19.03.

1946: French Overseas Departments in South America and the Indian Ocean

1946: French Overseas Departments in South America and the Indian Ocean
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 19 March 1946
  • The French Overseas Departments (French: départements d'outre-mer) are currently part of the European Union. Indeed, they are part of the Eurozone, which means that the Euro is legal tender there.

On this day in 1946, the French overseas territories Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion and French Guiana became departments, which made them practically equal to the departments in mainland France.

Even today, France has five overseas departments in various parts of the world. Together with the 96 departments in mainland France, this means that there are 101 departments in all.

The French Overseas Departments (French: départements d’outre-mer) are an important part of French state territory and, together with other overseas territories, they even have their own ministry in the French government, called the “Ministère des Outre-mers” (Ministry of Overseas).

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The departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique are located in the Caribbean, while French Guiana is in South America. The department of Réunion, which includes a large volcanic island of the same name and is inhabited by around 840,000 people, is located in the Indian Ocean.

Historically, France also owned departments in what is now Algeria, and in the time of Napoleon Bonaparte it even had them in Haiti, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and France (there was a total of 130 departments in the French Empire).

The French Overseas Departments are today part of the European Union. Indeed, they are part of the Eurozone, which means that the Euro is legal tender there, despite the fact that these departments are located in the Indian Ocean or South America.

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