The colonial past is clearly visible throughout Suriname. You only have to look at the diversity of the population groups. Approximately 500 AD, the descendents of the Arawak migrated from the West to the lowlands of Guyana and probably drove away the Surinen, a primitive people that lived from catching fish and shellfish. The name Suriname probably originated from these Surinen.
The Spanish explorer, Alonso de Ojeda, was the first person to set foot on the coast near Marowijne in 1492.
Around 1685, after a number of wars with England, the Netherlands established themselves in Suriname. During the first half of the 18th century, agriculture was in its heyday in Suriname. The British conquered Suriname again in 1804.
Suriname was given back to the Netherlands in 1815. Over a period of 200 years, the Dutch exported more than 550,000 slaves to the colonies. The Dutch abolished slavery on 1 July 1863. The development of natural resources started in the 20th century.
If you would like more information about the history of Suriname, please refer to our national archives.
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