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French Guiana

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General information


French Guiana is in the Amazonian region of South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname. This total area is 91000 square kilometers (35135 square miles).

It is an overseas department of France, located on the northern coast of South America. Like the other DOMs, French Guiana is also an overseas region of France, one of the 26 regions of France, and is an integral part of the French Republic.

French Guiana has an equatorial climate. The two main seasons are :

  • The dry season, from August to December.
  • The rainy season, from December to June.

In this country, it is hot throughout the year, the highest average temperature being 30°C and the nights being relatively cooler.

The main towns 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 Guiana.
  • Saint-Georges, on the Oyapock River, which is the natural border between Brazil and French Guiana.

 

The economy of French Guiana:

 

In 2006 the GDP per capita of French Guiana at market exchange rates, was € 13,800 (US$17,380), which was 48% of France’s average GDP per capita that year.

 

The Demography of French Guiana:

 

  • French Guianese population which counts 221,500 people (January 2008 estimation), most of whom live along the coast, is very ethnically diverse. Estimates of the percentages of French Guiana ethnic composition vary, because of the large numbers of immigrants (about 20,000).
  • At the 1999 census, 54.4 % of the inhabitants of French Guiana were born in French Guiana, 11.8 % were born in France, 5.2 % were born in the French Caribbean departments (Guadeloupe and Martinique), and 28.6% were born in foreign countries (mostly Brazil, Suriname, and Haiti).
  • French Guiana was originally inhabited by a number of indigenous American peoples.  Now, the main Amerindian groups, which represent about 3%-4% of the population, are the Arawak, Emerillon, Telewe’yu, Palikour, Wayampi and Wayana.
  • The main groups living in the interior are the Maroons, also called Bush Negroes. The Maroons, descendants of escaped African slaves, live primarily along the Maroni River. The main Maroon groups are the Paramaca, Saramaca, Djuka, Aucan (both of whom also live in Suriname) and the Boni (Aluku).
  • The main Asian communities are the Hmong from Laos (1.5%) and the Chinese (3.2%, mostly from Hong Kong and Zhejiang province). The Hmong population is arrived in French Guiana, in July 1979.
  • There are also smaller groups from various Caribbean islands, mainly Saint Lucia as well as Dominica.

 

The Official language of French Guiana:


French is the official language, although Creole is widely spoken. The majority of the population speaks French while few understand English.