OFFICIAL NAME: Department of French Guiana
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Overseas Department of France
AREA: 90,909 Sq Km (35,100 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 132,800
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: French Guiana is located on the
north coast of South America. It is bound by Suriname to
the west, Brazil to the southeast and south as well as the
Atlantic Ocean to the north. The country is a low lying
along the coast with fertile rolling plains broken by occasional
hills that rise to the central Chaine Granitique while in
the south the land rises to the Sierra de Tumucumaque. Most
of the country is unsettled wilderness and also contains
dense tropical rain forest in the Amazon Basin while the
coast has many rocky islets.The principal rivers are the
Camopi, Inini, Ouaqui, Tampoc, Marowiny, Mana, Sinnamary,
Comte and Approuague which flow to the Atlantic Ocean. Major
Cities; Cayenne 41,200, Kourou 13,900 (1990). Land Use;
forested 83%, pastures and agricultural-cultivated 0.2%,
other 17.2% (1989).
CLIMATE: French Guiana has a tropical climate characterized by
hot and humid conditions. There are two seasons, a wet season from December
to June and a dry season from August to October. Average annual precipitation
is more than 2,500 mm (100 inches) while average temperature ranges in
Cayenne are from 23 degrees Celsius (73 degrees Fahrenheit) to 33 degrees
Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: Most of the population live along the coast. The French
account for 46% of the population while AmerIndians and Black Africans
account for 11% and Haitians account for 17%. The AmerIndians are predominantly
of the Carib and Arawak tribes.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 1.4 persons per sq km
(3.6 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 81.8% urban, 18.2% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 52.1% male, 47.9% female (1991). Life Expectancy at Birth;
63.4 years male, 69.7 years female (1979). Age Breakdown; 34% under 15,
27% 15 to 29, 23% 30 to 44, 10% 45 to 59, 4% 60 to 74, 2% 75 and over (1991).
Birth Rate; 31.0 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 5.1 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 25.9 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 22.7 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 87% of the population Roman
Catholic while 4% are Protestant. Other religious minorities include Afro-American
Spiritualists, Muslims and followers of local native tribal beliefs.
LANGUAGES: The official language is French, although a Creole
Patois and AmerIndian languages are also widely spoken.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
20.8%, incomplete primary 40.4%, incomplete secondary 32.4%, secondary
and higher 6.4% (1982). Literacy; literate population aged 16 or over 38,964
or 82.0% (1982).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1990: In 1946 French Guiana became an
overseas department of France. Since then French Guiana has worked with
the help of France to develop its economy and improve the living standards
of its people. In the 1980's a strong movement for independence developed,
but most of the citizens wanted French Guiana to remain an overseas department
of France. In 1982 some greater autonomy was given to French Guiana which
included decentralization legislation.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the French Franc (F) divided
into 100 Centimes.
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are France,
other EU countries, Guadeloupe, Martinique, the USA and Brazil.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Bauxite, Cattle, Fish, Gold, Kaolin,
Limited Vegetables and Fruits, Maize, Manioc, Pigs, Poultry, Rice, Shrimp,
Sugar Cane, Timber.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Construction, Forestry, Shrimp Processing.
MAIN EXPORTS: Essence of Rose, Gold, Rum, Shrimp, Timber, Wood,.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 1,137 km (706 mi) (1988).
Vehicles; cars 27,010 (1987), trucks and buses 1,120 (1987). Merchant Marine;
N/A. Air Transport; N/A.
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 2 with a total circulation
of 5,000 (1989). Radio; receivers 65,000 (1987). Television; receivers
6,500 (1990). Telephones; units 33,809 (1989).
MILITARY: 2,700 (1984) total active duty personnel.