The Republic of Suriname is the smallest sovereign state, both in terms of population and surface, in South America. Most of its 560,000 people live in the capital region, Panamaribo, which is also the largest city in the country. Other large cities include, in order: Lelydorp, Nieuw Nickerie, and Moengo. Suriname gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1975 and it is nowadays a presidential constitutional republic, divided into ten districts. The legislative branch is represented by the National Assembly.
The country has a tropical climate, and the average yearly temperature is around 29-30 degrees Celsius. Most of the country’s surface is represented by unspoiled rainforest and Suriname prides itself with one UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site, the Central Suriname Nature Reserve. Suriname is also a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Suriname’s economy is largely sustained by the bauxite industry, which is also its major exported good. Other major exports include gold, petroleum and oil products, bananas, shrimps, and rice. The local currency is the Surinamese dollar (SRD). An interesting fact about Suriname: it takes approximately 99 weeks to register a new business here, longer than anywhere else in the world.
The only official language is Suriname is Dutch, making it the only South American country, alongside Guyana, that does not speak a Latin language. Sranan Tongo, a Creole dialect, although not officially recognized by the constitution, is the most widely spoken language on the streets. Surinamese Hindi is the third most widely spoken language.