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Introduction: 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...

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History: Arawak and Carib tribes lived in the region before Columbus sighted the coast in 1498. Spain officially claimed the area in 1593, but Spanish and Portuguese explorers of the time gave the area little attention. Dutch settlement began in 1616 at the mouths of several rivers between present-day Georgetown, Guyana, and Cayenne, French Guiana.

Suriname became a Dutch colony in ...

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International Relations: Relations with the International Community

Suriname’s long-standing maritime border dispute with Guyana was settled in September 2007 when the UN Tribunal on the Law of the Sea awarded two-thirds of the disputed area to Guyana. Suriname still claims territory in the extreme south-east of Guyana (the New River Triangle). French Guiana disputes the area between Riviere Litani and Riviere Marouini (both headwaters of the Lawa). Suriname is a trans-shipment point for illicit South American drugs destined for Europe and Brazil.

President Bouterse’s Government has signalled a change in the country’s ...

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