1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cayenne

CAYENNE, a seaport and the capital of French Guiana, on the N.W. extremity of the island of Cayenne, and near the mouth of the river of that name, in 4° 56′ 28″ N., and 52° 20′ 36″ W. Pop. about 12,600. The town forms an almost perfect square, and has clean and well-macadamized streets. The houses, mostly of two storeys, are of wood, strengthened on the first and ground floors by brickwork. In the old town, which contains the government-house and Jesuits’ College, the streets are not so regularly and well built as in the new. The Place d’Armes, a fine quadrangular space, lies between them. To the right of the governor’s house is Mount Cépéron, on which stand Fort St Michel, the marine barracks, the signal station and the lighthouse. Here, too, are the capacious reservoirs for the water-supply of the town, the source of which is a lake to the south of the island. The harbour is shallow at its entrance, and craft drawing more than 14 ft. are obliged to anchor 6 m. from the town. There is no dock for the repair of vessels; but there are two quays at the town. The principal exports of Cayenne are gold, cocoa, phosphates, hides, woods and spices. The imports are French wines, spirits and liqueurs; silk and cotton stuffs, tobacco, hardware, glass, earthenware, clothing, preserved meat, fish, and vegetables, maize, flour, hay, bran, oils and cattle. There is a regular mail service between Cayenne and Martinique once a month. Cayenne is the seat of the government of French Guiana, and was formerly a penal settlement for political offenders. Food as well as clothing is exorbitantly dear, the only cheap articles of consumption being bread and French wines. The temperature of Cayenne is between 76° and 88° Fahr. throughout the year; but the heat is tempered by easterly winds. Between December and March a north wind blows, unfavourable to weak constitutions. Yellow and other fevers often attack the inhabitants of the town, but the climate, though moist, is as a whole healthy. (See Guiana.)