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Geography, history & climate

Guiana is a French department and an equatorial territory located between 2 and 6 degrees latitude North on the Atlantic coast of South America. Its surface area is about 92,000 sq. km (36,000 sq. Miles).

Formely populated by Indian tribes, French Guiana was subjected to many French, Dutch and English expeditions from 1500 to 1643.

French colonisation started in 1643 bringing with it African slaves. Some of these slaves sought refuge in the forests, giving birth to the tribes known today as Bosh, Boni and Saramaca.

In 1849, the first Chineses and South East Asians arrived in Guiana.

The famous penitentiary began in 1852 and was not suppressed until 1953 (deporting about 70,000 prisoners in one century).

In 1947, Guiana became a French Overseas Department and in 1964 the French authorities decided to create the Guiana Space Center.

In 1966, Europe decided the European Equatorial Launch base in Guiana to launch satellites in geostationary orbit.

In 1975, Europe concluded an agreement with the French Government to use the Guiana Space Center for the Ariane program, and undertook the adapting of facilities in Guiana for this purpose (ELA, EPCU).

There are about 200 000 inhabitants in Guiana, half in Cayenne and its suburban, 25 000 in Kourou and the rest mostly distributed amonst the coastal towns. A few Indian tribes still live in the forest: Galibis, Emerillons, Oyampis ...

The climate is equatorial, without the excesses some countries of same latitude have. In fact the climate is easily bearable, often pleasant. Satellite image

There are two main seasons: the dry season from July to november and the rainy season from December to June. We have usually a "little summer" in March that cuts the rainy season in two. Temperatures varies consequently, the maximum ranging from 28°C/82.4°F to 32°C/ 89.6°F and the minimum from 21°C/69.8°F to 25°C/77°F. Humidity varies with the season from 80% to 95%. Tropical clothing can be worn all year round.

Kourou time coresponds to U.T-3 (E.S.T.+2 in autumn and winter, E.D.T.+1 in spring and summer).