Item #20623 French Guiana, Liquidation of the Penal Settlement. FRENCH GUIANA.

French Guiana, Liquidation of the Penal Settlement

New York: French Press and Information Service, [1945].

8.25 x 10.75 in., 16 pp, with six half-tone illustrations showing the Saint-Laurent Penitentiary, political and economic map of French Guiana on back cover. Stapled wrappers. Some general handling wear; very good. Written for an American audience, this booklet seeks to dispel French Guiana's reputation -- fueled by several "sensational films depicting tortured, starved men or melodramatic convict escapes" -- as a "hell on earth" with a "pestilential climate, a population of confirmed criminals, fever-infested towns, forests full of savage beasts and poisonous serpents and seas teeming with man-eating sharks." The text provides a short history of the colony and description of its geography and natural resources, and explains that the penal colony is in the process of being disbanded, health conditions have improved, and asserts that "with the renewal of plantation and stock-farm activity, French Guiana can quickly become self-supporting. It has every potentiality for evolving into a prosperous and up-to-date country which will soon efface all traces of it's ill-starred past." Five pages are dedicated to a discussion of the history and future of the penal settlement.

Item #20623


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