An often overlooked country, Surinam is nonetheless filled with beautiful tropical wilderness, rare wildlife and a fascinating culture.

The 17th-century capital, Paramaribo, with its attractive colonial architecture, is a good starting point for any visitor. However, Surinam's main attraction is its tropical rainforest, which covers nearly 80% of the country and is home to a huge variety of wildlife.

Surinam is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Marowijne River, French Guiana and Brazil. By the time the Spanish arrived in the late 15th century, the Surinen (the original inhabitants of Surinam) had been driven out by other Amerindian groups.

Fierce resistance to colonisation deterred most would-be occupiers from Europe, although the territory formally changed hands many times between the Dutch, English and French, before finally being confirmed as a Dutch possession by the terms of the 1815 Treaty of Vienna.

In 1954, Surinam, with the Netherlands Antilles, became an autonomous region within the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Full independence was achieved in 1975.

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