FACT FOOD #558

One of the more widely spoken languages in the former Dutch colony in South America, Suriname is Sranan, a lingua franca incorporating elements of English, Spanish, Dutch, and Hebrew. In 1665, Suriname became home to the first synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. The abolition of slavery in 1863 led to a massive influx of workers from China, Java, and India, and East Indians now comprise the country’s largest ethnic group.