French Guiana Final Report Essay

1848 WordsSep 9, 20118 Pages
Judy Guthro Professor Brady GEO373 05 February 2011 The history and culture of French Guiana is as varied as its landscape. Its people are as diverse as the country; from the Atlantic coast, to the marshy swamps, to the tropical rain forest and the Guiana Highlands. The Arawak Indians were the first known people to inhabit the land now known as French Guiana. The next wave of people was the Caribs, who were traveling from Brazil and stayed behind. This group made up the Amerindians, of which there are only a handful of descendants left today. The Spaniards commissioned Christopher Columbus and settled the land in 1498. They occupied the land on and off for the next century. When the rest of the European powers were claiming land in…show more content…
There is also a notable settlement of Vietnamese who came over in the early and middle parts of the twentieth century as well as the settlement of H’mong refugees from Laos. The cultures interact fairly well and inherently adopt and adapt to local flavors. The vast mix of people brings with it a variety of religions. The country is predominately Christian at 85%. Eighty percent of those are Roman Catholic and 5% are Protestant. Chinese, Hindu and Muslim make up another 6%. Traditional beliefs and Spirtist’s make up most of the balance. The 2009 population in French Guiana was approximately 217,000. Around 40 percent of the population lives in the capital of Cayenne with another 15% in Kouruo at the space center. African and Afro-Europeans make up 66 percent of the total population. Europeans make up another 18 percent and East Asians, Amerindians, and Brazilians make up the remainder (Burton, 59). There are also a few tribes descended from African slaves who escaped from plantations to live a lifestyle similar to their native Africa. In the sparsely populated interior the Oyampi and Palik tribes still follow a traditional Pre-Columbian way of life. National Identity: In the political and cultural sense there is no national identity. The nation for the French Guianese is France (Burton, 73). The diversity of ethnic groups and the lack of common history add to the problem of internal national identity. The

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