Black & Bilingual #AroundTheWorld - Suriname

Black & Bilingual #AroundTheWorld - Suriname

Suriname is a small-diverse country in South America. Although the country is in South America, it is often regarded as a Caribbean nation. Suriname has a population of 566,000 people. Paramaribo is the capital and largest city in Suriname. 



The Dutch sought to get involved in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Britain offered them land through The Treaty of Breda of 1667 in exchange for New York. This land was named Suriname. Then, slaves were imported to the nation from Central and West Africa to work in sugar and coffee plantations. 


Afro-Surinamese and Maroons

Many Afro-Surinamese slaves fled their plantations and headed into the interior rainforests. The Maroons were able to maintain more of their African culture because of this isolation. They also created several independent tribes: Saramaka, Paramaka, Ndyuka (Aukan), Kwinti, Aluku (Boni), and Matawai. The Maroons were known to raid plantations to recruit new members into their tribes, and stock up on food and supplies. In the 1990s, the Maroons fought for their rights to protect their land, in 2007, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the Maroons won the rights to their land. 


Diversity and Culture

Suriname is a largely diverse nation. It is home to Amerindians - the original inhabitants inhabitants of the land, Afro-Surinamese and Maroons, Hindus, The Javanese, Chinese, Jewish, Boeroes, and Lebanese. The two largest ethnic groups are the Afro-Surinamese and Hindu.



Dutch is the official language of Suriname. It is spoken in education, government, business, and the media. However, Afro-Surinamese also speak Sranan Tongo. It is a creole language influenced by English, Dutch, Portuguese, and West African languages. 



Afro-Surinamese women have a historical tradition of same-sex relationships. Gloria Wekker is a Surinamese writer and educator. She has been researching sexuality and gender in the Afro-Caribbean for decades. Wekker's research shows that same-sex relationships can be linked back to the middle passage during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. 


Afro-Surinamese Cuisine

Afro-Surinamese cuisine is heavily influenced by West Africa. You can find staples such as peanut butter, rice, cinnamon, and plantains. A popular Afro-Surinamese dish is cassava balls with codfish (Bakkeljauwballetjes). it is made with salted codfish, onions, potatoes, parsley, celery, and chili peppers. 


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