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Suriname History Timeline

Suriname's Information

Flag of Suriname
Land Area 156,000 km2
Water Area 7,820 km2
Total Area 163,820km2 (#90)
Population 585,824 (#170)
Population Density 3.76/km2
Government Type Presidential Republic
GDP (PPP) $8.55 Billion
GDP Per Capita $15,200
Currency Dollar (SRD)
Largest Cities
1400s - 1600s
  • (1498) Christopher Columbus sighted coast of Suriname
  • (1593) Spanish explorers visited area, named it Suriname
  • (1602) Dutch established settlements
  • (1651) First permanent European settlement, established by British at Paramaribo by Lord Francis Willoughby
  • (1667) British ceded their part of Suriname to The Netherlands in exchange for New Amsterdam (later called New York City)
  • (1682) Coffee and sugar plantations established . worked by African slaves
1700s - 1800s
  • (1799-1802, 1804-1816) British rule re-imposed
  • (1863) Slavery abolished; indentured labourers brought in from India, Java, China to worked on plantations
  • (1916) Aluminum Company of America (Aloca) began mining bauxite- the principal ore of aluminum- which gradually became Suriname's main export
  • (1954) Suriname given full autonomy, The Netherlands retained control over defense, foreign affairs
  • (1975) Suriname became independent with Johan Ferrier as president, Henck Arron of the Surinam National Party (NPS) as prime minister; more than a third of population emigrated to The Netherlands
  • (1980) Arron's government ousted in military coup, President Ferrier refused to recognize military regime, appointed Henk Chin-A-Sen of Nationalist Republic Party (PNR) to lead civilian administration; army replaced Ferrier with Chin-A-Sen
  • (1982) Armed forces seized power in coup led by Lietenant-Colonel Desire (Desi) Bouterse, set up Revolutionary People's Front; 15 opposition leaders charged with plotting coup aexecuted; The Netherlands, US cut off economic aid
  • (1985) Ban on political parties lifted
  • (1986) Surinamese Liberation Army (SLA), composed mostly of escaped African slaves, began guerrilla war with aim of restoring constitutional order; principal bauxite mines. refineries forced to shut down
  • (1987) 97% of electorate approved new civilian constitution
  • (1988) Rameswak Shankar, former agriculture minister, elected president
  • (1989) Bouterse rejected accord reached by President Shankar with SLA, pledged to continue fighting
  • (1990) Shankar ousted in military coup masterminded by Bouterse
  • (1991) Johan Kraag (NPS) became interim president; alliance of opposition parties- the New Front for Democracy and Development- won majority of seats in parliamentary elections; Ronald Venetiaan elected president
  • (1992) Peace accord reached with SLA


  • (1996) Jules Wijdenbosch, an ally of Bouterse, elected president
  • (1997) Dutch government issued international arrest warrant for Bouterse, claimed he h smuggled more than two tons of cocaine into The Netherlands during 1989-97; Suriname refused to extradite him
  • (1999) Dutch court convicted Bouterse in absentia for for drug smuggling
  • (2000) Ronald Venetiaan became president, replaced Wijdenbosch, after winning early elections following protests against former government's handling of economy
  • (2002) State owned banana company closed, financial woes compounded by low market prices; restructured smaller company opened in 2004
  • (2004) Suriname dollar replaced guilder; government said move aimed to restore confidence in economy; UN set up tribunal to try to resolve long running maritime border between Suriname and Guyana
  • (2005) President Venetiaan re-elected after months of deadlock
  • (2006) Flooding, caused by torrential rain, left more than 20,000 people homeless
  • (2007) UN tribunal ruled in Guyana-Suriname dispute over maritime territory, gave both a share of potentially oil-rich offshore basin
  • (2008) Trial began of former dictator Desi Bouterse, 24 others accused of involvement in 1982 killings of opponents of military regime; dispute with government over development of new bauxite mine in the west; mining giant BHP Billiton announced cease of operations in Suriname by 2010
  • (2009) Troops called in to suppress anti-Brazilian, anti-Chinese riots in gold-mining area in northeastern city of Albina
This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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