Brief History of French Guiana:
The original inhabitants of French Guiana were Native Americans. The French came to the area in the 17th century. They had a difficult time surviving due to tropical diseases. For a short period of time (1809 -1813) the Portuguese took over the area, but soon the French regained control through the Treaty of Paris.
France used the now infamous Devil's Island, an island off the coast of French Guiana, as a penal colony for criminals. France sent almost 56,000 prisoners to the island, few of which survived.
In 1964 the construction of a space-travel base was started in French Guiana. Today the Guiana Space Center is an important part of the European space industry.
The Geography of French Guiana
Total Size: 91,000 square km
Size Comparison: slightly smaller than Indiana
Geographical Coordinates: 4 00 N, 53 00 W
World Region or Continent: South America
General Terrain: low-lying coastal plains rising to hills and small mountains
Geographical Low Point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Geographical High Point: Bellevue de l'Inini 851 m
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; little seasonal temperature variation
The People of French Guiana
Type of Government: NA
Languages Spoken: French
Independence: none (overseas department of France)
National Holiday: Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Nationality: French Guianese (singular and plural)
Religions: Roman Catholic
National Anthem or Song:
Economy of French Guiana
Major Industries: construction, shrimp processing, forestry products, rum, gold mining
Agricultural Products: corn, rice, manioc (tapioca), sugar, cocoa, vegetables, bananas; cattle, pigs, poultry
Natural Resources: bauxite, timber, gold (widely scattered), petroleum, kaolin, fish, niobium, tantalum, clay
Major Exports: shrimp, timber, gold, rum, rosewood essence, clothing
Major Imports: food (grains, processed meat), machinery and transport equipment, fuels and chemicals
Currency: euro (EUR)
National GDP: $1,551,000,000
** Source for population (2012 est.) and GDP (2011 est.) is CIA World Factbook.
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