Saint-Georges, French Guiana
A view of Saint-George from the river
Location of the commune (in red) within French Guiana
|Overseas region and department||French Guiana|
|• Mayor (2020–2026)||Georges Elfort (DVG)|
|2,320 km2 (900 sq mi)|
|• Density||1.8/km2 (4.7/sq mi)|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
Saint-Georges (sometimes unofficially called Saint-Georges-de-l'Oyapock) is a commune of French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America. It lies on the Oyapock River (which forms the border with Brazil), opposite the Brazilian town of Oiapoque. The town contains a town hall, a French Foreign Legion detachment, and some hotels (the main ones being Le Tamarin, Coz Calè and the Chez Modestine).
Several short-lived colonies had been founded on the Oyapock River. In 1604, Charles Leigh founded Oyapoc for Great-Britain.:31 After a mutiny,:32 the colony was abandoned in 1606.:39 In 1620, Roger North tried again, but was forced to abandon the colony in 1629. In February 1677, John Apricius founded a Dutch colony,:275 and constructed Fort Orange. In June 1677, they were attacked by the French, and shipped back to the Netherlands.:278 In 1723 or 1724, Fort Saint-Louis was constructed at or near the Dutch fort. In 1734, a Jesuit mission was established at Fort Saint-Louis.:280 In 1744, they were attacked by Great-Britain, and the settlement was abandoned.
The town was founded on 23 April 1853 as a penal colony and named after a Dutch coin of Saint George which was discovered at the site. The camp was closed down in 1863. The discovery of gold in 1885 in the Camopi River revived the hamlet and the town was officially created in 1947.
The commune is one of the main settlements of the Palikur Amerindians. About 500 Palikur live in the commune. They live in neighbourhoods built specifically constructed for them in the main town, and the village of Trois-Palétuviers.
An asphalted road from Saint-Georges to Régina was opened in 2004, completing the National Road 2 (RN2) from Cayenne (the préfecture and largest city of French Guiana) to the Brazilian border and ending the isolation of Saint-Georges. It is now possible to drive on a fully paved road from Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni on the Surinamese border to Saint-Georges on the Brazilian border.
Following an international treaty between France and Brazil signed in 15 July 2005, the Oyapock River Bridge was built, with construction completed in 2011. It was opened for use in March 2017. This bridge is the first land crossing ever opened between France and Brazil, and indeed between French Guiana and the rest of the world (there exists no other bridge crossing the Oyapock River, and no bridge crossing the Maroni River marking the border with Suriname). When the bridge was opened, it is possible to drive uninterrupted from Cayenne to Macapá (on the Amazon River), the capital of the state of Amapá in Brazil.
Saint-Georges is served by the Saint-Georges-de-l'Oyapock Airport.
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