As of March 2011, France now has five overseas départements instead of four. Mayotte was previously a collectivité d’outre-mer, but now it is officially a département d’outre-mer joining Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane and La Réunion – all of which also have the status of région.
So where is Mayotte? Geographically it is the 4th island in the Comoros archipelago in the Indian Ocean, between Mozambique and Madagascar. The nation Comoros consists of the other three islands, and still claims Mayotte as its own though it has never administered the island. Comoros voted for independence from France in 1974, but Mayotte refused and has been a collectivité until now.
France is more than just the hexagon on the European continent. In addition to the 96 départements en métropole including the island of Corsica, there are the 5 départements d’outre-mer mentioned above, as well as a few other collectivités and territoires around the world:
As you have probably noticed, all of the DOM-TOMs are islands, except for Guyane in South America. For more information, check out the official L’Outre-Mer website. 2011 is also l’Année des Outre-Mer.
Learning the Départements of France
Australian Society for French Studies Conference 2014
Trains and Planes in France and Australia
Australian Society for French Studies Conference 2011
Foreigners in France: Fewer Opportunities for Employment
Moving to the Other Side of the World, Part 2: Relocating to Australia