French overseas departments and territories

"Overseas territories of France" redirects here. For the Euro-constituency, see Overseas Territories of France (European Parliament constituency).
"Outre-mer" redirects here. For the historical term, see Outremer.
Overseas France
Largest settlements Nouméa, New Caledonia Papeete, French Polynesia
Languages French, Antillean Creole, Guianese Creole, Reunionese Creole, Shimaore, Tahitian, Marquesan, 'Uvean, Futunan, Drehu, Nengone, Paicî, Ajië, Xârâcùù, and 35 other native languages of New Caledonia
Demonym French
   President François Hollande
   Ministry George Pau-Langevin
   Total 551,394 km2
212,894 sq mi
   estimate 2,718,000 (2016)
Currency Euro
CFP Franc
Date format dd/mm/yyyy (AD)

The French overseas departments and territories (French: départements et territoires d'outre-mer, colloquially referred to as the DOM-TOM [dɔmtɔm][1]) or Overseas France (French: France d'outre-mer) consist of all the French-administered territories outside of the European continent. These territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all (except those with no permanent inhabitants) have representation in both France's National Assembly and Senate, which together make up the French Parliament. Their citizens have French nationality and vote for the president of France. They have the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament (French citizens living overseas currently vote in the Overseas constituency). The Overseas France include island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, French Guiana on the South American continent, and several Periantarctic Islands as well as a claim in Antarctica.

From a legal and administrative standpoint, overseas regions are very different from overseas collectivities. Overseas regions have exactly the same status as mainland France's 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 mainland France, but can be adapted as needed to suit the region's particular needs. In the French overseas regions, laws cannot be adapted whereas the overseas collectivities are empowered to make their own laws, except in certain areas (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 (where a cabinet member, the Minister of Overseas France, is in charge of issues related to the overseas territories).

The Overseas France has an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 9,821,231 km² (3,791,998 sq. miles),[2] and account for 17.8% of the land territory and 96.7% of the EEZ of the French Republic (excluding the district of Adélie Land, part of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories, where the French sovereignty is effective de jure by French law, but where the French exclusive claim on this part of Antarctica is frozen by a mandatory international cooperation since the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959).

Varying constitutional statuses

Overseas regions

Main article: Overseas region
Historical population
1953 909,000    
1963 1,194,000+31.4%
1973 1,475,000+23.5%
1983 1,656,000+12.3%
1993 2,028,000+22.5%
2003 2,414,000+19.0%
2013 2,691,000+11.5%
The population of all five overseas departments totaled 2,114,000 in January 2016. The population of the overseas collectivities amounted to 660.000 inhabitants(Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon , Saint-Barthélemy , Saint-Martin , Polynésie francaise , Wallis et Futuna , Nouvelle-Calédonie ).The total population of the overseas departments and territories of France is estimated at 2,774,000.

Overseas collectivities

Main article: Overseas collectivity

The category of "overseas collectivity" was created by France's constitutional reform of March 28, 2003. Each overseas collectivity has its own statutory laws.

Overseas territories

Special status

Political representation in the French Parliament

With 2,691,000 inhabitants in 2013, Overseas France account for 4.1% of the population of the French Republic.[8] They enjoy a corresponding representation in the two chambers of the French Parliament.

Representation in the National Assembly

In the 13th Legislature (2012-2017), Overseas France is represented by 27 députés (M.P.s) in the French National Assembly, accounting for 4.7% of the 577 députés in the National Assembly:

Representation in the Senate

Since September 2011, Overseas France is represented by 21 senators in the French Senate, accounting for 6.0% of the 343 senators in the Senate:

List of French overseas territories

Inhabited departments and collectivities

The 11 French overseas territories are :

Flag[note 1] Name Capital Population Land area
Population density
(inh. per km2)
Status Location Notes
French Guiana Cayenne 250,109 (Jan. 2013)[9] 83,534[10] 3 Overseas department / region South America
French Polynesia French Polynesia Papeete 268,270 (Aug. 2012)[11] 3,521[12] 76 Overseas collectivity South Pacific Ocean
Guadeloupe Basse-Terre 405,739 (Jan. 2013)[9] 1,628[10] 249 Overseas department / region Antilles
Martinique Fort-de-France 386,486 (Jan. 2013)[9] 1,128[10] 343 Overseas department / region Antilles
Mayotte Mamoudzou 226,915 (Jan. 2015)[13] 374[12] 569 Overseas department / region Africa
(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
New Caledonia New Caledonia Nouméa 268,767 (Aug. 2014)[14] 18,575.5[15] 14 Sui generis collectivity South Pacific Ocean Referendum for independence to occur sometime during the period of 2015 to 2019.
France Réunion Saint-Denis 840,974 (Jan. 2013)[9] 2,504[10] 336 Overseas department / region Africa
(Indian Ocean)
Saint Barthélemy Gustavia 9,035 (Jan. 2011)[16] 25[17] 361 Overseas collectivity Antilles Detached from Guadeloupe on February 22, 2007.
Saint Martin Marigot 36,286 (Jan. 2011)[16] 53[18] 685 Overseas collectivity Antilles Detached from Guadeloupe on February 22, 2007.
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint-Pierre 6,080 (Jan. 2011)[16] 242[12] 25 Overseas collectivity Southeast of Canada
Wallis and Futuna Mata-Utu 12,197 (Jul. 2013)[19] 142[12] 86 Overseas collectivity South Pacific Ocean
  1. Article 2 of the French Constitution states that the French flag is the only legal flag of France. Only French Polynesia, a collectivity, and New Caledonia, a special collectivity are allowed official flags. This right was granted to French Polynesia by a September, 6th, 1984, law and to New Caledonia by the Nouméa Accord. The Administrator of French Antarctica is also granted his own flag through a February, 23rd, 2007 ordinance. Historical flags are sometimes used but have no basis in law. Many territories use unofficial flags to represent the territories. The unofficial flags are shown below.

Uninhabited overseas territories

(Lands generally uninhabited, except by researchers in scientific stations)

Flag Name District Scattered islands Capital Land area (km2) Status Location Notes
France Clipperton - - - 2[20] French state private property West of Mexico
French Southern and Antarctic Lands French Southern and Antarctic Lands Crozet Islands - Alfred Faure 340[21] TAAF district South Indian Ocean
Kerguelen Islands - Port-aux-Français 7,215[21] TAAF district South Indian Ocean
Saint-Paul Island and
Amsterdam Island
- Martin-de-Viviès 66[21] TAAF district Indian Ocean
Adélie Land - Dumont d'Urville Station 432,000[21] TAAF district Antarctica Under terms of Antarctic Treaty System
Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean Banc du Geyser - 0 TAAF district Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascar and Comoros
Bassas da India - 1[21] TAAF district Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascar
Europa - 30[21] TAAF district Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascar
Glorioso Islands - 7[21] TAAF district Indian Ocean Claimed by Comoros, Madagascar and Seychelles
Juan de Nova - 5[21] TAAF district Africa
(Mozambique Channel)
Claimed by Madagascar
Tromelin Island - 1[21] TAAF district Indian Ocean Claimed by Mauritius

Largest cities in overseas France

This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France

(incl. overseas regions)

(incl. overseas departments)

Urban communities
Agglomeration communities
Commune communities
Syndicates of New Agglomeration

Associated communes
Municipal arrondissements

Others in Overseas France

Overseas collectivities
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas country
Overseas territory
Clipperton Island

Ranked by population in the urban area:

See also


  1., Definition of les DOM-TOM
  2. The Pew Charitable Trusts. "SEA AROUND US PROJECT: Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ)". Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  3. "French Caribbean voters reject change". Caribbean Net News. December 9, 2003. Retrieved February 9, 2007. 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".
  4. Magras, Bruno (February 16, 2007). "Letter of Information from the Mayor to the residents and non-residents, to the French and to the foreigners, of Saint Barthelemy" (PDF). St. Barth Weekly. p. 2. Retrieved February 18, 2007. On February 7 of this year, the French Parliament adopted the law granting Saint-Barthélemy the Statute of an Overseas Collectivity.
  5. "Saint-Barth To Become An Overseas Collectivity" (PDF). St. Barth Weekly. February 9, 2007. p. 2. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
  6. "Treaty of Lisbon, Article 2, points 287 and 293". Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  7. "Nouvelle-Calédonie", Le Petit Larousse (2010), Paris, page 1559.
  8. Population of Metropolitan France and the 4 old overseas departments (), plus the new overseas department of Mayotte (), plus the overseas collectivities of French Polynesia (), New Caledonia (), Wallis and Futuna (), and St Martin, St Barth, and St Pierre and Miquelon ().
  9. 1 2 3 4 INSEE. "Estimation de population au 1er janvier, par région, sexe et grande classe d'âge – Année 2013" (in French). Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  10. 1 2 3 4 INSEE. "Base chiffres clés : évolution et structure de la population 2010" (in French). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  11. ISPF. "Population des subdivisions administratives de Polynésie française" (in French). Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  12. 1 2 3 4 INSEE. "Tableau Économique de Mayotte 2010" (PDF) (in French). p. 21. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  13. INSEE. "212 600 habitants à Mayotte en 2012 - La population augmente toujours fortement" (in French). Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  14. ISEE. "Chiffres clés Nouvelle-Calédonie - Démographie" (in French). Retrieved October 26, 2013.
  15. ISEE. "Tableaux de l'Economie Calédonienne : Population, superficie et densité par commune et province en 2009" (PDF) (in French). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  16. 1 2 3 INSEE, Government of France. "Populations légales 2011 des collectivités d'outre-mer" (in French). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  17. INSEE. "Actualités : 2008, An 1 de la collectivité de Saint-Barthélemy" (in French). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  18. INSEE. "Actualités : 2008, An 1 de la collectivité de Saint-Martin" (in French). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  19. STSEE. "Populations légales au recensement de la population 2013 de Wallis et Futuna" (in French). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  20. Ministry of Overseas France. "L'île de Clipperton" (in French). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Délégation générale à l'outre-mer. "Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises : Données géographiques et humaines" (PDF) (in French). Retrieved January 31, 2014.

Further reading

External links

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