Flag of French Guiana - the French Tricolor

French Guiana - The Tricolor Flag

The flag of French Guiana is the French Tricolor because it is an Overseas Department of France. It flies the national flag of France.

The French Tricolor flag displays three equally sized vertical bands of blue, white, and red, and is one of the most recognized flags in the world.

France Flag - le Tricolor

The blue band is on the hoist side of the flag. The white band of color is in the middle and the red is on the fly side.

The colors are said to represent the good relationship between the citizens of the city of Paris and the then King.

The color white is meant to represent royalty, the Royal House of Bourbon, and the blue and red colours represented the City of Paris.

France adopted the Tricolor as its flag in February 1794, at which time, the colour blue was that of St Martin, a was a Gallo-Roman officer who had torn, with his sword, his blue coat.

St Martin gave one half of the blue coat to the poor, being a symbol of care and symbolizing the duty of the wealthy to help the poor.

As well as being the flag of France, and the flag of French Guiana the Tricolor is also the official flag for all French dependent areas and territories.

How the Tricolor became the flag of French Guiana

The Spanish were the first Europeans to discover the coast of Guyana in 1500.

They saw the area as uninhabitable and did to make any settlements in the area.

The French arrived in 1604 and found difficult, impenetrable terrain. They brought with them the French language and for this reason you can now learn French of practise speaking French in French Guiana.

Six different native South American tribal groups occupied this area, and later on, slaves were brought in from Africa.

A large African population influenced the people that were brought to the region as slaves.

The French established settlements at Sinnemary in 1624 and at Cayenne in 1643.

The Dutch took the settle at Cayenne in 1664.

The Dutch flag therefore became the flag of French Guiana for a period.

The Treaty of Breda in 1667 awarded this area back to France, so once again the Tricolor of France became the flag of French Guiana.

The Dutch took Cayenne in 1676 and the French re-took the area later that same year.

French Guiana becomes France's Penal Colony

During the French revolution, French Guiana was a penal colony for France’s political exiles.

This was an inhospitable stretch of territory covered by a tropical rain forest.

Napoleon III established these as permanent penal camps. The most famed of these was Devil’s Island, which is one of the Iles du Salut just off the coast.

Devil’s Island was made famous after the book Papillon (Butterfly) by Henri Charrière, and the subsequent film.

The penal colonies were evacuated after World War II but French Guiana maintained its penal settlements until 1951.

In January 1809, the Portuguese occupied the area.

The Portuguese used a Royal Standard, which was a red flag with the Portuguese Coat of Arms and Crown in red, yellow, blue, and white.

This area was re-stored to France in November 1817.

French Guiana was an overseas department of France in 1947.

The territory became an integral part of the French nation. It was a neglected territory.

Civil unrest broke out in 1970’s. The independists used a flag divided per bend yellow over green with a five pointed star in the middle. The star's dimension is one third of the wide of the flag. Had their ambitions been achieved perhaps this would be the official flag of French Guiana. In 1974, it became an administrative region of France.

As an Overseas Department, one member of the Senate and one member of the National Assembly in France represent French Guiana.

Today, this area is used by the space industry. It is the launch site for the France's European Space Agency, which launches communication satellites.

The money that is generated by the space program gives French Guiana the highest per-capita income in South America.

by Linda Chambers

In addition to learning about the flag of French Guiana click here for the information and country statistics & fun facts

More information on French Guiana, a French-speaking nation
All about French Guiana | Learn French in French Guiana | History of French Guiana | Map of French Guiana |
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