What is the French term for?

France

In many parts of the world, the French language is still a reminder of the size of the former area of ​​influence of France. But even a quick glance at the world map is enough to get an impression of it: five overseas departments and seven overseas territorial authorities still belong to the French state. The island of Saint-Martin, for example, is the most westerly point in the European Union.

France and its outer areas 2013 (& copy Kämmer-Kartographie, Berlin 2013)

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France is more than France métropolitaine, as the European continental France is called. The French national territory also includes several overseas territories, the France d'outre-mer. These overseas territories date back to previous occupations and the colonial history of France. However, there are great differences in matters of autonomy and legal status between the individual areas. A basic distinction can be made between the Départements d'outre-merthat too Régions d'outre-mer (Overseas departments) are and the Collectivités d'outre-mer (Overseas authorities). However, the overseas authorities in particular have, in some cases, very different legal statuses. Together, France's overseas territories have an area of ​​almost 89,000 square kilometers (for comparison: the French mainland covers 544,000 square kilometers).

Département d'outre-mer and Région d'outre-mer

(Overseas department)

France is divided into 27 regions. The regions are in turn divided into departments. Five of the 27 regions are not on the European mainland, but overseas. They are also departments and have the same legal status as the regions in the heart of France. They are part of the European Union and have the euro as their currency. However, they do not belong to the Schengen area.
  • Guadeloupe
  • Martinique
  • French Guiana
  • Mayotte
  • Reunion Island

Collectivité d'outre-mer

(Overseas territorial body)

The Collectivité d'outre-mer are overseas territorial entities with sometimes very different legal statuses. All have autonomy, which means that French laws do not come into force automatically. In terms of foreign and defense policy, however, they are dependent on France. Like the overseas regions, some of the overseas authorities send representatives to the French National Assembly and the Senate.
  • Saint Martin (is part of the EU; the currency is the euro; sends representatives to the French parliament)
  • Saint Barthelemy (is an associated area of ​​the EU, but not part of the EU; the currency is the euro; sends representatives to the French parliament)
  • Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (is not part of the EU; the currency is the euro; sends representatives to the French parliament)
  • Wallis and Futuna (is not part of the EU; the currency is CFP franc; sends representatives to the French parliament)
  • French Polynesia (is not part of the EU; the currency is CFP franc; sends representatives to the French parliament)
  • New Caledonia: New Caledonia belongs to the group of Collectivité d'outre-mer, but the archipelago has the special status of in France's constitution Collectivité sui generis. New Caledonia also sends representatives to the French National Assembly and the Senate. A referendum is to be held by 2019 to decide whether the archipelago will become independent or remain an overseas territory of France. New Caledonia is not part of the EU. The currency is the CFP franc.
  • Terres australes et antarctiques françaises: The French southern and Antarctic regions also belong to the group of the Collectivité d'outre-mer, but are in fact the only remaining overseas territory, also because they are not permanently inhabited. They have their own legal status and are administered from the city of Saint-Pierre on La Réunion. The Terres australes et antarctiques françaises are not part of the European Union.
    They belong to them Amsterdam island, the Saint Paul Island, the Crozet Islands, the Kerguelen Archipelago, the Adélieland (Terre Adélie is the part of the Arctic claimed by France. However, the claim is suspended by the Arctic Treaty.) And the Îles Éparses.
  • Clipperton Island: Clipperton Island has no permanent residents. It is owned by the state of France. The atoll is under the jurisdiction of the High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia.


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You can use this card for classroom use. For more extensive use or to print the card, please contact Dr. H.-J. Kämmer, Berlin, kartographie-kaemmer.de.
Map: France and its outer territories