Religion in Suriname

The Caribbean inhabited the Atlantic coast along Central and South America and then spread to the interior of the continent. Some lived on the islands off the coast. They were warlike and lived in small communities, engaged in hunting, fishing and some form of farming.

At the beginning of the 17th century, the Dutch settled in Guyana and began the slave trade.

In 1863 slavery was abolished in the Dutch colonies and labor was replaced by a slave-like work by Indian and Javanese immigrants. In Guyana, in this way, an intricate ethnic structure was created with the Indian group – the most stubborn in terms of racial unity and strongly linked to its cultural traditions – in a relative majority, the “Creoles” – descendants of the slaves -, the Javanese, the “cimarrones” (people whose ancestors were slaves who fled into the jungle), American Indians and a small European minority.

People in Suriname

The ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences made the development of a national identity difficult, and the political organizations therefore developed predominantly along racial divides – also because these were largely coincident with the social boundaries. The Creole, assembled in NPK (National Party Combination, a coalition of four center-left parties), declared the independence struggle after World War II, while Vatan Hitkarie – of Jaggernauth Lachmon, who mainly represented traders and employers among Indians – tried to postpone it.

In October 1973, the independence people won the election and Henck Arron – a Liberal leader of the Surinamese National Party (NPS) – became prime minister of the local government, which already in 1954 had a degree of autonomy.

An embrace between Arron and Lachmon sealed the agreement between them both and independence was finally proclaimed in 1975. Many middle-class Surinamese exploited their Dutch citizenship to emigrate to the Netherlands. It was approx. 1/3 of the population, which triggered an extensive shortage of technical, professional and administrative manpower. The country lost the skilled labor which had made it work. The exception was the two multinational corporations, Suralco and Billiton, which monopolized bauxite extraction and thus effectively the entire country’s economy. Economic activity declined and agricultural production fell to a very low level.

On February 25, 1980, the Prime Minister was overthrown by a coup d’etat. An event known as the “Sergeant’s Revolution.” The National Military Council convened opposition leaders to rule, and several left wing leaders held positions in the government.

The new administration was accused by a Military Council of corruption and of inappropriate relations with the Netherlands and the United States. On February 4, 1981, it was overthrown and Colonel DesirĂ© Delano (Desi) Bouterse came to power. The new government established relations with Cuba and was countered both from within – by the majority parties – and from outside the United States and the Netherlands. According to thesciencetutor, at the same time, Brazil repeatedly supported the new regime – apparently to offset the Cuban influence. In January 1983, Bouterse formed a new government with civilian and military participation. He appointed the nationalist Error Halibux of the Labor and Peasant Union as prime minister. Following the US invasion of Grenada in October 83, the government of Suriname changed radically its relationship with Cuba, asked for its ambassador to be withdrawn as well as the cancellation of all signed cooperation agreements.

Suriname Religion