Declaration of Independence (when is Independence Day)
Suriname gained independence from Netherlands on 25 November, 1975. The day is observed as a national holiday in Suriname.
Suriname’s history dates back to 3000 BC, when Native Americans inhabited the region. Suriname was home to several distinctive indigenous cultures. The biggest tribes were the Arawaks, an itinerant coastal tribe, which lived on fishing and hunting. The Arawaks were the first to inhabit Suriname; followed by the Caribs. Besides, the rainforest inland was also inhabited by Wayana, Warrau, Trio, and Akurio.
Suriname was first explored by the Spaniards in the 16th century. In the mid-17th century English settlers set up their base in the country. In the year 1667, Suriname became a Dutch colony.
In 1973, the Dutch government initiated independence negotiations with the local government. These negotiations were led by NPK, which finally culminated in the country getting independence on 25 November 1975. Soon after, the Dutch introduced an aid plan worth US$1.5 billion, which lasted till 1985.
Johan Ferrier became the first president of Suriname, while Henck Arron became the first Prime Minister. In 1980, Sergeant-Major Desi Bouterse overthrew the government of Henck Arron. However, the President refused to identify the new government, and instead appointed Henk Chin A Sen. Another military coup was conducted after five months, and Ferrier was replaced with Chin A Sen. These development were welcomed by the population which anticipated that the newly formed government will help in terminating the corruption and enhancing the quality of life. This was despite the fact that the new rule banned opposition parties and became highly dictatorial. The Dutch had accepted this government, but soon relations between the Netherlands and Suriname soured when members of the political opposition were killed on 8 December, 1982, by the army in Fort Zeelandia. This incident is also referred to as the December Killings. The ban on opposition parties was lifted in 1985, and work started on devising a new constitution.
The translated version of the national anthem is:
Rise country men, rise
The soil of Suriname is calling you
Where ever our ancestors came from
We should take care of our country
We are not afraid to fight
God is our leader
Our whole life until our death
We will fight for Suriname
The Independence Day celebrations are held in the Paramaribo Presidential Palace. On the day the president gives a speech from the palace. On the occasion, soldiers and police officers conduct a march past in front of the palace. The parade is followed by the presidential reception. On this day, you will find the national flag fluttering proudly from many buildings and residential apartments.
Some of the facts that you need to consider are as follows:
- Location: Northeastern coast of South America
- Government: Constitutional democracy
- President: Dési Bouterse (2010)
- Vice President: Robert Ameerali (2010)
- Largest city and capital: Paramaribo, 278,000
- Population: 573,311 approximately (2014)
- National name: Republiek Suriname
- Monetary unit: Surinamese dollar
- Languages: Dutch (official), English, Caribbean Hindustani, Javanese and Sranang Tongo
- Religions: Hindu, Islam, Protestant, Roman Catholic
- Agriculture: rice, palm kernels, bananas, plantains, coconuts, peanuts; beef, shrimp; chickens; forest products
- Industries: alumina production bauxite and gold mining; food processing, lumbering, oil, and fishing.
- Natural resources: gold, hydropower, timber, kaolin, fish, bauxite, shrimp, and small amounts of copper, nickel, platinum, iron ore.