Catcos. See Caicos. • CAYENNE, a fortified maritime city, capital of French Guiana, on the W. point of an island of the same name, at the mouth of the Oyak river; lat. 4° 56' N., lon. 52° 20' W.; pop. "estimated at 5,700. Cayenne is a penal settlement, the seat of a court of assize and an apostolic prefecture, and the centre of all the trade of the province. It has two distinct divisions, the old and the new town; the former, with the government house and the Jesuits' college, is irregular, and the houses are indifferently built; while the streets of the latter are well laid out and paved, and kept in good order, and the dwellings neat, solid, and for the most part of pleasing appearance. The old and new towns are separated by the Place d'Armes, a spacious parallelogram fringed with orange trees. There are numerous warehouses, and but few public buildings worthy of mention. The port, one of the finest and most commodious on the coast, is protected by a fort commanding the town and several batteries; but it is too shallow to receive ships of much draft. It has convenient quays for loading and discharging vessels.
The roadstead, though small, is unrivalled for beauty and convenience by any other on the W. shore of the South Atlantic. - The island, 32 m. in circumference, is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel; its surface is interspersed with small villages, inhabited chiefly by negroes (about 2,500). The principal products are sugar, molasses, cotton, coffee, and spices, which, with cacao, indigo, vanilla, and ebony, form the main exports. The climate is extremely unwholesome for Europeans, and large numbers of the convicts transported thither have been carried off on many occasions by yellow and other malignant fevers. During the first French revolution the practice began of exiling political offenders to Cayenne, the convention in 1795 decreeing the deportation of Billaud-Varennes, Collot (THerbois, Barere, and 13 others. Many were sent there by Napoleon III. - Cayenne became a French colony about 1635. It was taken by the English, who held it from 1654 to 1064, when it was retaken by the French. It again fell into the hands of the British in 1667; was conquered by the Dutch in 1672, and recovered by the French in 1675; taken by the Portuguese and British in 1809, and finally restored in 1814.