Suriname, center of the world

This article is also available in: Italiano

We conclude the week dedicated to Holland with one of its most representative communities ever, that of Suriname. An incredible country, a union of every people on this earth

Center of Amazonia

The territory of Suriname has been inhabited since 3000 BC. from Arawak tribes, which were later joined by others such as the Carib, Akurio and Triyo. The coexistence of many different tribes has made Suriname one of the most ethnically diverse centers in all of South America since the dawn of time, which expanded further with the arrival of European settlers.

Suriname
“The tree of life” in Surinameplein in Amsterdam, in commemoration of the union of these cultures

Suriname was disputed, starting from the 17th century, by the English and the Dutch, who only succeeded in annexing it definitively with the Treaty of Breda of 1667. The colony’s trade was mainly based on sugar plantations and this involved an immense use of African slaves. Many of them, however, managed to free themselves from their masters, fleeing inland and joining the local natives. Phenomena of this type were so frequent that a real new “ethnic group” was born, the Cimarroni, a term that derives from the Spanish “cimarrón” and which means “wild”. The latter organized real acts of guerrilla warfare against their former masters, even managing to obtain their own autonomous status.

Between new faiths and independence

In 1863 slavery was officially abolished, which caused a mass movement to the capital and the need for new low-cost labor. The Dutch then imported workers from Indonesia, then their colony, from India, China and the Middle East, transforming the local population once again. Currently, in fact, only 48% of the inhabitants profess to be Christian (half of whom are Protestant and half are Catholics), while 22% are Hindu and 14% Muslim.

Suriname
Between football, Ajax and skateboarding in Amsterdam

In 1975 the country gained independence from Holland and the previous subjects of the Orange Crown were offered to choose their nationality; many of them chose to move to Europe and this caused the country’s largest migration. In 1980 Dési Bouterse carried out a coup d’état, giving way to a civil war that ended only in 1991 with the first free elections in the country. After being jailed for 11 years, the former dictator was incredibly elected president in 2010, being re-elected in 2015.

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