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Suriname has been a battleground
for competing groups from the beginning of its history. Whether it
might be a conflict between aboriginal people or between colonial
Suriname has been a battleground for competing groups from the beginning of its history. Whether it might be a conflict between aboriginal people or between colonial powers, the region has always been wanted by someone. Its a country of several different cultures, a fact which is evident in so many different dimensions of the national culture. All of these influences can be seen in arts, music and also in the cuisine.
Today Suriname is a mixture of several different ethnic groups and international influences. As there were many groups in the region around the same time including Arawaks, the Surinen, the Caribs and the Wayana, it is difficult to say who the first inhabitants of the country were. There were several conflicts and much blood was shed in the name of possession during the countrys early history.
In 1630, the British were the first Europeans to try and settle in this territory. They used the locals as slave labour for their tobacco plantation, but they struggled to make the venture work financially. The Suriname region was invaded by the Dutch in 1667. This region was declared a Dutch territory under the Treaty of Vienna in 1815 after much back and forth between the two powers.
Several different ethnic groups in the country formed a coalition government and Suriname gained independence from the Netherlands in 1975. Just after the independence, in 1980 the government was placed under military control and turned into a socialist state.
As Suriname started to grow, the civil war between the military government and guerrilla movements came to a head. The government was weakened enough to call for general elections in 1987. After a dispute with the civilian president in 1992, the former military leader carried out another military coup. To bring a different civilian party, general elections were held once again in the New front, to power and this party remains in power to this day.
Its very clear from the Surinamese History that the country is ethnical, culturally and religiously diverse. The slave trade bringing people from Africa and South East Asia is a result of some of the countrys cultural influences. Much of the culture today has been influenced by the cultures of the colonizers themselves. It is estimated that 90% of them who have lived in the country are the ancestors from a different region.
The music of Suriname is a mixture of South American rhythms and international European and North American Trends. Both historically and today, kaseko is one of the most popular music forms, a genre of Indo- Caribbean boasting percussion and wind instruments.
Its the countrys cuisine that has made clear to the diverse nature of the Surinamese population. Staples of roti (an Indian flatbread), cassava (a West African ground root vegetable) and spicy peppers are some of the popular dishes in Suriname.
Suriname is aligned with the cultural traditions of the Netherlands and has a multi-cultural heritage but no national culture of its own. With a multi-culture, Suriname celebrates many different festivals related to religion and ethnic backgrounds such as Emancipation Day, Day of the Indigenous people, Immigration of the Javanese or the Indians. They also hold Hindu national holidays such as Diwali and Phagwa and Islamic national holidays such as Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-adha based on the Islamic calendar.
Most of the fine arts such as paintings and sculpture were traditionally middle class. They were dominated by the western cultural standards, but after the independence, the works of artists from different ethnic groups have received a lot of recognition.