French Guiana





• Pray for increased availability of scriptures in mother tongue languages.


• Pray for miraculous success by tribal Christians from Suriname who work among the largely animistic Maroon tribes.


• Pray for true freedom in Christ for the people of this former French penal colony.




The natural beauty of French Guiana was once inhabited by Arawak Indians and Caribs. They hunted abundant wildlife in the jungles that occupy the northern edge of South America, and fished the picturesque coastline. Christopher Columbus stepped ashore in 1498, and the land was later occupied by the Dutch and French, who were unprepared for the jungle conditions, disease, and relations with natives. Several French plantations operated along the coastline, manned by African slaves, until France abolished slavery in the 19th century.


Until the 1930s, France sent tens of thousands of convicts to penal colonies located in the region, including the notorious Devil’s Island. In 1946, French Guiana gained Overseas Department status, allowing for representation in the French National Assembly and Senate. Today, more than 90% of the population lives along the coastline to avoid the rugged jungle terrain. The landscape also prohibits easy access to lumber, as a majority of the interior country is only accessible by one river. Those living in French Guiana enjoy a higher standard of living than much of South America, as the French social security system and subsidies uphold the economy. However, these subsidies have caused conflict as a result of high youth unemployment and a desire for greater autonomy and less dependence on France.


There is freedom of religion in French Guiana, and over 90% of the population identifies with Christianity; however, the majority of the region is increasingly secular in outlook. A progressively more liberal moral code is leading to higher rates of single parent families and illegitimate births. Access to French satellite TV has brought excessive exposure to pornography. Independent house churches and Pentecostal churches have seen numbers rise nearly 5% per year, but those in leadership need accountability and theological guidance. Haitians, Antilleans, Hmong, Amerindian tribal groups, Brazilians, and interior bush tribes are among those most receptive to the Gospel.



Continent: South America

Capital City: Cayenne

Government: French overseas department

Population: 304,000

Major People Groups: 36% Guianese Mulatto; 8% French; 8% Haitian Black; 7% Guianese White; 6% Bush Negro (Djuka)

Religion: Christian 85%, Chinese folk-religions 4%, Spiritist 4%, Agnostic 3%, Ethnic religions 2%, Hindu 2%, Muslim 1%

Language: Guianese French Creole, French, Haitian Creole, Aukan, Sranon Tongo

GDP Per Capita: $17,099

Literacy Rate: 83%