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The French Overseas Departments and Territories

France has 4 overseas departments, which are also overseas regions. The French overseas departments and territories include island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, a territory on the south American coast, and several periantarctic islands as well as an extensive claim in Antarctica. 2,624,505 people live in the French overseas departments and territories.

All climates are represented in the French overseas departments and territoriesfrom the Polar climate in Adélie Land to the Equatorial climate in Guiana, but it is the Tropical climate that dominates the most. As a consequence, the vegetation is luxuriant but there are also zones that are exposed to the tropical diseases.

The islands are specialized in the tropical cultures: coffee, sugar cane, fruits (especially bananas) whereas the forest exploitation has developped in Guiana.

These islands give France a huge ZEE (Exclusive Economical Zone), the third in the world among other “maritime countries”. Without them, France would be ranked beyond the fortieth place.

Most of these islands are located near the volcanic insular arcs. Volcanism is a constant threat, especially in the Antilles with the “la Soufrière” volcano, in Guadeloupe.

These islands are reputed for their exceptional beauty and for the kindness of their people.

Each inhabited French territory, metropolitan or overseas, is represented in both the French National Assembly and the French Senate (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).

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