The most remote places of the EU: French Guiana

, by Isabelle Unger, Translated by Flavia Sandu

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English]

The most remote places of the EU: French Guiana
The “Îles du Salut” at the French Guianan coast. © Alexander Stirn / Link/ CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

In a new series, our German sister edition treffpunkteuropa.de explores the most remote places of the European Union. Geographically, they may lie thousands of kilometers from the European continent, yet they are part of the Union. We are explaining why these places are tied to Europe and why a trip there could be worthwhile. To begin the series, French Guiana in South America, home of the Devil’s Island and the scene of unique landscapes.

Thousands of kilometers away, but still part of Europe - the French Guiana (not to be confused with Guyana) is located between Brazil and Suriname and it is approximately as big as Austria. By virtue of being part of France, it is also part of the EU and NATO. The currency used is the euro.

Christopher Columbus discovered the region in 1498. The first European immigrants were the Dutch, followed by the French and the British. Initially belonging to Portuguese Brazil, French Guiana was given to France in the Treaty of Badajoz in 1801, and today it has two seats in the Senate and the National Assembly of the motherland. The “Îles du Salut”, a former French prison colony also known as Devil’s Island, became well-known through the bestseller “An Officer and a Spy”. Robert Harris told here the historical scandal of a Jewish officer, Alfred Dreyfus, accused of treason, who was imprisoned on the island.

The central economic factor of the region is the ESA-operated spaceport in Kourou, which represents one of the greatest tourist attractions. Another reason for a trip is the breathtaking nature of French Guiana: 90 percent of the surface consists of tropical rainforests, which constitutes the largest continuous forest area of the EU.

Location of French Guiana.

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Your comments

  • On 2 August at 22:21, by Ian Beckett Replying to: The most remote places of the EU: French Guiana

    If you want a remote place that at the moment is part of the EU, try Pitcairn Island in the southern Pacific, a UK overseas territory. It has even been the recipient of EU funding, although it would be more accurate to say it received funding from the UK channelled through the EU.

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