Mostly rolling hills, rising towards maximum of around 1000 meters in the south; narrow coastal plain with mangrove swamps. Mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that is in excellent condition, though is increasingly threatened by new development.
Elevation extremes highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic. It continued to rule through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1989, the military overthrew the civilian government, but a democratically-elected government returned to power in 1991.