June 17, 2014

1103 SURINAME - The map and the flag of the country

As I wrote here, the Guianas (Las Guayanas in spanish) refers to a region which includes French Guiana, Guyana (former British Guiana), Suriname (former Dutch Guiana), the Guayana Region in Venezuela (former Spanish Guyana), and Brazilian State of Amapá (former Portuguese Guiana). Colonized by the English and the Dutch in the 17th century, Suriname was captured by the Dutch in 1667, who governed it as Dutch Guiana until 1954, when became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and in 1975 an independent country. It is the smallest sovereign state in South America, with a population of only 566,000, most of whom live on the country's north coast, where the capital Paramaribo is located. Founded at the beginning of the 17th century, Paramaribo houses more than half of Suriname's population, and the historic inner city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002.

The country can be divided into two main geographic regions: the northern (lowland coastal area), and the southern (tropical rainforest and sparsely inhabited savanna - 80% of country's land surface). Located in the upper Coppename River watershed, the Central Suriname Nature Reserve has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unspoiled forests and biodiversity. The two main mountain ranges are the Bakhuys Mountains and the Van Asch Van Wijck Mountains, and the highest mountain is Julianatop (1,286 metres). Situated between latitudes 1° and 6°N, Suriname has a very hot and wet tropical climate. Its economy is dominated by the bauxite industry, but agriculture remains a strong component, and the ecotourism providing new opportunities.

The area named today Surinam was occupied by various cultures of indigenous peoples (Arawak and Carib, but also Akurio, Trió, Warrau, and Wayana) before European contact. The Dutch transformed it in a plantation colony, and brought many African slaves. The treatment of the slaves was notoriously bad, and many of them escaped. With the help of the locals living in the rain forests, these runaway slaves, named in english Maroons, established a new and unique culture. After the abolition of slavery (1863), the Dutch government recruited many contract workers, mainly from India (then British colony), and Indonesia (then Dutch colony). As a result, today the population of Suriname is a mixture of different ethnic groups: East Indian (27.4%), Creole (17.7%), Maroons (14.7%), Javanese (14.6%), Mixed descent (12.5%), Amerindian (3.7%), Chinese (3%), and White (2%). Even if in Suriname Dutch is the sole official language, there are no fewer than twenty languages spoken.

The flag of Suriname is formed by five horizontal bands of green (top, double width), white, red (quadruple width), white, and green (double width). There is a large, yellow, five-pointed star centered in the red band. The star represents the unity of all ethnic groups (originating from five continents: Africa, America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.), the red stripe stands for progress and love, the green for hope and fertility, and the white bands for peace and justice. The coat of arms consists of two natives who carry a shield. The left half of the shield symbolizes the past, as slaves were abducted via ship out of Africa. The right half, the side of the present, shows a Royal palm, also the symbol of a just person. The diamond in the middle is the stylized form of the heart, which is regarded as the organ of love. The points of the diamond show the four directions of the wind. Inside the diamond is also a five-pointed star. The motto is "Justitia - Pietas - Fides" (Justice - Piety - Fidelity). The flag and the coat of arms were adopted in 1975, upon the independence of Suriname.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series The 25th Anniversary of the Maastricht Paper Money Fair, issued on April 4, 2011. It comprise 12 various world banknotes, from: Malaysia, Tuvalu, Nepal, Samoa, Oman, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Bhutan, Tonga, Argentina, Iceland, and Suriname. The second stamp is part of a series of three, The 50th Anniversary of the First EUROPA Stamp, issued on January 4, 2006.

Suriname - Wikipedia
Flag of Suriname - Wikipedia
Coat of arms of Suriname - Wikipedia

sender: Cheryll
sent from Paramaribo (Suriname), on 29.05.2014 

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