Territory of the French Republic (red)
Overseas territories (circled)
Claimed territory (Adélie Land; hatched)
|Largest settlements||Nouméa (New Caledonia), Papeete (French Polynesia)|
|Languages||French, Antillean Creole, Guianan Creole, Reunionese Creole, Shimaore, Tahitian, Marquesan, 'Uvean, Futunan, Drehu, Nengone, Paicî, Ajië, Javanese, and 35 other native languages of New Caledonia|
|119,396[a] km2 (46,099 sq mi)|
|2,790,000 (Jan. 2018)|
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
Overseas France (French: France d'outre-mer) consists of all the French-administered territories outside Europe, mostly remains of the French colonial empire. These territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all (except those with no permanent inhabitants) have representation in both France's National Assembly and Senate, which together make up the French Parliament. Their citizens have French nationality and vote for the president of France. They have the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament (French citizens living overseas currently vote in the Overseas constituency). Overseas France includes island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, French Guiana on the South American continent, and several periantarctic islands as well as a claim in Antarctica.
Almost all inhabited French administrative divisions outside Europe are classified as either overseas departments/regions or overseas collectivities; these statuses are very different from one another from a legal and administrative standpoint. Overseas regions have exactly the same status as mainland France's regions. The French constitution provides that, in general, French laws and regulations (France's civil code, penal code, administrative law, social laws, tax laws, etc.) apply to French overseas regions the same as in mainland France, but can be adapted as needed to suit the region's particular needs. Hence, the local administrations of French overseas regions cannot themselves pass new laws, whereas the overseas collectivities are empowered to make their own laws, except in certain areas reserved to the French national government (such as defense, international relations, trade and currency, and judicial and administrative law). The overseas collectivities are governed by local elected assemblies and by the French Parliament and French government, with a cabinet member, the Minister of Overseas France, in charge of issues related to the overseas territories. New Caledonia is neither an overseas region nor an overseas collectivity; it has a sui generis status, in keeping with the Nouméa Accord.
Overseas France covers a land area of 119,396 km2 (46,099 sq mi)[a] and accounts for 18.0% of the French Republic's land territory. It has an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 9,825,538 km2 (3,793,661 sq mi) and accounts for 96.7% of the EEZ of the French Republic (excluding the district of Adélie Land, part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, where the French sovereignty is effective de jure by French law, but where the French exclusive claim on this part of Antarctica is frozen by a mandatory international cooperation since the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959).
The category of "overseas collectivity" (French: collectivité d'outre-mer or COM) was created by France's constitutional reform of March 28, 2003. Each overseas collectivity has its own statutory laws.
With 2,790,000 inhabitants in 2018, Overseas France accounts for 4.1% of the population of the French Republic. They enjoy a corresponding representation in the two chambers of the French Parliament.
Since September 2011, Overseas France has been represented by 21 senators in the French Senate, accounting for 6.0% of the 348 senators in the Senate:
The 11 inhabited French overseas territories are:
|Flag[note 1]||Name||Capital||Population||Land area
(inh. per km2)
|83,534||3||Overseas department / region||South America|
|3,521||78||Overseas collectivity||South Pacific Ocean|
|1,628||240||Overseas department / region||Caribbean|
|1,128||329||Overseas department / region||Caribbean|
|374||693||Overseas department / region||Mozambique Channel||Voted on March 29, 2009, in favour of attaining overseas department/region status. That status became effective on March 31, 2011.|
Also claimed by Comoros.
|18,575.5||15||Sui generis collectivity||South Pacific Ocean||Referendum for independence occurred on November 4, 2018, with 56.4% voting against and 43.6% voting in favor of independence from France.|
|2,504||346||Overseas department / region||Indian Ocean|
|25||385||Overseas collectivity||Caribbean||Detached from Guadeloupe on February 22, 2007.|
|53||673||Overseas collectivity||Caribbean||Detached from Guadeloupe on February 22, 2007.|
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon||Saint-Pierre||6,021
|242||25||Overseas collectivity||North Atlantic Ocean|
|Wallis and Futuna||Mata-Utu||12,197
|142||86||Overseas collectivity||South Pacific Ocean|
(Lands generally uninhabited, except by researchers in scientific stations)
|Flag||Name||District||Scattered islands||Capital||Land area (km2)||Status||Location||Notes|
|Clipperton||-||-||-||2||French state private property||Central America|
|French Southern and Antarctic Lands||Crozet Islands||-||Alfred Faure||340||TAAF district||Indian Ocean|
|Kerguelen Islands||-||Port-aux-Français||7,215||TAAF district||Indian Ocean||population: 45 researchers in winter, 110 in summer|
|Saint-Paul Island and
|-||Martin-de-Viviès||66||TAAF district||Indian Ocean|
|Adélie Land||-||Dumont d'Urville Station||432,000||TAAF district||Antarctica||Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty System|
|Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean||Banc du Geyser||-||0||TAAF district||Mozambique Channel||Claimed by Madagascar and Comoros|
|Bassas da India||-||1||Mozambique Channel||Claimed by Madagascar|
|Europa||-||30||Mozambique Channel||Claimed by Madagascar|
|Glorioso Islands||-||7||Indian Ocean||Claimed by Comoros and Madagascar|
|Juan de Nova||-||5||Mozambique Channel||Claimed by Madagascar|
|Tromelin Island||-||1||Indian Ocean||Claimed by Mauritius|
Ranked by population in the urban area:
However, voters in the two tiny French dependencies of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, which have been administratively attached to Guadeloupe, approved the referendum and are set to acquire the new status of "overseas collectivity".
On February 7 of this year, the French Parliament adopted the law granting Saint-Barthélemy the Statute of an Overseas Collectivity.