French Guiana facts for kids
|Overseas department of France|
|Divisions||2 arrondissements, 22 communes|
|Highest point||Bellevue de l'Inini|
|- location||Guiana Shield|
|- elevation||851 m (2,792 ft)|
|Lowest point||Atlantic Ocean|
|- elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Area||83,533.9 km² (32,253 sq mi)|
|Density||3 /km² (8 /sq mi)|
|Website: Territorial collectivity|
French Guiana (French: Guyane) is an overseas department and region of France, on the north Atlantic coast of South America. By land area, it is the second largest region of France and the largest overseas department of France and of the European Union.
Guiana comes from an Amerindian language (Arawak) that means "land of many waters". The addition of the word "French" in most languages other than French comes from colonial times when there were five in the region; they were, from west to east:
- Spanish Guiana (now Guayana Region in Venezuela)
- British Guiana (now Guyana)
- Dutch Guiana, (now Suriname)
- French Guiana (now Guyane)
- Portuguese Guiana (now Amapá in Brazil).
French Guiana and the two larger countries to the north and west, Guyana and Suriname, are still often collectively referred to as the Guianas and form the Guiana Shield.
French Guiana borders two countries: Surinam to the west, and Brazil to the east and south. To the north is the Atlantic Ocean. There are two main geographical regions: a coastal strip where the majority of the people live, and a dense rainforest which gradually rises to the modest peaks of the Tumuc-Humac mountains along the Brazilian frontier.
The highest point in the department is Bellevue de l'Inini () in the Maripasoula commune; it is (851 m (2,792 ft)) high. Other mountains are Mont Machalou (782 m [2,566 ft]), Pic Coudreau (711 m [2,333 ft]) and Mont St Marcel (635 m [2,083 ft]).
Several small islands are found off the coast, the three Îles du Salut which include Devil's Island, and the isolated Îles du Connétable further along the coast towards Brazil.
As of 2007[update], the Amazon rainforest in the most southern part of the department, is protected as the Guiana Amazonian Park, one of the ten national parks of France. The territory of the park covers some 33,900 square kilometres (13,100 sq mi) in the communes of Camopi, Maripasoula, Papaïchton, Saint-Élie and Saül.
The average temperature for the year in Cayenne is 26.7 °C (80.1 °F). The warmest month, on average, is September with an average temperature of 27.2 °C (81.0 °F). The coolest month on average is January, with an average temperature of 26.1 °C (79.0 °F).
The average amount of precipitation for the year in Cayenne is 3,205.5 mm (126.2 in). The month with the most precipitation on average is May with 513.1 mm (20.2 in) of precipitation. The month with the least precipitation on average is September with an average of 43.2 mm (1.7 in). There is an average of 201.0 days of precipitation, with the most precipitation occurring in May with 27.0 days and the least precipitation occurring in September with 5.0 days.
The department of French Guiana is managed by the Collectivité territorial de la Guyane in Cayenne.
The 22 communes in the department are:
|Arrondissement of Cayenne|
|97302||Cayenne||55,817||23.60||2,365.13||Le Centre Littoral|
|97307||Matoury||31,934||137.20||232.76||Le Centre Littoral|
|97309||Remire-Montjoly||21,787||46.11||472.50||Le Centre Littoral|
|97305||Macouria||11,209||378.00||29.61||Le Centre Littoral|
|97310||Roura||3,537||3,902.50||0.91||Le Centre Littoral|
|97313||Montsinéry-Tonnegrande||2,477||737.20||3.36||Le Centre Littoral|
|Arrondissement of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni|
The inhabitants of French Guiana are known, in French, as Guyanais (women: Guyanaises).
French Guiana has a population, in 2014, of 252,338, for a population density of 3.0 inhabitants/km2. The city with more people living in it is the capital, Cayenne (55,817 inhabitants). The subprefecture of Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni has 44,169 inhabitants.
The main traditional industries are fishing, gold mining and timber. In addition, the Guiana Space Centre has played a significant role in the local economy since it was established in Kourou in 1964.
Devils Island Prison
Three Islands off the countires coast were USed by the French Government from 1852 to 1953 as Prison Islands. They were:
- Royale ISland
- Saint-Joseph Island used for solitary confinement in silence and darkness for escape attempts
- Devils Island for political prisoners [Dreyfus was kept here]
Convicts who were sentenced to more than 8 years and survied and served their terms could not return to France but were required to stay on as involunatary settlers for the rest of their lives.
- Alfred Dreyfus
- Henri Charrière [b.16 November 1906-d.19 July 1973] aka Papillion (Butterfly). A Burgler and safe cracker he was convicted 26 October 1931 of the Murder of a pimp named Roland Le Petit [ He admitted being a criminal but denied the murder charge]. He was sentenced to life in prison and ten years of hard labour. He married Georgette Fourel, mayor of the 1st arrondissement of Paris, on December 22, 1931. [They divorced on 8 July 1970 by decision of the Paris High Court]. After a brief imprisonment at the transit prison of Beaulieu in Caen, France, he was transported in 1933 to the prison of St-Laurent-du-Maroni on the Maroni River, in the penal settlement of mainland French Guiana. He claimed to have engaged several escapes from 1933 to 1941 when he finally succeded in escaping. In 1942 he was arrested and sent to a brutal penal settlement in El Dorado, Bolivar State, Venezuela. After a year of imprisonment, Charrière was released with identity papers on 3 July 1944. Five years later he was given Venezuelan citizenship; he became a businessman and married again. His 1969 autobiography became a best selling book and later made into a movie with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. French records of his life from 1933-1944 present a different account: He left the citadel of Saint-Martin-de-Ré on 29 September 1933 aboard the Martinière and landed on 14 October with the status of "transported" to Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni. There is little time left in the transportation camp as he is assigned as a nursing assistant to the André-Bouron Colonial Hospital, where he sees many inmates returning from the run and tell him their escape stories from which he will draw inspiration. This place prevents him from the work of logging sites or agricultural concessions that annihilate convicts in a few months. He escaped for the first time on September 5, 1934, but failed in Colombia, a country that returned escaped convicts to France. Judging by the Special Maritime Court, he spent two years in the cells of the St. Joseph's Island Seclusion. Several times transferred, he ended up as a nurse-chief in an Indochinese camp on the Guyanese mainland, the Cascades forest camp from which he escaped on the night of March 18-19, 1944, along with four other companions.]
Images for kids
French Guiana Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.