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Overseas departments and territories of France: Map

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French overseas departments, territories and claims on Antarctica
 

The French Overseas Departments and Territories (French: départements d'outre-mer and territoires d'outre-mer or DOM-TOM ) consist broadly of Frenchmarker-administered territories outside of the European continent. These territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all have representation in the Parliament of France (except those with no permanent inhabitants), and the right to vote in elections to the European Parliamentmarker. The French Overseas Departments and Territories include island territories in the Atlanticmarker, Pacificmarker and Indianmarker oceans, a territory on the South American coast, and several periantarctic islands as well as an extensive claim in Antarcticamarker. 2,624,505 people lived in the French Overseas Departments and Territories in January 2009.

From a legal and administrative standpoint, departments are very different from territories: according to the French constitution, French laws and regulations generally apply (civil code, penal code, administrative law, social laws, tax laws et cetera), in departments as in the mainland. However, specific laws and regulations can be adapted to their specific situation. In territories, the principle is the opposite: territories are governed by autonomy statutes that allow them to make their own laws, except for some specific areas (like defense, international relations, international trade and currency, courts and administrative law), as provided in the autonomy statute, that are reserved to the central government and its local appointee.

Each inhabited French territory, metropolitan or overseas, is represented in both the French National Assembly and the French Senatemarker (which make up the French Parliament). The overseas departments and territories are governed by local elected assemblies and by the French Parliament and French Government (where a cabinet member, the Minister of Overseas France, is in charge of issues related to the overseas departments and territories).

Varying constitutional statuses

Overseas Departments and Overseas Regions



Overseas Collectivities

This category was created with the constitutional reform on 28 March 2003. Each collectivity has its own statutory laws.

  • French Polynesiamarker (1946-2003: overseas territory), since 2003: Overseas collectivity. Its new status of 2004 gives it the particular designation of overseas country (French: pays d'outre-mer), but the Constitutional Council of France judged that it was just a designation, not a particular status.










Sui Generis Collectivity

  • New Caledoniamarker (1946-1999: overseas territory) - New Caledonia has a unique sui generis status and is not a territorial collectivity, unlike all other French subdivisions. As a result of the 1998 Nouméa Accord, New Caledonians will vote on an independence referendum scheduled between 2014 and 2019. This referendum will determine whether the territory remains a part of the French Republic as an overseas collectivity, or whether it will become an independent nation. The accords also specify a gradual devolution of powers to the local New Caledonian assembly.


Overseas Territory



Overseas Country

The status of overseas country (French: Pays d'outre-mer), projected for French Pacific dependencies, was finally never created. The 2004 status of French Polynesia gives it this designation, but also recalls that it belongs to the category of overseas communities. The Constitutional Council of France confirmed that the designation of overseas country had no legal consequences. Since New Caledonia's status has no name and since its parliament can make local laws, it is sometimes incorrectly termed an overseas country.

Minor Territories

As state private property, France also owns Clipperton Islandmarker, a remote island in the Pacific Oceanmarker.

Political representation in the French Parliament

With 2,624,505 inhabitants in 2009, the French overseas departments and territories account for 4.0% of the population of the French Republic. They enjoy a corresponding representation in the two chambers of the French Parliament.

Representation in the National Assembly

In the 13th Legislature (2007-2012), the French overseas departments and territories are represented by 22 deputies in the French National Assembly, accounting for 3.8% of the 577 deputies in the National Assembly:

Representation in the Senate

Since September 2008, the French overseas departments and territories are represented by 19 senators in the French Senatemarker, accounting for 5.5% of the 343 senators in the Senate:

List of French Overseas Territories

Inhabited departments and collectivities

Flag Name Capital Population Land area (km2) Status Location Notes
French Guianamarker Cayennemarker 221,500 (Jan. 2008) 83,534 or 91,000 Overseas department / region South America
French Polynesiamarker Papeetemarker 259,596 (Aug. 2007) 4,167 Overseas collectivity South Pacific Oceanmarker
Guadeloupemarker Basse-Terremarker 405,500 (Jan. 2008) 1,628 Overseas department / region Antilles
Martiniquemarker Fort-de-Francemarker 402,000 (Jan. 2008) 1,128 Overseas department / region Antilles
Mayottemarker Mamoudzou 186,452 (July 2007) 374 Overseas collectivity Africa

(Mozambique Channelmarker)
Voted on March 29 2009 in favour of attaining overseas department / region status. That status will become effective in 2011.

Also claimed by Comorosmarker
New Caledoniamarker Nouméamarker 244,410 (Jan. 2008) 18,575 Sui generis collectivity South Pacific Ocean Referendum for independence to occur sometime during the period of 2014 to 2019.
Réunionmarker Saint-Denismarker 802,000 (Jan. 2008) 2,512 Overseas department / region Africa (Indian Oceanmarker)
Saint Barthélemymarker Gustaviamarker 8,450 (Jan. 2007) 21 Overseas collectivity Antilles Detached from Guadeloupemarker on 22 February, 2007.
Saint Martin Marigotmarker 35,263 (Jan. 2006) 53 Overseas collectivity Antilles Detached from Guadeloupemarker on 22 February, 2007.
Saint Pierre and Miquelonmarker Saint-Pierre 6,125 (Jan. 2006) 242 Overseas collectivity South East of Canadamarker
Wallis and Futunamarker Mata-Utumarker 13,484 (Jul. 2008) 274 Overseas collectivity South Pacific Ocean


Overall Summary
Status Population (Jan. 2009) Land area (km2)
Overseas Departments / Regions 1,854,505 91,847
Overseas Collectivities & New Caledonia 770,000 23,632
Total 2,624,505 120,049


Uninhabited lands

(Lands generally uninhabited, except by researchers in scientific stations)

Flag Name Capital Land area (km2) Status Location Notes
Bassas da Indiamarker - 1 TAAFmarker district Africa

(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascarmarker
Clippertonmarker - 7 French state private property West of Mexicomarker Claimed by Mexico
Crozet Islandsmarker Alfred Fauremarker 352 TAAFmarker district South Indian Ocean
Europamarker - 28 TAAFmarker district Africa

(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascarmarker
Glorioso Islandsmarker - 5 TAAFmarker district Indian Ocean Claimed by Comorosmarker, Madagascarmarker and Seychellesmarker
Juan de Nova - 5 TAAFmarker district Africa

(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascarmarker
Kerguelen Islandsmarker Port-aux-Françaismarker 7,215 TAAFmarker district South Indian Ocean
Saint-Paul Islandmarker and

Amsterdam Island
Martin-de-Vivièsmarker 66 TAAFmarker district Indian Ocean
Tromelin Islandmarker - 1 TAAFmarker district Indian Ocean Claimed by Mauritiusmarker


Antarctica

Flag Name Capital Land area (km2) Status Location Notes
Adélie Landmarker Dumont d'Urville Station 432,000 TAAFmarker district Antarcticamarker Under terms of Antarctic Treaty System


Largest cities in overseas France

Ranked by population in the urban area:

Further reading

  • Frédéric Monera, L'idée de République et la jurisprudence du Conseil constitutionnel - Paris : L.G.D.J., 2004 [69772] [69773];


See also



References

Robert Aldrich and John Connell, France's Overseas Frontier, Cambride University Press, 1992

External links




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