African Roots in French-Guiana

Hello everyone, I’m Alex Gutierrez, from Sacramento California, welcome to AFROSAYA the Afro-Latino Podcast.

Today in our show, we will continue with our journey through South America. As we intent, this is a podcast about Blackness in the Americas. We will share a little bit of history, music, culture and more. 

Our guess for today is French-Guiana. Let’s do it.  

Today in our show, we will talk about a territory that has very little attention in the Americas, although this territory is located in South America it isn’t a Latin country parse, but if you say you are from South America because your country is located there, then you are part of the Latin Family regardless to the language we Speak, because Latin America is not related to a language, but rather, to an identity that united us in solidarity with the Spanish language. 

When I was a kid and I was in elementary school, I learned throughout my geography teachers that Guayana was one big territory, but it was colonized and split off like a Birthday cake into three European countries, those countries were England, the Netherlands and France. Today we will talk about French-Guiana

French Guiana is a beautiful country located in South America. The capital city is Cayenne. French Guiana is an overseas department and region of France. French Guiana shares borderland with Brazil and Suriname. 

Since 1981, when Belize became independent, French Guiana has been the only territory of the mainland Americas that is still part of a European Colony. Before the European colonization, the territory was inhabited by Native Americans, most speaking the Arawak language. The people identified as Lokono. 

The first French establishment is recorded in 1503, but France did not establish a durable presence until colonists founded Cayenne in 1643. Guiana was developed as a slave society, where plantation owners imported Africans slaves in numbers that increase the population. 

Slavery was abolished in the colonies at the time of the French Revolution.

African and Afro-Europeans make up 66 percent of the total population with Europeans making up another 18 percent and East Asians, Chinese, Amerindians, and Brazilians make up 16 percent of the population. 

In the sparsely populated interior the Oyampi and Palik tribes still follow a traditional pre-columbian way of life. There are also a few African descends tribes who escaped from plantations to live a lifestyle similar to their native central Africa.

All business and most common dialogue are conducted using the mainstream French. The native tribes in the interior, however, use their own language, and the African tribes use the Taki-Taki, a pidgin English.

The heavy influence of the French culture is evident throughout the country, and in the capital, many of the customs and attitudes of France, predominate.

The Arawak Indians are the people first known to inhabit French Guiana. The next major waves of people were the Caribs. Caribs came from the Amazon and traveled to the Antillas. 

The Caribs displaced many of the Arawaks, during the age of colonization…

If you want to get our transcript email us here

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