Suriname (, or , also spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname (Dutch: Republiek Suriname [ˌreːpyˈblik ˌsyːriˈnaːmə]), is a sovereign state on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers (64,000 square miles), it is the smallest country in South America. Suriname has a population of approximately 566,000, most of whom live on the country's north coast, in and around the capital and largest city, Paramaribo. Long inhabited by numerous cultures of indigenous tribes, Suriname was explored and contested by European powers before coming under Dutch rule in the late 17th century. In 1954, the country became one of the constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 25 November 1975, the country of Suriname left the Kingdom of the Netherlands to become an independent state, nonetheless maintaining close economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties to its former colonizer. Its indigenous peoples have been increasingly active in claiming land rights and working to preserve their traditional lands and habitats. Suriname is considered to be a culturally Caribbean country, and is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). While Dutch is the official language of government, business, media, and education, Sranan, an English-based creole language, is a widely used lingua franca. Suriname is the only territory outside Europe where Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population. The people of Suriname are among the most diverse in the world, spanning a multitude of ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups.
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