Monday, August 11, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Monday, May 26, 2014
French Guiana officially just Guiana, is an overseas department and region of France, on the north Atlantic coast of South America. It borders Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west. Its 83,534 km2 (32,253 sq mi) area has a very low population density of only 3 inhabitants per km2, with half of its 250,109 inhabitants in 2013 living in the metropolitan area of Cayenne, its capital. By land areaoverseas region of France. As an overseas region, it is inside the European Union, and its official currency is the Euro.
, it is by far the largest
The addition of the adjective "French" in English comes from colonial times when five such colonies existed (The Guianas), namely from west to east: Spanish Guiana (now Guayana Region in Venezuela), British Guiana (now Guyana), Dutch Guiana (now Suriname), French Guiana, and Portuguese Guiana (now Amapá, a state in far northern Brazil). French Guiana and the two larger countries to the north and west, Guyana and Suriname, are still often collectively referred to as the Guianas and comprise one large shield landmass.
A large part of the department's economy derives from the presence of the Guiana Space Centre, now the European Space Agency's
launch site near the equator.
|• President||Rodolphe Alexandre (PSG)|
|• Total||83,534 km2 (32,253 sq mi)|
|Population (Jan 2013)|
|• Density||3.0/km2 (7.8/sq mi)|
|Time zone||GFT (UTC-03)|
|ISO 3166 code||GF|
|GDP (2012)||Ranked 27th|
|Total||€3.81 billion (US$4.90 bn)|
|Per capita||€15,416 (US$19,828)|
As an integral part of France, French Guiana is part of the European Union and the Eurozone; its currency is the euro. .gf is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for French Guiana, but .fr is generally used instead.
In 2012, the GDP of French Guiana at market exchange rates was US$4.90 billion (€3.81 billion), ranking as the largest economy in the Guianas, and the 11th largest in South America.
French Guiana is heavily dependent on mainland France for subsidies, trade, and goods. The main traditional industries are fishing (accounting for 5% exports in 2012), gold mining (accounting for 32% of exports in 2012) and timber (accounting for 1% of exports in 2012). In addition, the Guiana Space Centre has played a significant role in the local economy since it was established in Kourou in 1964: it accounted directly and indirectly for 16% of French Guiana's GDP in 2002 (down from 26% in 1994, as the French Guianese economy is becoming increasingly diversified).The Guiana Space Centre employed 1,659 people in 2012.
There is very little manufacturing. Agriculture is largely undeveloped and is mainly confined to the area near the coast and along the Maroni River. Sugar and bananas were traditionally two of the main cash crops grown for export but have almost completely disappeared. Today they have been replaced bylivestock raising (essentially beef cattle and pigs) in the coastal savannas between Cayenne and Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, and market gardening (fruits an vegetables) developed by the Hmong communities settled in French Guiana in the 1970s, both destined to the local market. A thriving rice production, developed on polders near Mana from the early 1980s to the late 2000s, has almost completely disappeared since 2011 due to marine erosion and new EU plant health rules which forbid the use of many pesticides and fertilizers. Tourism, especially eco-tourism, is growing. Unemployment is a major problem, running at about 20% to 25% year in, year out (22.3% in 2012).
Sunday, May 25, 2014
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, and form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Politically, the eastern islands form the British Virgin Islands and the western ones form the Virgin Islands of the United States. The British Virgin Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom comprising Tortola, VirginJost Van Dyke and Anegada.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of five inhabited insular areas of the United States, along with American Samoa,Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. The territory comprises St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island. The Virgin Passage separates the U.S. Virgin Islands from the Spanish Virgin Islands of Vieques andCulebra, which are part of Puerto Rico. The United States dollar is the official currency on both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands as well as the Spanish/Puerto Rican Virgin Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the largerCaicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago, part of the larger Antilles island grouping. They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The total population is about 31,500, of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola. Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647 mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170 sq mi). They are geographically contiguous with the Bahamas, but are politically separate.
The first recorded sighting of the islands now known as the Turks and Caicos occurred in 1512. In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly
through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their owngovernor and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since. In August 2009, the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands' self-government after allegations of ministerial corruption. Home rule was restored in the islands after theNovember 2012 elections.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk's-cap cactus (Melocactus communis), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning string of islands. The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Taíno people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800. Together with Taino who migrated from Cuba to the southern Bahamas around the same time, these people developed as the Lucayan. Around 1200 the Turks and Caicos Islands were resettled by Classical Taínos from Hispaniola.
Soon after the Spanish arrived in the islands in 1492, or 1512, they began capturing the Taíno of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Lucayan as slaves (technically, as workers in the encomienda system) to replace the largely depleted native population of Hispaniola. The southern Bahama Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.
The first documented European to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León, who did so in 1512. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements..
In 2006, GDP contributions were as follows: Hotels & Restaurants 23.27%, Financial Services 29.64%, Construction 48.71%, Wholesale & Retail Trade 20.89% and Health & Social Work 10.83%.[clarification needed] Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.
In 2006, major sources of government revenue included Import Duties (37%), Stamp Duties from Property Transactions (20%), Work Permits and Residency Fees (9%) and Accommodation Tax (9%). The territory's gross domestic product as of late 2006 is approximately US$722 million (per capita $17,112), with an inflation rate of 3.7%.
The labour force totalled 12000 workers in 2006. The labour force distribution is as follows:
The unemployment rate in 2007 was 5.4%. In 2006–2007, the territory took in revenues of $202.5 million against expenditures of $199.5 million. In 1995, the island received economic aid worth $5.7 million. The territory's currency is the United States dollar, with a few government fines (such as airport infractions) being payable in pounds sterling. Most commemorative coin issues are denominated in crowns.
The primary agricultural products include limited amounts of maize, beans, cassava (tapioca) and citrus fruits. Fish and conch are the only significant export, with some $169.2 million of lobster, dried and fresh conch, and conch shells exported in 2000, primarily to the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, however, the catch has been declining. The territory used to be an important trans-shipment point for South American narcotics destined for the United States, but due to the ongoing pressure of a combined American, Bahamian and Turks and Caicos effort this trade has been greatly reduced.
The islands import food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufacture and construction materials, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom. Imports totalled $581 million in 2007.
The islands produce and consume about 5 GWh of electricity, per year, all of which comes from fossil fuels..
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Saint Barthélemy , officially the Territorial collectivity of Saint Barthélemy is an overseas collectivity of France. Often abbreviated to Saint-Barth in French, orSt. Barts or St. Barths in English, the indigenous people called the island Ouanalao. St. Bart's lies about 35 kilometres (22 mi) southeast of Saint Martin and north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is 240 kilometres (150 mi) to the west in the Greater Antilles.
The collectivity is one of four territories among the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean that comprise the French West Indies, along with Saint Martin, Guadeloupe (200 kilometres (120 mi) southeast), and Martinique. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, which is an overseas region and department of France and is therefore in the European Union.
Saint Barthélemy, a volcanic island fully encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 25 square kilometres (9.7 sq mi) and a population of 9,035 (Jan. 2011 estimate). Its capital is Gustavia, which also contains the main harbour to the island. It is the only Caribbean island which was a Swedish colony for any significant length of time; Guadeloupe was under Swedish rule only briefly at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Symbolism from the Swedish national arms, the Three Crowns, still appears in the island's coat of arms. The language, cuisine, and culture, however, are distinctly French. The island is a popular tourist destination during the winter holiday season, especially the rich and famous during the Christmas and new year period.