The flag of Suriname reflects that nation’s goals and aspirations in a beautiful symbolic way. Since becoming a sovereign nation in 1975, Suriname has maintained a single national flag. The flag of Suriname reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of the country, and unifying themes.
Suriname maintains a population of slightly over half a million people. Shaped roughly in the form of a rectangle, the South American nation’s northern coastline borders the Atlantic Ocean. To the east, Suriname adjoins French Guiana, to the south Brazil, and to the west, Guyana. The region enjoys a hot, humid climate which enables the production of coffee and sugar cane. This geography significantly influenced Suriname’s history and, indirectly, its flag.
Indigenous South American Indians lived in Suriname when Spanish explorers claimed the region for Spain in 1593. However, in 1602, large numbers of Dutch settlers began moving to Suriname. Some English immigrants arrived in 1651. England acknowledged the Dutch claim to the colony in 1667. Thereafter, except for two brief periods of English rule during the periods immediately following the French Revolution (1799-1802) and during the Napoleonic Wars (1804-1815), Suriname remained a colony of the Netherlands until it gained independence in 1975.
Under Dutch rule, Suriname became a center for coffee and sugar cane plantations. Slave traders carried large numbers of African slaves to Suriname, beginning in 1682. When the colony finally outlawed slavery in 1863, plantation owners arranged for indentured laborers from Asia to harvest crops there. Today, Suriname maintains one of the most ethnically and racially diverse populations in the world. The flag of Suriname reflects this fact.
After the Netherlands recognized the independence of Suriname in 1975, the new nation conducted a competition to create a meaningful national flag. Jacques Herman Pinas created the winning design. It depicts two dark green horizontal bands on the top and bottom of a white field, and a central, wider horizontal red band across the middle. A bright five-pointed gold star sits in the center of the red band.
The green, white and red incorporated colors used by Surinam’s leading political parties. They also symbolize the ideals of abundance and natural resources (green), peace and justice (white) and progress and love(red). The star on the Suriname flag reflects the diverse population’s unity in working towards these unifying goals.