|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)|
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.
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French Guiana Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.