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French Guiana
Guyane
—  Overseas region of France  —

Flag

Logo
Country France
Prefecture Cayenne
Departments 1
Government
 - President Antoine Karam (PSG)
Area
 - Total 83,534 km2 (32,252.7 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 - Total 221,500
 Density 2.7/km2 (6.9/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-3 (UTC-3)
GDP/ Nominal € 2.3 billion (2006)[1]
GDP per capita € 11,690 (2006)[1]
NUTS Region FR9
Website cr-guyane.fr

French Guiana (French: Guyane française, officially Guyane) is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department (French: département d'outre-mer, or DOM) located on the northern coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil and Suriname. Like the other DOMs, French Guiana is also an overseas region of France, one of the 100 regions of France. Its currency is the euro. Almost half the population lives in the suburbs surrounding the region's main city, Cayenne.

The addition of the adjective "French" comes from colonial times when three such colonies existed: British Guiana (now Guyana), Dutch Guiana (now Suriname) and French Guiana. The three are still often collectively referred to as the Guianas.

Contents

History

French Guiana was originally inhabited by a number of indigenous American people. It was settled by the French during the 17th century. After the Treaty of Paris in 1763, Louis XV sent 12,000 settlers to French Guiana to colonize the region. One and a half years later only a few hundred survived.[2] Its infamous Île du Diable (Devil's Island) was the site of penal settlements from 1852 until 1951. More than 70,000 French convicts were deported to French Guiana between 1852 and 1939.[3]

In 1809 a Portuguese-British naval squadron took French Guiana for the Portuguese Empire. With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1814 the region was handed back to the French, though a Portuguese presence remained until 1817.

A border dispute with Brazil arose in the late nineteenth century over a vast area of jungle, leading to the short-lived pro-French independent state of Counani in the disputed territory and some fighting between settlers, before the dispute was resolved largely in favor of Brazil by the arbitration of the Swiss government.

In 1946, French Guiana became an overseas department of France. The 1970s saw the settlement of Hmong refugees from Laos. A movement for increased autonomy from France gained some momentum in the 1970s and 1980s, but has since abated.

Geography

Forested landscape of Remire-Montjoly.

Though sharing cultural affinities with the French-speaking territories of the Caribbean,[expand] French Guiana is not considered to be part of that geographic region, because the Caribbean Sea is actually located several hundred kilometres to the west, beyond the arc of the Lesser Antilles.

Geographic map of French Guiana

French Guiana consists of two main geographical regions: a coastal strip where the majority of the people live, and dense, near-inaccessible rainforest which gradually rises to the modest peaks of the Tumac-Humac mountains along the Brazilian frontier. French Guiana's highest peak is Bellevue de l'Inini (851 m). Other mountains include Mont Machalou (782 m), Pic Coudreau (711 m) and Mont St Marcel (635 m), Mont Favard (200 m) and Montagne du Mahury (156 m). Several small islands are found off the coast, the three Iles du Salut Salvation Islands which includes Devil's Island and the isolated Iles du Connétable bird sanctuary further along the coast towards Brazil.

The Barrage de Petit-Saut hydroelectric dam in the north of French Guiana forms an artificial lake and provides hydroelectricity. There are many rivers in French Guiana.

As of 2007, the Amazonian forest located in the most remote part of the department is now protected through one of the nine national parks of France, the Guiana Amazonian Park. The territory of the park covers some 33,900 square kilometres (13,090 sq mi) upon the communes of Camopi, Maripasoula, Papaïchton, Saint-Élie and Saül.

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Administrative divisions

French Guiana is divided into 2 arrondissements, 19 cantons (not shown here), and 22 communes:

Guyane administrative.PNG
Arrondissement of
Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
Arrondissement of
Cayenne
  1. Awala-Yalimapo
  2. Mana
  3. Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni
  4. Apatou
  5. Grand-Santi
  6. Papaïchton
  7. Saül
  8. Maripasoula
  1. Camopi
  2. Saint-Georges
  3. Ouanary
  4. Régina
  5. Roura
  6. Saint-Élie
  7. Iracoubo
  8. Sinnamary
  9. Kourou
  10. Macouria
  11. Montsinéry-Tonnegrande
  12. Matoury
  13. Cayenne
  14. Remire-Montjoly

Economy

Ariane launched from the Guiana Space Centre near Kourou, on 10 August 1992.

French Guiana is heavily dependent on France for subsidies, trade, and goods. The main industries are fishing (accounting for three-quarters of foreign exports), gold mining and timber. In addition, the Guiana Space Centre at Kourou accounts for 25% of the GDP and employs about 1700 people.

There is very little manufacturing. Agriculture is largely undeveloped and is mainly confined to the area near the coast — sugar and bananas are two of the main cash crops grown. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is growing. Unemployment is a major problem, running at about 20% to 30%.

In 2006 the GDP per capita of French Guiana at market exchange rates, not at PPP, was €13,800 (US$17,380),[4] which was 48% of Metropolitan France's average GDP per capita that year.[5]

Demographics

French Guiana's population of 221,500 (January 2008 est.),[6] most of whom live along the coast, is very ethnically diverse. At the 1999 census, 54.4% of the inhabitants of French Guiana were born in French Guiana, 11.8% were born in Metropolitan France, 5.2% were born in the French Caribbean départements (Guadeloupe and Martinique), and 28.6% were born in foreign countries (primarily Brazil, Suriname, and Haiti).[7]

Estimates of the percentages of French Guiana ethnic composition vary, a situation compounded by the large proportion of immigrants (about 20,000, nearly 10%).

Creoles (people of mixed African and French ancestry) are the largest ethnic group, though estimates vary as to the exact percentage, depending upon whether the large Haitian community is included as well. Generally the Creole population is judged to be about 60% to 70% of the total population if Haitians (comprising roughly one-third of Creoles) are included, and 30% to 50% without.

Roughly 14% of the population is of European ancestry. The vast majority of these are of French heritage, though there are also people of Dutch, British, Spanish and Portuguese ancestry .

The main Asian communities are the Chinese (3.2%, primarily from Hong Kong and Zhejiang province) and Hmong from Laos (1.5%). There are also smaller groups from various Caribbean islands, mainly Saint Lucia as well as Dominica. Other Asian groups include East Indians, Lebanese and Vietnamese.

The main groups living in the interior are the Maroons (formerly called "Bush Negroes") are racially black African, and Amerindians. The Maroons, descendants of escaped African slaves, live primarily along the Maroni River. The main Maroon groups are the Saramaca, Aucan (both of whom also live in Suriname), and Boni (Aluku).

The main Amerindian groups (forming about 3%-4% of the population) are the Arawak, Carib, Emerillon, Galibi (now called the Kaliña), Palikour, Wayampi and Wayana. As of late 1990s there was evidence of an uncontacted group of Wayampi.

The dominant religion of French Guiana is Roman Catholicism; the Maroons and some Amerindian people maintain their own religions. The Hmong people are also mainly Catholic owing to the influence of missionaries who helped bring them to French Guiana.[8]

Historical population
1790
estimate
1839
estimate
1857
estimate
1891
estimate
1946
census
1954
census
1961
census
1967
census
1974
census
1982
census
1990
census
1999
census
2006
census
2007
estimate
2008
estimate
14,520 20,940 25,561 33,500 25,499 27,863 33,505 44,392 55,125 73,022 114,678 157,213 205,954 213,500 221,500
Official figures from past censuses and INSEE estimates.

Languages

The official language of French Guiana is French, but a number of other local languages exist. The official regional languages are French Guiana creole, six Amerindian languages (Arawak, Palikur, Kali'na, Wayana, Wayampi, Emerillon), four Maroon dialects (Saramaka, Paramaccan, Boni, Djuka), as well as Hmong Njua.[9] Other languages spoken include Portuguese, Hakka, Haitian Creole, Spanish and English.

Politics

French Guiana, as part of France, is part of the European Union, the largest landmass for an area outside of Europe (since Greenland left the European Community in 1985), with one of the longest EU external boundaries. Along with the Spanish enclaves in Africa of Ceuta and Melilla, it is one of only three European Union territories outside Europe that is not an island. As an integral part of France, its head of state is the President of the French Republic, and its head of Government is the Prime Minister of France. The French Government and its agencies have responsibility for a wide range of issues that are reserved to the National Executive, such as defense and external relations.

The President of France appoints a Prefect (resident at the Prefecture building in Cayenne) as his representative to head the local government of French Guiana. There are two legislative bodies: the 19-member General Council and the 34-member Regional Council, both elected.

French Guiana sends two deputies to the French National Assembly, one representing the commune (municipality) of Cayenne and the commune of Macouria, and the other representing the rest of French Guiana. This latter constituency is the largest in the French Republic by land area. French Guiana also sends one senator to the French Senate.

French Guiana has traditionally been conservative, though the socialist party has been increasingly successful in recent years.

A chronic issue affecting French Guiana is the influx of illegal immigrants and clandestine gold prospectors from Brazil and Suriname. The border between the department and Suriname is formed by the Maroni River, which flows through rain forest and is difficult for the Gendarmerie and the French Foreign Legion to patrol. The border line with Suriname is disputed.

Transport

French Guiana's main international airport is Cayenne-Rochambeau Airport, located in the commune of Matoury, a southern suburb of Cayenne. There are three flights a day to Paris (Orly Airport), served by Air France, Air Caraïbes and CorsairFly. The flight time from Cayenne to Paris is 8 hours and 25 minutes, and from Paris to Cayenne it is 9 hours and 10 minutes. There are also flights to Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Port-au-Prince, Miami and Belém.

French Guiana's main seaport is the port of Dégrad des Cannes, located on the estuary of the Mahury River, in the commune of Remire-Montjoly, a south-eastern suburb of Cayenne. Almost all of French Guiana's imports and exports pass through the port of Dégrad des Cannes. Built in 1969, it replaced the old harbour of Cayenne which was congested and couldn't cope with modern traffic.

An asphalted road from Régina to Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock (a town by the Brazilian border) was opened in 2004, completing the road from Cayenne to the Brazilian border. It is now possible to drive on a fully paved road from Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni on the Surinamese border to Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock on the Brazilian border.

Following an international treaty between France and Brazil signed in July 2005, the Oyapock River Bridge over the Oyapock River (marking the border with Brazil) is currently being built and is due to open in 2010. This bridge will be the first land crossing ever opened between France and Brazil, and indeed between French Guiana and the rest of the world (there exists no other bridge crossing the Oyapock River, and no bridge crossing the Maroni River marking the border with Suriname - there is a ferry crossing to Albina, Suriname.). When the bridge is opened, it will be possible to drive uninterrupted from Cayenne to Macapá, the capital of the state of Amapá in Brazil.

Notable natives and residents

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b "GDP per inhabitant in 2006 ranged from 25% of the EU27 average in Nord-Est in Romania to 336% in Inner London". Eurostat. http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/PGP_PRD_CAT_PREREL/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2009/PGE_CAT_PREREL_YEAR_2009_MONTH_02/1-19022009-EN-AP.PDF. 
  2. ^ Ben Lomond's Prisoner of Devil's Island. The Valley Post.
  3. ^ French Guiana. Encyclopædia Britannica.
  4. ^ (French) INSEE-CEROM. "Les comptes économiques de la Guyane en 2006 : premiers résultats" (PDF). http://prod-afd.afd.zeni.fr/jahia/webdav/site/cerom/users/admin_cerom/public/Pdf/CR2006_guy.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  5. ^ (French) INSEE. "Produits Intérieurs Bruts Régionaux en euros par habitant". http://www.insee.fr/fr/ffc/docs_ffc/PIB_reg.xls. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  6. ^ (French) INSEE, Government of France. "Population des régions au 1er janvier". http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/tableau.asp?reg_id=99&ref_id=CMRSOS02137. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  7. ^ (French) INSEE, Government of France. ""Migrations (caractéristiques démographiques selon le lieu de naissance)"". http://www.recensement.insee.fr/FR/ST_ANA/D9C/MIGTABMIG1DOMMIG1DOMAD9CFR.html. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  8. ^ Danny Palmerlee (2007). South America. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74104-443-X. http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN174104443X&id=zeUwp50DR9EC&pg=PA746&lpg=PA746&dq=%22French+Guiana%22+date:2000-2007&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html&sig=Gmy65FICYCisCQwh8XgOF9h0rmo. 
  9. ^ "Ethnologue report for French Guiana". Ethnologue. 2009. http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=GF. Retrieved 22 September 2009. 

References

  • France's Overseas Frontier : Départements et territoires d'outre-mer Robert Aldrich and John Connell. Cambridge University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-521-03036-6
  • Dry guillotine: Fifteen years among the living dead René Belbenoit, 1938, Reprint: Berkley (1975). ISBN 0-425-02950-6
  • Hell on Trial René Belbenoit, 1940, Translated from the Original French Manuscript by Preston Rambo. E. P Dutton & Co. Reprint by Blue Ribbon Books, New York, 194 p. Reprint: Bantam Books, 1971
  • Papillon Henri Charrière Reprints: Hart-Davis Macgibbon Ltd. 1970. ISBN 0-246-63987-3 (hbk); Perennial, 2001. ISBN 0-06-093479-4 (sbk)
  • Space in the Tropics: From Convicts to Rockets in French Guiana Peter Redfield. ISBN 0-520-21985-6
  • http://www.triviacafe.com/geography-trivia-questions

External links

Coordinates: 4°N 53°W / 4°N 53°W / 4; -53

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

South America : Amazonia : French Guiana
noframe
Flag
Image:fg-flag.png
Quick Facts
Capital Cayenne (Paris)
Government Overseas department of France
Currency Euro (EUR)
Area 91,000 km2
Population 199,509 (July 2006 est.)
Language French
Religion Roman Catholic
Calling Code +594
Internet TLD .gf
Time Zone UTC -3

French Guiana, [1], (French: Guyane française) is a French department in the Amazonia region of South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname. It is the only non-independent territory in continental North and South America. It is however governed essentially as an overseas province of France with same rights and privileges granted to all other French departments and benefits financially from the arrangement.

Map of French Guiana
Map of French Guiana
  • Cayenne, the administrative capital of French Guiana
  • Kourou, the city which hosts the space center and Arianespace
  • Saint-Laurent, located on the Maroni river, which forms the natural border between Surinam and French Guyana.
  • Saint-Georges, on the Oyapock river, which is the natural border between Brazil and French Guyana.

Understand

First settled by the French in 1604, French Guiana was the site of notorious penal settlements (collectively known as Devil's Island) until 1951. The European Space Agency launches its communication satellites from Kourou. It is the only portion of mainland South America still governed by an overseas nation.

Climate

Tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation.

Landscape

Low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains, mostly an unsettled wilderness.

Get in

Since French Guiana is a territory of France, French immigration law is applicable. Generally, this means EU citizens are allowed unhindered access into French Guiana while many other Western nations can stay for 90 days without a visa. Consult the France page regarding requirements.

By plane

Cayenne-Rochambeau Airport (CAY)

By car

From Brazil you must take a private barge across the Oiapoque River. Its owner can be contacted in St Georges or in Oiapoque. From Suriname, there is a ferry to cross the Maroni River.

By bus

From Brazil and Suriname, when you reach the border, you cross the river with a motorboat or a dugout canoe.

By boat

From Brazil and Suriname, to cross the rivers Oyapoque and Le Maroni, which takes 15 minutes, it's not very expensive, but you have to haggle.

Get around

3,400 km of French Guiana's waterways are navigable by native craft; 460 km navigable by small oceangoing vessels and coastal and river steamers.

There is limited public transportation throughout the country. Minibuses go between major towns but there may only be a few per day. Fares are fixed per route; if only going partial distance to Cayenne you may have to pay the full fare. Eg. St. Laurent du Maroni to Kourou you may have to pay the full fare to Cayenne. Fare for St. Laurent to Cayenne is €35.

Talk

French is the official language of France, although Creole is widely spoken. The majority of the population speaks French while few understand English. However, some officials, police, and gendarmes may speak English.

Currency

The official currency is the euro just like in mainland France.

  • Bar des Palmistes is a nice relaxing restaurant bar, where one can enjoy a cool drink and enjoy the view of the "Place des Palmistes" park.

Drink

Tafia is a local hard liquor that is widely drunk and used as medical purpose. One can drink it with lime juice or with salt and it's used in a drink called Planter, excellent.

Work

For European people coming from an EU country, working in French Guiana is allowed without problem. If you're from outside the EU, you will probably need a work permit - check with the French Embassy in your country. Do not forget though that the unemployment rate is high. But if you work in the health sector (doctor, nurse), it will be much easier.

Voluntary service: Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique (VCAT), [8]. Conditions: you must be French or from another EU-member state or a country belonging to the European Economic Area. You must be over 18 and under 28 years old (inclusive). You must not have had your civic rights revoked by a court or have been convicted of certain offences.

Stay healthy

Vaccination against yellow fever is necessary.

Loss of passports

It is advisable to pay extreme attention not to lose your passport: there are very few consulates in French Guiana as such services are provided by consulates in Paris, so you will be required to go to Paris in case you need your passport to be reissued if you are not an EU citizen.

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Proper noun

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Singular
French Guiana

Plural
-

French Guiana

  1. Overseas department of France in South America. Official name: Department of French Guiana.

Translations

See also


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