Suriname is on the north coast of South America, surrounded by Guyanas. Well sort of, it’s got Brazil to the south, Guyana to the west and French Guiana to the east. There was also once something called Dutch Guiana, which now consists of modern-day Guyana and Suriname itself. In terms of country names, Guyanas are to South America what Guineas are to Africa. There’s more than one and you can get confused if you don’t know the area. To be fair, it’s our fault, not theirs. We should know our world geography better. Suriname’s official language today is still Dutch, which many people wouldn’t expect of a country in South America where we tend to think of Spanish, Portuguese or local languages being spoken.
In 1630, a bunch of Brits led by one Mr Marshall arrived and set up a colony imaginatively called Marshall’s Creek on the Suriname River. Presumably it was on a creek of some sort. During the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Dutch took control of our parts of Suriname and when it came to peace at the Treaty of Breda in 1667, we let the Dutch keep them and in return we got New Amsterdam, or New York as we had already called it. Fascinating swap. It would be interesting to compare property prices in Manhattan and Suriname today.