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Timeline of Major Historical Moments in French Guiana

10,000 BCEFirst people migrate to French Guiana
800Carib, Arawak & other tribes inhabit French Guiana
1498Christopher Columbus sights French Guiana & names it "Land of Pariahs
1604First French settlers arrive
1624-1652France establish the settlement of Cayenne, then abaondon it
1654-1664Dutch occupy Cayenne
176415,000 French arrive, most die of malaria, yellow fever & dysentary
1791Men of color born to free parents are granted equal rights to white men
1794Slavery is abolished
1796Slavery is reinstated, followed by slave rebellion
1804Leaders of slave revolt are executed
1809-1817Portuguese occupation
1817French control
1852Devil's Island establishes a penal colony. Convicts replace the defected slaves to work the coffee plantations
1854Saint Georges establish a penal colony. More than two-third of the convicts die from the climate, abuse & suicide
1855Gold is discovered in the Arataye River
1856Outbreak of yellow fever
1938Convict transportation ends
1946French Guiana becomes an overseas department of France
1951Penal colonies are officially closed
1964France constructs Guiana Space Center in Kourou
2003Europe's first moon mission departs from French Guiana