The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 38, Issue 2

Article 3
The French Guiana-Suriname Boundary Dispute at the Itany-Marouini Triangle

Thomas W. Donovan


The dispute over a heavily forested section of Northern Amazon forest between Suriname and French Guiana is one of the most lingering boundary disputes of modem nations. Stemming from a colonial history that left borders fluid at the independence of Suriname, the border dispute today is marred by shifting and snaking waterways; diplomatic impasses and scant political resources to contribute by the two small Caribbean states. If the dispute was forwarded to a respected tribunal that follows customary international law, it is clear that because French Guiana has effectively occupied the area, a persuasive claim can be made to the disputed area. Suriname, on the other hand, contends that their colonial predecessor, Dutch Guiana, occupied the area through control over the inhabitants of the area.