriname joined CARICOM
1996 Power shifted legally after the elections to Jules Wijdenbosch, who was supported by Dési Bouterse, who had became rich in drug smuggling and the Interpol and the Netherlands had made an arrest warrant of him
1999 Dési Bouterse was convicted and sentenced to prison after the drug smuggling charges made by the Netherlands
2000 Venetiaan was re-elected as president
2005 Venetiaan was re-elected again
2010 The former dictator Dési Bouterse returned to power
2015 Bouterse was re-elected 

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