|Motto: "Liberté, égalité, fraternité"|
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"
|Anthem: "La Marseillaise"|
|Largest settlements||Fort-de-France (Martinique), Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Saint Denis (La Réunion), Saint Pierre (La Réunion), Nouméa (New Caledonia)|
|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|
|120,396[note 1] km2 (46,485 sq mi)|
|2,785,000 (Jan. 2021)|
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (AD)|
Overseas France (French: France d'outre-mer, l'Outre-mer, or colloquially les DOM-TOM) consists of thirteen French-administered territories outside Europe, mostly remains of the French colonial empire that chose to remain a part of the French state under various statuses after decolonization. This collective name is used in everyday life in France but is not an administrative designation in its own right. Indeed, the five overseas regions have exactly the same administrative status as the metropolitan regions while the five overseas collectivities are semi-autonomous and New Caledonia is an autonomous territory. Overseas France includes island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, French Guiana on the South American continent, and several peri-Antarctic islands as well as a claim in Antarctica. Excluding the district of Adélie Land, where French sovereignty is effective de jure by French law, but where the French exclusive claim on this part of Antarctica is frozen by the Antarctic Treaty (signed in 1959), overseas France covers a land area of 119,396 km2 (46,099 sq mi) and accounts for 18.0% of the French Republic's land territory. Its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 9,825,538 km2 (3,793,661 sq mi) accounts for 96.7% of the EEZ of the French Republic.
Outside Europe, four broad classes of overseas French territorial administration currently exist: overseas departments/regions, overseas collectivities, the sui generis territory of New Caledonia, and uninhabited territories. From a legal and administrative standpoint, these four classes have varying legal status and levels of autonomy, although all permanently inhabited territories have representation in both France's National Assembly and Senate, which together make up the French Parliament.
2,785,000 people lived in Overseas France in January 2021. Most of these residents are citizens of France and citizens of the European Union. This makes them able to vote in French and European elections.
Overseas regions have the exact same status as France's mainland 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 metropolitan 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.
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.
In contrast to overseas departments/regions, 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 the Overseas, in charge of issues related to the overseas territories.
This section needs to be updated.(September 2021)
With 2,785,000 inhabitants in 2021, 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 and in the European Union's legislative institutions.
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 territories used to be collectively represented in the European Parliament by the Overseas Territories of France constituency. Since the 2019 European elections, France decided to switch to a single constituency, putting an end to all regional constituencies, including the Overseas Territory constituency.
The eleven inhabited French overseas territories are:
|Flag[note 2]||Name||Capital||Population||Land area
(inh. per km2)
|83,534||3.5||Overseas department / region||South America|
|3,521||79||Overseas collectivity||South Pacific Ocean|
|1,628||231||Overseas department / region||Caribbean|
|374||773||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||14.6||Sui generis collectivity||South Pacific Ocean||Independence referendums occurred on 4 November 2018 (56.4% voting against and 43.6% voting in favor), as well as on 4 October 2020 (53.3% voting against and 46.7% voting in favor). A third and final one is due to be held in December 2021.|
|2,504||343||Overseas department / region||Indian Ocean|
(Jan. 2017[note 3])
|25[note 4]||398||Overseas collectivity||Caribbean||Detached from Guadeloupe on February 22, 2007.|
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon||Saint-Pierre||6,008
(Jan. 2016[note 5])
|242||25||North Atlantic Ocean|
|Wallis and Futuna||Mata-Utu||11,558
(Jul. 2018[note 6])
|142||81||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||population: 45 researchers in winter, 110 in summer|
|Saint-Paul Island and
|Adélie Land||-||Dumont d'Urville Station||432,000||Antarctica||Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty System|
|Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean||Banc du Geyser||-||0||Mozambique Channel||Claimed by Madagascar and Comoros|
|Bassas da India||-||1||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.