Native groups have inhabited Suriname for over a millennia. Among these were the Arawak and the Carib peoples. The Surinen (from whom the country’s name derives) (Menke, Jack K., and Henk E. Chin. “Suriname.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia) were also some of the area’s earliest known inhabitants. By the 16th century, however, the Surinen(Westoll, Andrew. The Riverbones: Stumbling After Eden in the Jungles of Suriname. McLelland & Stewart) had been driven out by other Indian groups or had migrated to other parts of the Guianas – the surrounding region which includes Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana. Europeans learned of Suriname when Christopher Columbus, who sighted its coast in 1498. The first Europeans settled in Suriname in 1650. Most of them did not make it long as conflict with Indians and diseases decreased their numbers. The first British settlers were sent by Lord Willoughby who was the governor of Barbados. The Zealander Abraham Crijnssen invaded the Willoughby settlement. By 1602 the Dutch began to settle the land, followed by the English. After the peace treaty of Breda was signed in 1667, the Dutch gained Suriname but lost their colony – New York – in North America (“Suriname.” The History of Suriname) . The beginning of the colonization of Suriname was confined to a narrow coastal strip, due to how wild and difficult the interior of the country was, and until the abolition of slavery in 1863, the country’s labor force was made up of African slaves who worked on the coffee and sugarcane plantations (Fositeng Tori. “Suriname History Background.” Suriname African Heritage History and Culture, 27 May 2015). Some of these escaped African slaves fled from these plantations into the interior of the country, and began to build a new community. (Goines, Leonard. “Africanisms among the Bush Negroes of Surinam.” The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 3, no. 1, 1975, pp. 40–44. JSTOR, JSTOR) There they reconstituted their western African culture, and were known as “Bush Negroes” by the Dutch. Until the mid-19th century, slaves, mostly from the west coast of Africa, made up most of the country’s population. The small European population was primarily of Dutch origin but there were also others from France, Germany, and Great Britain, as well as a Jewish community, who had arrived largely from Portugal, Spain, and Italy via Brazil. In 1853 Chinese and Madeiran (people from the Madeira Islands) contract labourers were brought to Suriname to work on the plantations. Many of these workers eventually became small-scale merchants. On July 1, 1863, slavery was abolished in Suriname. Former slaves, however, were placed under government supervision for a period of ten years in order to perform labour under contract, rather than be granted their full freedoms immediately. After ten years passed, contract labourers from India were then recruited to replace the former slaves, and workers also came to Suriname from Java, an island of Indonesia (which, like Suriname, was under Dutch rule ). Suriname’s position as an agricultural supplier declined due to the competition from other Latin American countries. In 1916 the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) began mining the country’s newly discovered bauxite reserves of, the principal ore of aluminum. After World War II, Dutch interest in Suriname was revived. The Netherlands began to provide developmental aid to Suriname in 1948. (( Menke, Jack K., and Henk E. Chin. “Suriname.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Sept. 2017)In 1948, Suriname was integrated into the kingdom of the Netherlands as “Dutch Guiana”. Two years later, in 1950, Dutch Guiana (“Definition of ‘Dutch Guiana’.” Dutch Guiana Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary) was granted home rule, with the exception of foreign affairs and defense. After riots broke out over unemployment and inflation, the Netherlands granted Suriname complete independence on Nov. 25, 1975.During much of the 1980s, Suriname was under the repressive control of Lieut. Col. Dési Bouterse. The Netherlands stopped all stabilizing aid in 1982, when Suriname soldiers killed 15 journalists, politicians, lawyers, and union officials. These assassinations would later be called “The December 1982 Massacre”. Defense spending by the military dictatorship increased significantly, and the economy and the people suffered. When a guerrilla insurgency by the Jungle Commando – a “Bush Negro” guerrilla group – threatened to destabilize the country, it was harshly suppressed by Bouterse. Free elections were held on May 25, 1991, which were won by the same military dictator that had been ruling the country for the past 10 years. Though this deprived the military of much of its power, it was still the same man at the head of the government. In 1992 a peace treaty was signed between the government and several guerrilla groups, stabilizing much of the conflicts between the two groups. In March 1997, the president announced new economic measures, including eliminating import tariffs on most basic goods, coupled with strict price controls. Later that year, the Netherlands said it would prosecute Bouterse for cocaine trafficking. Suriname’s relationship with the rest of Latin America is centered on the other two Guiana’s – French Guinea and Guyana. The primary industry in these three cooperating countries are Mining, agriculture, forestry, and fishing are major. Agriculture is divided between commercial plantation crops, which are important regional exports, and domestic crops, largely grown on small individual farms in the interior. The “interior” of these countries is crucial, as it is known as the wild west of Latin America. There is very little governmental control and things like drugs and illegal gold mining are integral parts of the regions economy. Guyana and Suriname rank among the world’s largest bauxite and alumina producers. Much of this mining comes at the expense of the environment and illegal forestry is becoming one of the regions most difficult to manage problems. Suriname was the first of the Guiana’s to be colonized by europeans and was as a cause of this, the first country to have slavery. Slavery later spread into the other two as the Europeans continued their explorations (The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “The Guianas.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 30 Aug. 2010). The relationship between the Guiana’s that exists today is much more customary than it is governmental, and the collaboration between them is much more de facto than it is de jure. The three remain closely collaborative mainly because of how isolated they are from the rest of Latin America.The relationship between the United States and Suriname has remained constructive and amicable since Suriname established a democratic system in 1991 (“Suriname.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State, 14 Aug. 2017). The U.S. and Suriname work together to promote the security as well as the prosperity of the region. This is done through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative(“Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.” U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of State) (CBSI), which works to prevent communicable diseases, promote healthy lifestyles through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)(“The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.” PEPFAR: Working Toward an AIDS-Free Generation), as well as strengthen military-to-military cooperation, and promote a more environmentally sustainable Suriname. Relations between the United States and Suriname have not always been as friendly as they are today(Wallechinsky, David. “Suriname.” AllGov, 2016). Similar to its relationship with other countries around the world, the United States tends to focus its positive relationships to countries that have democratic leadership(Lynn-Jones, Sean. “Why the United States Should Spread Democracy | Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.” Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Mar. 1998) . Starting in 1975, when Suriname gained its independence from the Netherlands(Wallechinsky, David. “Suriname.” AllGov, 2016), and a democratic leadership headed by prime minister Henck Arron(“Timeline: Suriname.” BBC News, BBC, 14 Sept. 2012), the US and Suriname had normal relations. However, like in many Latin American countries, the Eighties brought a change in government and the institution of a military dictatorship(“Obo.” Military Government in Latin America, 1959–1990 – Latin American Studies – Oxford Bibliographies, 4 Jan. 2018). Desire Bouterse led a military coup in 1982, triggering a decade of government instability and a loss of support from the U.S. government. (“Timeline: Suriname.” BBC News, BBC, 14 Sept. 2012). When Suriname was under military rule, the United States did however keep its economic interests in the country, specifically it’s investments in the mining industry. In released CIA documents it is revealed that the United States was willing to intervene in Suriname during the cold war when Bouterse seemed that he might side with the Soviets and drift into becoming a leftist leader. (United States, Congress, Foreign Intelligence Board. “Bouterse’s Leftward Drift” , 1984. CIA Released Information) In the aftermath of the December 1982 massacre, when 15 prominent opponents of Suriname’s military dictatorship were brought to the military’s fort, tortured, and executed against the wall, relations began to worsen. Following the massacre the U.S. canceled foreign aid. Relations were then re-normalized in 1991 as Suriname began to re-institute democratic governance, and have become closer and more cooperative since that time. ( Menke, Jack K., and Henk E. Chin. “Suriname.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 26 Sept. 2017) . So long as Suriname maintains a democratic government and continues to attempt to at least seem as if they are in control of the corruption and illegal practices taking place in the country, their relationship with the United States will remain cooperative. The threat of a military dictatorship does remain due to the widespread poverty in the country and lack of possibility for growth. Desi Bouterse’s problematic involvement, though not a seeming threat to Suriname, is problematic in the sense that it brings into question how fair and free their elections could be with him having been in and out of the presidency since the mid Eighties. Though this is not something that the United States should intervene in, as intervention can at times worsen the situation, but it is important that the U.S. keeps a watchful eye on his rule. It is also seemingly threatening to their democracy that Dési Bouterse is still the prime suspect of the 1982 Massacre while being president. Suriname does not however pose any sort of direct threat to the United States, and immigration from Suriname to the United States is not at all widespread. The best course of action for the United States government in its interactions with Suriname is to not intervene in their government and to take a watchful backseat. If the illegal gold mining and forestry continues to be a problem, intervention to help the environment might be a good course of action, but seen as the United States’ own environmental policies are currently lacking, this is not likely to happen either. It is however crucial that the United States provide aid to the Surinamese people as 47% of Suriname’s population lives in poverty. A way in which the United States could have a direct positive impact on the country is thru NGOs. The utilization of NGOs in Suriname could be widely effective, as NGOs often prevent the rerouting of donations into corrupt areas of the government. This means that rather than run the risk of donations and aid going into the pockets of government officials, it would go to the people. One area in particular that these aid should be focused on is children’s healthcare. AIDS is currently the number one cause of death in children in Suriname and U.S. intervention into this health crisis is a crucial course of action.