- Jean-Michel Beaudet
South American country that is administratively an Overseas Department of France. It has a total area of 85,534 km², over 90% of which is covered by the great Amazonian forest, and a population of 173,000 (2000 estimate). The first inhabitants were Amerindians who today number 4200 and are demographically on the increase. The largest population group in the country consists of Creoles, the local term for the descendants of slaves brought from Africa and not freed until 1848. The Creole culture is similar to that of neighbouring Guyana, Suriname, Republic of. and the West Indies. The Maroons, the third important group, are descendants of slaves who managed to escape in the 17th and 18th centuries and formed their own cultures with a very strong African component. Finally, this ethnically mixed society includes people of French, Asian, Lebanese, Haitian and Brazilian origin. The demographic mixture resembles that of Suriname, although there is a much more marked tendency in French Guiana for people to stay in their respective groups. There is little exchange between the different cultures (Amerindian, Creole, Maroon etc.), and they relate to tradition in different ways. However, Creole music of the West Indies and popular African music have become a kind of ‘common music’ among the younger generation of all cultural groups, due primarily to the influence of the media....