Once known as Dutch Guiana, Suriname is one of South America’s smallest countries, enjoying a relatively high standard of living. A very ethnically diverse nation, most of its people are descended from African slaves and Indian and Javanese indentured laborers brought over by the Dutch to work in agriculture.
It has a hot and wet tropical climate that is considered to be a part of the Caribbean. Gold, oil and agriculture are key economic sectors. About 48% of its population considers themselves to be Christian with over 22% classifying themselves as Hindus and the rest as Muslims. Dutch is the only official language, although the most widely used vernacular is a local creole language called Sranan Tongo.