French Guiana is an overseas territory of France, situated on the north eastern coast of South America.
The capital city is Cayenne.
The Guiana Spaceport.
Cayenne is located on Cayenne Island, which is formed by the estuaries of the Cayenne and Mahury rivers. Founded in 1643 by the French as La Ravardière, it was reoccupied in 1664 after destruction by the Indians and was declared a city and renamed Cayenne in 1777.
After the emancipation of slaves in 1848, it became a centre of French penal settlements in Guiana, established mainly as compensatory labour sources.
In 1852 Napoleon III decreed that convicts with sentences of more than seven years were to be sent to here, and Cayenne became known as the city of the condemned. The prisons were closed in 1945.
The country is largely covered in Amazon rainforest, with its development centred on a handful of towns hugging the coastline. One of these towns – Kourou – is home to the Guiana Space Station.
It is used by the European Space Agency and the French government to launch satellites into space is a strategically-located facility that provides optimum operating conditions for Arianespace’s commercial launches with the heavy-lift Ariane 5, medium-size Soyuz and lightweight Vega.
With an area of 83,534 km², the country is about the size of Austria, or slightly larger than the U.S. state of South Carolina.
It is bounded by Brazil to the south and east, Suriname to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast.