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Suriname:
Geography

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Suriname Page


Background
Definition
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 elected government - a four-party New Front coalition - returned to power in 1991 and has ruled since; the coalition expanded to eight parties in 2005.
Location
Definition
Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
Geographic coordinates
Definition
4 00 N, 56 00 W
Map references
Definition
South America
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 163,270 sq km
land: 161,470 sq km
water: 1,800 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly larger than Georgia
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 1,703 km
border countries: Brazil 593 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km
Coastline
Definition
386 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; moderated by trade winds
Terrain
Definition
mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m
highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
Natural resources
Definition
timber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0.36%
permanent crops: 0.06%
other: 99.58% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
510 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
122 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 0.67 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)
per capita: 1,489 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
NA
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
smallest independent country on South American continent; mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that, for the most part, is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively small population, mostly along the coast


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