As a result of the implemented colonial labour politics, which emphasized
on the preservation of agriculture based on plantations, the population
shows a great diversity in cultures. This is caused by the continuously
changing of the labour population due to social changes as the abolition
of slavery. Latest counts show a population of about 435.000 people in
Surinam, divided over a mix of different ethnic backgrounds such as American
Indians, Maroons, Chinese, Creole, Europeans, Indians, Brazilians, Lebanese
en Javanese. The population is concentrated in the coastal area, where
about half of the people live in a 35 kilometre radius around Paramaribo.
The rest of the population lives in small settlements along the coast
and the rivers.
The Native Americans
The Native Americans are the original inhabitants of Surinam. There are
different native tribes, of which the Arrowakes, the Caribee and the Warraus
are the best known. Based on where these tribes settled they are generally
divided into upland and lowland American Indians. The upland Native Americans
primarily live in the inland parts of Surinam. De lowland Indians on the
other hand populated the urban areas. Many of them therefore live in the
area of Paramaribo.
The Maroons are descendants of run-away slaves from the plantations. After
the abolition of slavery they were free to choose their new place of residence.
Due to this fact many tribes amalgamated ( = merged) into new tribes.
After the abolition of slavery in 1863 many former slaves continued to
work in exchange for payment under state-supervision on the plantations
for another 10 years. At the end of this period many of them left for
the city. They are also known as ( city )Creole. Nowadays many Creole
still live in and around the city of Paramaribo.
Due to the fact that many former slaves left for the city, immigrants
from British-India were contracted to work the plantations for a fixed
period of five years. After they served their contract they remained in
Surinam. An important part of the population of Surinam still consists
of Hindu ( named after their Hindu-religion).
After the Hindu left the plantations, workers from the former Dutch East
Indies were contracted. Since they primarily came from the island of Java
they are commonly known as Javanese in Surinam.
Remaining sections of the population
In Surinam society you can also find other of communities such as the
Dutch, Lebanese and Chinese.