Overseas France

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French overseas departments, territories and claims on Antarctica
Banner of the Minister of Overseas France

Overseas France (French: France d'outre-mer) is the part of France that is outside of the European continent. It consists of all overseas departments, territories and collectivities. These territories have several different legal statuses and levels of autonomy. Overseas France includes island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, French Guiana in South America, and Adélie Land in Antarctica. Each inhabited territory is represented in both the French National Assembly and the French Senate (which together make up the Parliament of France).

2,685,705 people lived in the overseas departments and territories in January 2011.[1]

Types of territories[change | change source]

The lands making up the French Republic, shown at the same geographic scale.

Overseas departments and regions[change | change source]

Overseas departments and regions are completely part of France.

From 1976 to 2003, Mayotte was a unique overseas territory. Between 2003 and 2011, it was an overseas community. It became an overseas department on 31 March 2011, after its citizens voted to become a full part of France.

Overseas collectivities[change | change source]

The category of overseas collectivity was created by changes made to France's constitution in 28 March 2003. Each overseas collectivity has its own written laws.

From 1946 to 2003, French Polynesia was an overseas territory. In 2004, it was given the designation of overseas country (French: pays d'outre-mer).
From 1976 to 1985, Saint Pierre and Miquelon was an overseas department. Between 1985 and 2003, it was a unique overseas territory.
From 1961 to 2003, Wallis and Futuna was an overseas territory.
Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy both separated from Guadeloupe in 2003.[2] They became separate overseas collectivities of their own on 22 February 2007.[3][4]

Special collectivity[change | change source]

New Caledonia was classified as an overseas territory from 1946. It gained a special status in 1999 as a result of the Nouméa Accord. It has its own citizenship, and power is gradually being passed from the French state to New Caledonia itself. A referendum on independence is to be called any time between 2014 and 2019.[5]

Overseas territories[change | change source]

Minor territories[change | change source]

Representation[change | change source]

The overseas departments and territories are represented by 27 députés in the French National Assembly and 21 senators in the French Senate. This is 4.7% of the 577 députés and 6% of the 343 senators.

List of territories[change | change source]

Inhabited departments and collectivities[change | change source]

The 11 French Overseas Territories are :

Flag Name Capital Population Land area (km2) Status Location Notes
French Guiana French Guiana Cayenne 229,000 (Jan. 2009)[6] 83,534 Overseas department / region South America
French Polynesia French Polynesia Papeete 264,000 (Jan. 2009)[7] 4,167 Overseas collectivity South Pacific Ocean
Guadeloupe Guadeloupe Basse-Terre 404,000 (Jan. 2009)[6] 1,628 Overseas department / region Antilles
Martinique Martinique Fort-de-France 402,000 (Jan. 2009)[6] 1,128 Overseas department / region Antilles
Mayotte Mayotte Mamoudzou 186,452 (July 2007)[8] 374 Overseas department / region Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Also claimed by Comoros
New Caledonia New Caledonia Nouméa 244,410 (Jan. 2008)[9] 18,575 Sui generis collectivity South Pacific Ocean Referendum for independence to occur sometime during the period of 2014 to 2019.
Réunion Réunion Saint-Denis 817,000 (Jan. 2009)[6] 2,512 Overseas department / region Africa
(Indian Ocean)
Saint Barthélemy Saint Barthélemy Gustavia 8,450 (Jan. 2007)[10] 21 Overseas collectivity Antilles Detached from Guadeloupe on 22 February 2007.
Collectivity of Saint Martin Saint Martin Marigot 35,925 (Jan. 2007)[10] 53 Overseas collectivity Antilles Detached from Guadeloupe on 22 February 2007.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint-Pierre 6,099 (Jan. 2007)[10] 242 Overseas collectivity Southeast of Canada
Wallis and Futuna Wallis and Futuna Mata-Utu 13,484 (Jul. 2008)[11] 274 Overseas collectivity South Pacific Ocean
Overall Summary
Status Population (Jan. 2011)[1] Land area (km2)
Overseas Departments / Regions 1,890,705 91,847
Overseas Collectivities & New Caledonia 795,000 23,632
Total 2,685,705 120,049

Uninhabited lands[change | change source]

Lands generally uninhabited, except by researchers in scientific stations.

Flag Name Capital Land area (km2) Status Location Notes
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Banc du Geyser - 1 TAAF district Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascar and Comoros
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Bassas da India - 1 TAAF district Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascar
France Clipperton - 7 French state private property West of Mexico
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Crozet Islands Alfred Faure 352 TAAF district South Indian Ocean
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Europa - 28 TAAF district Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascar
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Glorioso Islands - 5 TAAF district Indian Ocean Claimed by Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Juan de Nova - 5 TAAF district Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascar
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Kerguelen Islands Port-aux-Français 7,215 TAAF district South Indian Ocean
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Saint-Paul Island and
Amsterdam Island
Martin-de-Viviès 66 TAAF district Indian Ocean
French Southern and Antarctic Lands Tromelin Island - 1 TAAF district Indian Ocean Claimed by Mauritius

Antarctica[change | change source]

Flag Name Capital Land area (km2) Status Location Notes
Flag of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.svg Adélie Land Dumont d'Urville Station 432,000 TAAF district Antarctica Under terms of Antarctic Treaty System

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 INSEE, Government of France. "Bilan démographique 2010". http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/document.asp?ref_id=ip1332#inter1. Retrieved 2011-01-21. (French)
  2. "French Caribbean voters reject change". Caribbean Net News. 2003-12-09. http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/2003/12/09/voters.htm. Retrieved 2007-02-09. "However, voters in the two tiny French dependencies of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, which have been administratively attached to Guadeloupe, approved the referendum and are set to acquire the new status of "overseas collectivity"."
  3. Magras, Bruno (2007-02-16). "Letter of Information from the Mayor to the residents and non-residents, to the French and to the foreigners, of Saint Barthelemy" (PDF). St. Barth Weekly. p. 2. http://www.st-barths.com/jsb/pdf_files/weekly108.pdf. Retrieved 2007-02-18. "On February 7 of this year, the French Parliament adopted the law granting Saint-Barthélemy the Statute of an Overseas Collectivity."
  4. "Saint-Barth To Become An Overseas Collectivity" (PDF). St. Barth Weekly. 2007-02-09. p. 2. http://www.st-barths.com/jsb/pdf_files/weekly107.pdf. Retrieved 2007-02-09.
  5. "Nouvelle-Calédonie", Le Petit Larousse (2010), Paris, page 1559.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 INSEE, Government of France. "Population des régions au 1er janvier". http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/tableau.asp?reg_id=99&ref_id=CMRSOS02137. Retrieved 2010-01-30. (French)
  7. Institut Statistique de Polynésie Française (ISPF). "Enquêtes & Répertoires > Etat Civil". http://www.ispf.pf/ISPF/EnqRep/EtatCivil.aspx. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  8. (French) INSEE, Government of France. "INSEE Infos No 32" (PDF). http://www.insee.fr/fr/insee_regions/reunion/zoom/mayotte/publications/inseeinfos/pdf/insee%20infos%20n32.pdf. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  9. (French) Institut de la statistique et des études économiques de Nouvelle-Calédonie (ISEE). "CHIFFRES CLÉS - Démographie" (PDF). http://www.isee.nc/chiffresc/chiffresc.html#d%C3%A9mographie. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 INSEE, Government of France. "Populations légales 2007 pour les départements et les collectivités d'outre-mer". http://www.insee.fr/fr/ppp/bases-de-donnees/recensement/populations-legales/france-departements.asp?annee=2007. Retrieved 2010-01-30. (French)
  11. INSEE, Government of France. "Les populations des circonscriptions du Territoire des îles Wallis et Futuna". http://www.insee.fr/fr/themes/detail.asp?ref_id=poplegalescom&page=recensement/poplegalescom/popcircwallisetfutuna.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-13. (French)

Other websites[change | change source]