Talk:Overseas departments and territories of France

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The "mess" on this page[edit]

Before the changes in this article here made by me, this article here was quite clean, clear and provided a good overview (see [[1]]). Now, because of my changes in this article here, the page is more confusing, but there is also a lot more information (see [[2]] or in comparison [[3]]). So, why did I add this additional information in this article here, making the article more confusing (but also containing more information)? In my opinion, the administrative statuses of the French overseas territories become more and more confusing, the deeper you look at it. I must admit that I am no expert at all at the administrative statuses of the French overseas territories. Most of my knowledge about this topic comes from reading English-language Wikipedia-articles (and some French governmental websites where I almost immediately lost overview because the more closer you look at it, the more confusion it gets, especially at the websites in French language). After having read some Wikipedia-articles, my confusion became even bigger, so I decided to include all this confusing information in the other Wikipedia-articles here in this article in order to reduce the confusion when reading the individual articles separately with sometimes even contradictory bits of information. So, all the confusing and sometimes maybe even slightly contradictory information is compiled and listed here. While some people might think that the page has now become more confusing and that there is hardly any gain in information, my opinion is that the whole topic has become less confusing, at least when one has to read only the individual pages without the compiled and collected information in this article here as a "knowledge backbone". For example, if you read other Wikipedia-articles, you will find out that the territorial status Mayotte and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon has not only one, but several different names: -- Citylover 08:23, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

French overseas dependancies used to be divided into two categories : départements d'outre-mer (DOM) (where French law applied if not said it wasn't) and territoires d'outre-mer (TOM) (where French law didn't apply except if said it was). Then it became more complicated... For political reasons, Mayotte (territorial dispute with Comoros) and Saint Pierre and Miquelon (to escape from EU) got a status close to DOM, but sui generis. They where just called collectivités territoriales (sometimes precised with "à statut particulier" or "d'outre-mer"). In the 90's, New Caledonia ceased to be a TOM (and even a "collectivité territoriale" - the generic name for all other French administrative subdivisions) and became... something, said to be sui generis, with a future vote on independance. As its assembly can make the "lois de pays", it was sometimes said to be a "pays d'outre-mer". In 2001 Mayotte got the name of collectivité départementale (just a name, not a status category) to get it closer to DOM, without giving it this status. In 2003 a constitutionnal reform suppressed the category of TOM and created the collectivités d'outre-mer (COM) for the non-DOM except New Caledonia. In 2004, thanks to this reform, French Polynesia increased its autonomy and was named a pays d'outre-mer, while remaining a COM. Now French Polynesia, Mayotte, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and Wallis and Futuna are all COM, even if each has a particular status and a particular name. There were ideas to create a new category, Pays d'outre-mer (POM) for Pacific dependancies, but it has not been : Wallis and Futuna was not interested and New Caledonia would have seen it as a backward movement ; so this name was given to French Polynesia, but without creating a category. Jussia 15:45, 9 January 2006 (UTC)


Mayotte is a special case anyway because Mayotte is claimed by the Comoros and geographically actually belongs more or less to the island group of the Comoros, see and and -- Citylover 08:23, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Mayotte is a collectivité d'outre-mer and is therefore found under this category in the article. -- Citylover 10:39, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

2. But the administrative status of Mayotte is not only called collectivité d'outre-mer, but also a departmental collectivity (collectivité départementale) in the article Islands controlled by France in the Indian and Pacific oceans -- Citylover 08:23, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Furthermore, you will read the following on Administrative divisions of France#Overseas:
"Mayotte (although strictly speaking Mayotte is in fact a "departmental collectivity", not an overseas collectivity, with the possibility to become a full-status French département in 2010, but for the sake of clarity it is most often classified as overseas collectivity)"
So, I included this information in the article too. -- Citylover 08:23, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

You can read even a third version of Mayotte on Administrative divisions of France#List of d.C3.A9partements:
"Collectivité départementale d'outre-mer (Overseas Departmental Collectivity)".
I included this information in the article too. -- Citylover 08:23, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Mayotte is a collectivité d'outre-mer (article #74 of French constitution), with the particular name of collectivité départementale (law of 11 july 2001). Jussia 15:40, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon[edit]

If you read several Wikipedia-articles, you will find out that Saint-Pierre and Miquelon was a a département d'outre-mer from 1976 until 1985 and is since 1985 a collectivité d'outre-mer and is therefore found under this category (collectivité d'outre-mer) in the article. But the territorial status of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon has also other names: -- Citylover 08:23, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is also a collectivité territoriale. I do not remember where I found the expression but I am almost completely sure it was in the English-language Wikipedia. -- Citylover 08:23, 15 September 2005 (UTC)
I tried to find the expression collectivité territoriale as a status name for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, but I could not find it anywhere, neither in the English-language Wikipedia nor in Google (I searched: "Saint-Pierre and Miquelon" wikipedia "collectivité territoriale" and: "Saint-Pierre and Miquelon" en.wikipedia "collectivité territoriale"), so I have removed it from the article because I thing the only (correct) use of collectivité territoriale as a status of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is with the additional expression "à statut particulier" (see below under 4.). -- Citylover 08:54, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is also a collectivité territoriale d'outre-mer (found in the English-language Wikipedia on Administrative divisions of France#List of d.C3.A9partements).
I included this information in the article too by adding collectivité territoriale d'outre-mer. -- Citylover 08:23, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Saint-Pierre and Miquelon is also a collectivité territoriale à statut particulier (found in the English-language Wikipedia at Saint-Pierre et Miquelon Collectivité Territoriale#History.
I included this information in the article too by adding collectivité territoriale à statut particulier. -- Citylover 06:18, 10 September 2005 (UTC)

Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a collectivité d'outre-mer (article #74 of French constitution), with the particular name of collectivité territoriale (law of 11 june 1985). Jussia 15:40, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Wallis and Futuna[edit]

Wallis and Futuna is a Collectivité d'outre-mer and is therefore found in the article under this category. -- Citylover 10:39, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

But in the article Administrative divisions of France#List of d.C3.A9partements, the administrative status of Wallis and Futuna is also described as:
Collectivités territoriales d'outre-mer (Overseas Territorial Collectivities)
Because of that, I included this information also in the article by adding Collectivité territoriale d'outre-mer. -- Citylover 10:39, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

Wallis and Futuna is a collectivité d'outre-mer (article #74 of French constitution), wich used to have the particular name of territoire (as belonging to the "territoires d'outre-mer") which may now be obsolete - except that its assembly is still called a territorial assembly (law of 29 july 1961). Jussia 15:40, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

New Caledonia[edit]

It seems to me that New Caledonia is currently a Collectivité sui generis and not a collectivité d'outre-mer. Should New Caledonia not be in a separate category outside of the collectivité d'outre-mer because it is "sui generis"? Why is New Caledonia in this article (French overseas departments and territories) in the section collectivité d'outre-mer and not in a separate (not yet created) section collectivité sui generis? -- Citylover 10:39, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

In this article here, I just moved some minutes ago "*New Caledonia" out of the section Collectivité d'outre-mer and into the section Collectivité sui generis, created at the same time. The disadvantage of this recent edit: The information that New Caledonia has or had also "to do something with" Collectivité d'outre-mer is now lost because of my edit since New Caledonia is now categorized completely separately. -- Citylover 15:41, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

By the way, the article Collectivité sui generis does not exist but when you follow the link by clicking on it, you are automatically redirected to New Caledonia. In my opinion, it would be advisable not to redirect to New Caledonia but to write an own article Collectivité sui generis about the territorial status "sui generis" but this seems difficult (at least for me) because the territorial status of a "sui generis" is quite new and one would have to be a specialist in that area in order to do that well. -- Citylover 12:32, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

New Caledonia is not a collectivité d'outre-mer. It's even not a "collectivité territoriale" (generic name for all other French administrative subdivisions). Its unique status has no name, so it is said to be sui generis. The best way to call it is to use the term of pays (as its laws are called "lois de pays"), but it may bring confusion. Jussia 15:40, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

French Polynesia[edit]

I just added the following text in the article Collectivité d'outre-mer:

"Officially, French Polynesia is already a pays d'outre-mer and not only a collectivité d'outre-mer."

In my opinion, French Polynesia does not belong primarily in the article Collectivité d'outre-mer but in the article Pays d'outre-mer because it is not only a Collectivité d'outre-mer. Because of the fact that the section about French Polynesia in the article Collectivité d'outre-mer is well written and there are good explanations about the specific autonomy of French Polynesia, I did not dare to move the good text over to the article pays although I still think that French Polynesia should be moved over to Pays d'outre-mer. Therefore, I only added the text. I agree (with the remark by another user) that on , French Polynesia is still a Collectivité d'outre-mer and this is one French governmental website where the status as a Collectivité d'outre-mer is still written, but there are other French governmental websites, where it is already written that French Polynesia is a pays d'outre-mer:
"La Polynésie française est donc désormais un Pays d'Outre-mer au sein de la République. Elle se gouverne librement et démocratiquement et constitue une collectivité d'Outre-mer dont l'autonomie, garantie par la République, est régie par l'article 74 de la Constitution."
found on:
But as you can see, French Polynesia is even in this French governmental quote also a Collectivité d'outre-mer, so French Polynesia must be both (Pays d'outre-mer and Collectivité d'outre-mer) at the same time. See also Talk:Collectivité d'outre-mer. -- Citylover 15:18, 15 September 2005 (UTC)

French Polynesia is a collectivité d'outre-mer (article #74 of French constitution), with the particular name of pays d'outre-mer (organic law of 27 february 2004 - which refers also to the category of collectivité d'outre-mer). With is decision of 12 february 2004 on this organic law, the "Conseil constitutionnel" has underlined the fact that pays d'outre-mer was just a name, not a legal status. " Considérant que l'article 1er de la loi organique, après avoir précisé la configuration territoriale de la Polynésie française, énonce les principes généraux applicables à la Polynésie française, collectivité d'outre-mer dont l'autonomie est régie par l'article 74 de la Constitution ; que, s'il désigne cette dernière comme " pays d'outre-mer ", cette dénomination n'emporte aucun effet de droit ; que, dans ces conditions, l'article 1er n'est pas contraire à la Constitution ; " Jussia 15:40, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

"Overseas collectives" or "Overseas collectivities"[edit]

I changed the English expression "Overseas collectives" to "Overseas collectivities" (see but I am not sure at all if this is the better translation of the French expression into the English expression. My consideration was: Maybe, "collective" means a territory in broader sense, something else or is completely wrong and collectivity is the exact translation. In all three cases, we should take "collectivity" and not "collective". Because of this consideration, I chose "collectivity" and changed the word. -- Citylover 18:28, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

Part of European Union[edit]

It would be a great addition to explain which overseas departments and territories may be count to the European Union and which not. --Abdull 12:37, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Only the four overseas departments, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion and French Guyana are part of the European Union Ratzer 20:37, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Map needs to be adjusted.[edit]

The first world map needs to be adjusted so that the index can be totally seen. Thanks. Sirtrebuchet 01:13, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


So with Overseas departments and territories of France, can France be considered in Asia, North America, and Africa? Teedium 20:59, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

With DOM-TOMs, France can be considered in Antarctica, Africa, Europe, North America, South America and Oceania, but not in Asia. ( (talk) 08:16, 17 March 2008 (UTC))

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Title change:add Collectivities?[edit]

Now that most Territories have been reclassified as collectivities, shall we revise the title of article? And have "Overseas departments and territories of France" redirect to this page? --Mistakefinder (talk) 13:57, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Table sorting[edit]

The table including population and area figures for the various territories doesn't sort properly -- attempting to sort by population sorts them "alphabetically" (i.e. all the numbers that start with 1, then all the numbers that start with 2, etc.) rather than numerically. Anyone smarter than me with tables care to propose a fix? --Jfruh (talk) 04:40, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Flag oddities[edit]

Wallis and Futuna have an own flag here, but its article has the flag of France.
Réunion and Saint Martin have the flag of France here, but their articles have individual flags.
Which ones are right? An user told in Talk:Wallis and Futuna that W&F flag is not official and therefore not in its article. Is it so and what about the others? (talk) 00:12, 3 February 2012 (UTC)


How about including Isla de los Faisanes, is a condominium( co-sovereignty) with Spain  — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:47, 4 May 2012 (UTC) 


Since there is only one overseas territory of France and a lot of overseas collectivities, wouldn't it make way more sense to move this page to Overseas departments and collectivities of France?  Liam987(talk) 18:45, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Actually, I think it would be better to move it to Overseas France.  Liam987(talk) 14:23, 14 August 2012 (UTC)


The use of many unofficial flags in the List paragraph is confusing. Only the flags of French Caledonia and French Polynesia are official. A case could be made for that of Guiana since it has been adopted by the department council but other items in the list should all have the French flag and not various unofficial or historical flags with no basis in law. Colin dla 18:33, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Good call. I support removing all the unofficial flags. Note, however, that the unofficial flags are also used on the infoboxes on, for example, Martinique.  Liam987(talk) 02:22, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
Indeed they are! A solution would be to edit the infobox templates to add an "historical flags" field, but I'm not enough of a power user here on the English language wikipedia to know if that is possible. As for this page unless there are other opinions I'm going to edit the table in the List of French overseas territories paragraph to replace unofficial flags (all except for New Caledonia, French Polynesia, the Southern and Antarctic Territories) with the French flag. I'm also thinking of adding a footnote to the table to explain the flag situation. Cheers, Colin dla 10:11, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Territory vs. collectivity[edit]

What is/was the difference between them, if any? ZFT (talk) 16:19, 11 June 2015 (UTC)