Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname, is situated on the Suriname River, about 15km inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The country may be the smallest in South America, but it has an impressive history. Originally settled by the British in 1630, Suriname changed hands often between the British and Dutch, and was under Dutch control from 1815 until independence in 1975. The ethnic mix of the population is a testament to its colonial history, with native, western African, Indian, Indonesian, and European influences combining to create a distinctive local culture.
While the national language of Suriname is Dutch, the local language, Sranang
Tongo (or Surinamese) is used mostly in everyday life, and English is widely
spoken. Since gaining independence, the country has faced economic hardships,
a military coup, and widespread problems with corruption, although it is beginning
to stabilise now.
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