French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of the single overseas department located on the northern coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil and Suriname. French Guiana’s main city is Cayenne. The addition of the adjective « French » comes from colonial times when three such colonies existed: British Guiana (now Guyana), Dutch Guiana (now Suriname) and French Guiana.

French Guiana is heavily dependent on France for subsidies, trade, and goods. The main industries are fishing (accounting for three-quarters of foreign exports), gold mining and timber. In addition, The Guiana Space Center at Kourou accounts for 25% of the GDP and employs about 1700 people. It is there, on the spatial base of Kourou that, since 1968, rockets Ariane are thrown (and soon SOYOUZ then VEGA), making of Grench Guiana: the European Spatial Port.

An example of project developed by using space technologies: - SEAS (Surveillance de l’Environnement Amazonien par Satellite) is a station who allows to exploit directly the pictures acquired by earth observation satellites, Spot and Envisat, with an objective posted to create a reference center for the knowledge and the follow-up of the dynamics of the Amazonian environment and caribbean. This project is the result of a partnership between IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement), CNES, Regional council, Departemental council, French Guiana university, ESA and Guyane Technopole.

A few regional data:

POPULATION: 221 500 inhabitants in 2008

SURFACE AREA: 83 846 km²

DENSITY: 2.6 inhabitants per km²

MAIN CITIES: Cayenne, Kourou, Saint-Laurent.


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