Suriname (/ˈsʊrᵻnæm/, /ˈsʊrᵻnɑːm/ or /ˈsʊrᵻnəm/, also spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname (Dutch:Republiek Suriname, Dutch pronunciation:[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 165,000km2 (64,000sqmi), 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.
Originally inhabited by a number of indigenous tribes, Suriname was explored and contested by European powers before coming under Dutch rule in the late 17th century. In 1948 the country gained autonomy and in 1954 it 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.
After the other Dutch colonies in the Guianas, i.e., Berbice, Essequibo, Demerara, and Pomeroon, were lost to the British in 1814, the remaining colony of Surinam was often referred to as Dutch Guiana, especially after 1831, when the British merged Berbice, Essequibo, and Demerara into British Guiana. As the term Dutch Guiana was used in the 17th and 18th to refer to all Dutch colonies in the Guianas, this use of the term can be confusing (see below).