Welcome to the country of land and water

 “In the beginning Kuyuli created the world, with birds in the sky, fish in the water, and snakes and men on firm land. But men were ungrateful and mocked their creator’s repugnant appearance. Embittered, Kuyuli decided to take his revenge by sending a flood which destroyed mankind, apart from a few kinsmen. But he soon felt remorse for the world he had created, and asked the birds, who had survived, to bring him earth from the edge of the world, which had been spared in the flood. It is said that the most skilful birds were the black-bellied cuckoo and the woodpecker that patiently managed to bring back soil they held with their feet and which became mankind’s new homeland”

 In this way the Earth came into being according to the elders of the Amerindian Wayana tribe.

Some feel that French Guiana has kept the exubERANT nature of these early times, making it a remarkable exception given that elsewhere the great tropical forests are inexorably retreating year after year. It thus provides a privileged observatory for Amazonian flora and fauna, which has been largely preserved here. The national Guiana Amazonian Park is the largest area in the world to have been granted national park status if taken in conjunction with the Tumucumaque park on the other side of the border with Brazil. The case is all the more exceptional as there is still a large number of animal and plant species to be discovered. It goes without saying that learning about and protecting this biodiversitY is a major challenge for this territory.

In addition to its natural wealth the territory has a remarkable cultural heritage, having served for many centuries as home to and place of exchange between Amerindian, African, European, Asiatic, and Latin American populations. French Guiana has acted as a melting pot for this blending of people and cultures, and so is perfectly positioned to find its place in a world of ever greater trade and exchange, and able to draw on its dual identity as both European and South American.

In addition to these unique geographical advantages French Guiana also benefits from its proximity to the Equator, making it the ideal place to site the space centre, located near Kourou, from where over 160 flights have been launched over the past 40 years.

As part of this brief summary of the local advantages, mention must be made of the YOUTHFULNESS and democratic dynamism of its population, guaranteeing French Guiana a promising future and making it able to rise to the challenges of balanced co-development based on the outstanding wealth of its heritage, improving understanding about it, and its sustainable economic development.


Each inhabitant of French Guiana has 800,000m3 of freshwater at his or her disposal per year, as compared to the world average of 1800m3 per year.


The word Guiana is said to come from a Guanao dialect of the Karib Indians from the delta of the Orinoco. It means “valorous people” or “great people”.

7200 BP (Before Present)

This is the earliest known human presence in French Guiana, discovered in 2005 when a road was being built between St-Laurent and Apatou.



Since the launch of a probe rocket 40 years ago, over 500 launch operations have been carried out at the space centre, including about 160 Ariane rocket launches.


Many regional languages are to be found alongside one another in French Guiana: Guianese Creole, 6 Amerindian languages (Arawak, Palikur, Kali’na, Wayana, Wayampi, and Emerillon), 4 Maroon languages (Saramaka, ParamaKa, Boni, and Djuka), as well as Hmong. Portuguese, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Spanish, and English are also spoken.



Most French biodiversity is to be found in French Guiana, with about a third of its plants, half of its higher vertebrates, and over 90% of its insects.

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