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Friday 24th May
French Guiana Facts
The highest point in French Guiana is Bellevue de l'Inini (851 m).

A large percentage of French Guiana is covered with equatorial forest.

Cayenne pepper is named after Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana.

Arawak Indians and Caribs were early inhabitants of French Guiana.

Christopher Columbus first sighted French Guiana in 1498.

The French settled in the region in the seventeenth century.

The first French settlers arrived in French Guiana in 1604.

Other settlers included the British, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.

Slaves were transported from African countries to work on sugar plantations.

French Guiana was established as a French Colony after the Napoleonic Wars.

Victor Schoelcher, the French abolitionist, contributed to the end of slavery in the French colonies in 1848.

French Guiana was the location of penal settlements from the middle of the nineteenth century until the middle of the twentieth century.

The infamous Devil's Island, one of the Iles du Salut, was part of the French penal colony in South America.

Prisons were also established on other islands and in Saint Laurant de Maroni.

In 1946 French Guiana became an overseas department of France.

Bastille Day is celebrated in French Guiana on 14 July (1789).

Colonial architecture can still be found in French Guiana.

As an overseas department of France, the Department of Guiana is part of the European Union.

In the 1970s Hmong refugees from Laos were relocated to French Guiana. Around two thousand Hmong people settled in an area they called Cacao.

The European Space Centre is located at Kourou in French Guiana.

Successful Ariane flights, launched from Kourou, took place in 2005.

By 2017 Kourou was counted among the spaceports with the highest percentage of successful launches.

"NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope was launched on 25 December 2021 on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America. A joint effort with ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb observatory is NASA’s revolutionary flagship mission to seek the light from the first galaxies in the early universe and to explore our own solar system, as well as planets orbiting other stars, called exoplanets." NASA

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