Republic of Suriname
Europeans first reached Suriname in the 16th century, gradually setting up plantation colonies to cultivate sugar, cocoa, coffee and cotton, which were supported with slave labor imported from Africa. By the late 17th century, the region was dominated by the Dutch, who administered it throught he Society of Suriname. During this period, the Maroon culture, independent tribes of escaped African slaves, emerged in the undeveloped regions of the country, aided by the indigenous Native population. The Maroons ultimately became so powerful that they were granted soverign status and trade rights through treaty with the governing European authorities in the 19th century. Following the abolition of slavery, the plantation economy continued to thrive using contract labor from South Asia.
Suriname was granted limited self-government in 1954, with the Netherlands retaining control of defense and foreign affairs. Full independence was granted on 25 November 1975, after which the nation became known as the Republic of Suriname (Republiek Suriname). Five years later, a military coup d'etat overthrew the democratic government and declared the state a Socialist Republic. Under the repressive government of Desi Bouterse the military rounded up and executed hundreds of prominent citizens (mostly political opponents) under the pretext that they were plotting against the government. The nation descended into civil war in 1986, between the Suriname Army supporting the government of Bouterse, and an insurgency movement composed primarily of Maroons under the leadership of Ronnie Brunswijk. In 1991, a new democratic government was elected.
The Armed Forces of Suriname consist of approximately 2200 personnel, composed primarily of a Light Infantry Battalion (33ste Bataljon der Infanterie), the Special Forces Corps (modeled after the Dutch Army Commandos), and a support Battalion.
Camouflage Patterns of Suriname
- Although a colonial possession of the Netherlands until 1975, there were units of indigenous military personnel under Dutch administration in Suriname following the Second World War. At least some documentation shows these personnel wearing one-piece coveralls in the US M1942 Duck hunter pattern camouflage that was donated in large numbers to the Dutch government after the war.
- The standard battledress uniform of the Army was the m81 woodland pattern camouflage until 2014-15, reputedly imported from Brazil.
- As of 2015, the Armed Forces of Suriname now wear a pixelated camouflage design incorporating black, olive green and pale green