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French Guiana: Hispanic Reading Room Country Guide

Digital Collections and Services

The Library of Congress has over 20 centers that provide research space and guidance for users to interact with collection items based on subject or format. The Hispanic Reading Room curates materials from 61 countries and/or regions in 26 different languages and in varying formats such as books, maps, photographs, manuscripts, and digital objects. The Hispanic Reading Room staff provides access to materials from the General Collections and helps point researchers to relevant items in other reading rooms. Selected digitized primary source materials from the Library’s collections are highlighted below along with links for further exploration.

André Basset, publisher. Vue de la Rivière et l'Isle de Courou dans la Guyane françoise. [177-]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Prints, Photographs, Visual Materials

The Library's Prints and Photographs Division is the repository for a rich collection of prints, photographs, and other visual materials on and about Mexico from significant artists and photographers. Many of these items have been digitized and are available to researchers online. Many other visual materials are available to researchers in the Library's Prints and Photographs Reading Room.

Law, Legal Materials

The Law Library of Congress includes a vast collection on foreign legal materials, such as Constitutions, Codes, Session laws, Commentaries and indexes to laws, rules and regulations, Judicial court decisions and reports, and Legal bibliographies.

Access to legal materials related to French Guiana are provided by the Law Library, including:

Manuscripts, Archival Materials

The Manuscript Division holds approximately sixty million items in eleven thousand separate collections, including some of the greatest manuscript treasures of American history and culture and support scholarly research in many aspects of political, cultural, and scientific history. The Library's Manuscript Reading Room provides access to archival materials on and about French Guiana, including primary sources from cultural figures, authors, and politicians.

The Suriname army was at war with the police force, and under those circumstances, everyone is in danger. There was no way out, however; the airport was closed and there was no way to walk or even go by canoe south through the jungle to Brazil and its jungle. The only possibility was to drive east to French Guiana or west to Guyana, but there is only one road and it is dissected by many very wide rivers. There were no bridges, and the ferry boats were not allowed to operate. (The word guyana, by the way, is Amerindian. It means “land of rivers.”) When you see those mighty rivers you really begin to appreciate Papillon. [Book written by a one-time inmate of the French penal camp on Devil's Island in French Guiana.] They say the book wasn't really true. Well, his description of the rivers certainly was!

Quote from Nancy Ostrander's interview for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs
Oral History Project Foreign Assistance Series. 1986. Library of Congress Manuscript Division

Prevost, cartographer. Plan des environs de l'ancienne et nouvelle ville de Cayenne. 1789. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Cartographic Materials

The Library's Geography and Map Division has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world with collections numbering over 5 million maps, 100,000 atlases, 8,000 reference works, over 5000 globes and globe gores, 3,000 raised relief models, over 130,000 microfiche/film, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats. Many of these materials have been digitized and are available online. Materials that have not been digitized are available from the Geography and Map Reading Room.