French Guiana

French Guiana is an overseas territory of France, lying on the northeastern coast of South America bordered by Brazil, Suriname, and the Atlantic Ocean. It covers an area of 83,534 square kilometers, making it the largest outermost territory within the European Union. It is mostly covered by lush forests. The Guiana Amazonian Park which covers about 41% of its territory is the largest national park in the EU.

French Guiana has a developing economy inspired and supported by France. With the intervention of France, French Guiana is in the process of transitioning from a modern economy to one that is based on market mechanisms. The country’s gross national income per capita is one of the highest in South America. The economy is driven by the services, construction, and manufacturing sectors. A rocket-launching base that is used by the European Space Agency is also a key player to the economy, contributing to about one-fourth of the nation’s annual GDP.

As a French collectivity, French Guiana is part of the European Union and uses the euro as its currency. Prior to the euro, the French Guianan franc was the official monetary unit of the country. First banknotes were issued by the Banque de la Guyane in 1888. These notes were in denominations of 100 and 500 francs.

In 1941, the Central Cashier of the Free French issued 100 and 1000 franc banknotes. In 1944, the issuance of banknotes was taken over by the Caisse Centrale de la France d’Outre Mer. The institution released 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 franc notes having the same designs like that for Guadeloupe and Martinique. These banknotes feature the emblem of the French Republic depicting an in profile of Marianne wearing a Phrygian cap and flanked by fruits and fronds.

French Guiana became a French overseas department in 1946. Banknotes issued between 1946 and 1952 bear red GUYANE overprints in upper and side margins on both the obverse and reverse. 

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