French Guiana Overview

French Guiana Overview

French Guiana, French overseas department on the northeast coast of South America. Almost all of the approximately 250,000 residents live in the coastal plain. The capital is Cayenne. About 90% of the country is covered by tropical rainforest. South of Cayenne is Kourou, the French space research center with a rocket launch base. French Guiana, in French possession since 1816, was a convict colony from 1854–1938 and became a French overseas department in 1946.

Country Overview

According to abbreviationfinder, French Guiana, official French Guiana Française [g ɥ i jan Frà sε ː z], is an overseas territory of France on the north coast of South America with (2013) 250 000 residents; The capital is Cayenne.

French Guiana lies between Suriname in the west (border river Maroni) and Brazil in the east and south; divided into the administrative districts of Cayenne and Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni and 22 municipalities, 83 534 km 2.

French Guiana is largely part of the Guiana Mountains, which here, severely cut by many rivers, only reach heights of up to 700 m above sea level. The Îles du Salut, to which the Devil’s Island belongs, are in front of the up to 40 km wide coastal plain. About 90% of the area is made up of tropical rainforest covered (the largest contiguous forest area in the EU), mangrove swamps are widespread along the coast. The highest point is the Bellevue de l’Inini at 851 m above sea level. Around 23,000 hectares are used for agriculture. The climate is tropical, with annual rainfall of 2,000 to 3,800 mm (Cayenne). Almost half of the population, which consists mainly of Creoles and a black and white minority, live in the capital. The rapid increase in the population can be explained by immigration and high natural growth. There are small numbers of indigenous people on the coast and inland, as well as Maron on chestnuts. The official language is French, the colloquial language is a French Creole language (patois); the population is 80% Roman Catholic and 4% Protestant. In the economy, in addition to insufficiently developed agriculture (only near the coast) for personal use (mainly maize, rice and cassava), only sugar cane cultivation (processing into rum), crab fishing (for the North American market) and logging play a role. The abundance of wood (especially hardwood) and the natural resources (bauxite, gold) are still little used. The trade balance is heavily in deficit; Crabs, among other things, seafood, rice and gold are exported. The main trading partners are France, Trinidad and Tobago and Italy. ESA ) and a rocket launching base, which contribute to the tourism of French Guiana, otherwise adventure and ecotourism. The international airport is Rochambeau near Cayenne. The road connections (around 1,800 km) are concentrated in the coastal area; the largely deserted interior is hardly developed. – The coast of Guiana was discovered in 1599 by the Spaniard Alonso de Hojeda; In 1604, French settlers founded Cayenne. After changing ownership, French Guiana finally came into French possession in 1816 (Treaty of London); from 1852/54 convict colony (Devil’s Island, Cayenne; last deportation 1938). In 1946 French Guiana became a French overseas department.


Cayenne [ka jεn], capital of French Guiana, on the north west tip of the island Cayenne at the mouth of the rivers and Cayenne Mahury in the Atlantic (2011) 57,200 residents; catholic bishopric; Research institutes, museum, botanical garden; Sugar refinery, port and international airport.

Founded by the French in 1604; 1854–1938 center of a penal colony.

French Guiana Overview

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