The country contains many rivers and some mountains (highest point 1280 metres). The larger part of the country consists of uncultivated rain forest. Nearly all 426,000 inhabitants of Suriname (1995 count) live within a 30 km wide coastal region. The capital Paramaribo lies about 20km south of the coast at the west bank of the Suriname river. It has approximately 200,000 inhabitants. The country, under Dutch rule for 300 years, gained its independence in 1975. The official language is Dutch and the currency is the Suriname guilder.

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