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The Oyapock or Oiapoque River (// or //; French: Fleuve Oyapock [flœv wɑjapɔk]; Portuguese: Rio Oiapoque [ˈʁiu ɔjɐˈpɔki]) is a 370-km (230-mi)–long river in South America that forms most of the border between French Guiana and the Brazilian state of Amapá. It rises in the Tumuk Humak (Portuguese: Tumucumaque) mountain range and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, where its estuary forms a large bay bordering on Cape Orange.
Vicente Yáñez Pinzón was said to be the first European person to see the Oiapoque River in the first years of the 16th century. It has been rendered Japoc, Yapoc, Iapoco, Wiapoco, and even called the Vicente Pinzón River. Early European colonists referred to the river as the Wiapoco, and it was the site of early settlements by Briton Robert Harcourt in 1608 and Dutchman Jan van Ryen in 1627. The name Oiapoque has been officially used from 1900, when a territorial dispute between Brazil and France was resolved through Swiss diplomatic arbitration.
In popular culture
The widespread Brazilian Portuguese expression "do Oiapoque ao Chuí" ("from the Oiapoque to the Chuí") signifies the whole nation by relying on the waterways' north and south respective extremities on the Brazilian coastline. The saying is used in the same way as Americans use the expression "from coast to coast" - i.e., it is used to refer to something that encompasses the whole country.
The Oyapock is the northern end of Brazil's coastline, as it is where the border between Brazil and French Guiana meets the ocean. Furthermore, Cape Orange, which separates the Bay of Oyapock from the Atlantic Ocean, is the northernmost point on Brazil's coast. On the other hand, the northernmost point in Brazil is far inland, on Monte Caburaí, in the state of Roraima, hundreds of kilometers from the Oyapock and almost a full degree more to the north.
Scattered along the bank of the Oyapock are small villages, such as Clevelandia do Norte.
The Oyapock River Bridge has been built across the river to connect the towns of Oiapoque in Brazil and Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock in French Guiana. It is the first international land border connection of French Guiana.