The Republic of Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) is the smallest independent country in South America. Situated in the north-east of this mighty continent, it is bordered by French Guiana, Brazil and Guyana. To the north lies the Atlantic Ocean. Outside of Paramaribo - its capital city - this former Dutch colony is sparsely populated.
Much of the country is covered by vast tracts of virgin rainforest punctuated with many rivers. The rich habitat supports a massive diversity of flora and fauna. There are four main seasons – the small rainy season (December to January), the small dry season (January to March) the big rainy season (March to August) and the big dry season (August to December).
Suriname’s Dutch conquerors handed power back in 1975 but their language remains the one most commonly spoken. English and French are also widely used. During their occupation, the Dutch brought slaves from Africa and servants from India, China and Indonesia to work as agricultural labourers. Much of the population today is made up of the descendants of these people as well as from the British and Dutch colonists who made Suriname their home.