Districts of French Southern Territories

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Gérard Lang informs me that an arrêté (order), dated 2007-02-23 and published on 2007-03-15, created a district of the French Southern Territories named "district des îles Éparses de l'océan Indien" (district of the Scattered Islands of the Indian Ocean). Its seat of government is the same as the territory's.

On 2005-01-03, administration of the Îles Éparses was transferred from Reunion to French Southern Territories.

The official French Southern Territories website  includes the following comments, which I have translated from French:

"Although it permanently holds around 200 people who stay from six months to one year, it has no indigenous population. Therefore, it has neither voters nor elected officials nor territorial assembly nor territorial government. The head administrator is both the representative of the state [France] and the executive of the territorial collectivity. He or she is represented in each of the four administrative circumscriptions by a district chief....

"This is also the only overseas territory whose administrative seat, originally sited in Paris, was transferred to an overseas department (Reunion, by a decree of 1996-03-14), and more precisely to the commune of Saint-Pierre by an order of 1997-02-27.

"France exercises its sovereignty over this territory in two different contexts:

"1. In the Southern Lands (Crozet, Kerguelen, Saint-Paul, and Amsterdam), this sovereignty has never been questioned by any country. Even though it is not threatened, it must be fully supported, both by permanent bases and by surveillance of its huge economic zone within the 200-mile limit.

"2. In Antarctica, French sovereignty over Adélie Land is exercised under the international treaty of Washington (1959), which froze all territorial claims and affirmed freedom of scientific research throughout the continent. This sovereignty must therefore be compatible with the requirements of the treaty..."

Because of the Antarctic treaty, I have assigned Adélie Land to Antarctica for purposes of classification. These are the four districts of French Southern and Antarctic Territories. The INSEE code for all of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories is 98404. Postal codes are apparently not used.

Country overview: 

ISO codeTF
LanguageFrench (fr)
Time zone+5
CapitalSaint-Pierre, Réunion


On 1955-08-06, several island dependencies of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, along with the French Antarctic claim of Adélie Land, were united to form an overseas territory of France, called French Southern and Antarctic Lands.

Other names of country: 

  1. Dutch: Zuidelijke en Antarctische Franse Gebieden
  2. English: Territory of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (formal)
  3. French: Terres fp australes et antartiques françaises, Terres australes françaises, TAAF (abbreviated)
  4. German: Französische Süd- und Antarktisgebiete
  5. Italian: Territori mp Australi e Antartici
  6. Norwegian: Sør- og antarktiske territorier
  7. Portuguese: Terras fp Austrais e Antárticas Francesas
  8. Russian: Французские Южные и Антарктические Территории
  9. Spanish: Tierras fp Australes y Antárticas Francesas
  10. Turkish: Fransa'nın Güney Bölgeleri (formal)

Origin of name: 


Primary subdivisions: 

French Southern Territories is divided into five districts.

DistrictHASCTzPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Main base
Adélie LandAQ.FR+1030432,000167,000Dumont-d'Urville
Amsterdam and Saint-PaulTF.AS+5306124Martin-de-Viviès
Crozet ArchipelagoTF.CR 30505195Alfred-Faure
Îles ÉparsesTF.IE 03815 
5 districts170440,000170,000
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • Tz: Time zone (hours offset from UTC).
  • Population: unofficial estimates, 2000. Summer population
    usually higher, winter lower. All residents transient.
  • Area: Different estimates are given.

Territorial extent: 

  1. Adélie Land is the slice of Antarctica lying between the longitudes 136° E. and 142° E.
  2. Crozet Archipelago includes Île de la Possession (site of Alfred-Faure base), Île de l'Est, the Îles des Pingouins, Île aux Cochons and the Îles des Apôtres.
  3. Kerguelen includes Île Kerguelen (Grande Terre), Île Sainte Lanne-Geamont, Île du Port, Île Longue, Île Howe, Îles de la baie du Morbihan, Îles Nuageuses, Île de l'Ouest, Île Gaby, Îles du Prince de Monaco, Îles Swain, and Île Violetta. The base of Port-aux-Français is located on the main island, Île Kerguelen.
  4. Amsterdam and Saint-Paul consists of two islands, Amsterdam (or Nouvelle-Amsterdam, site of the main base) and Saint-Paul, and surrounding islets.
  5. The Îles Éparses (scattered islands) are five remote Indian Ocean islands or island groups that belong to France. They are not part of any arrondissement. Oddly, FIPS 10-4 has assigned each of them a separate country code. The Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes standard also gives them country codes, but different ones.
Bassas da IndiaBSQS,XBI~0
Europa IslandEUXE,XEU28
Glorioso IslandsGOQX,XGL5
Juan de Nova IslandJUQU,XJN4
Tromelin IslandTEXT,XTR1

The UN LOCODE page  for French Southern Lands lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Juan de Nova Island: named for the ship captain who discovered it

Change history: 

2005-01-03: Administration of Îles Éparses transferred from Reunion to French Southern Territories.

2007-03-15: Status of Îles Éparses changed from private domain of the state to district.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Adélie Land: Terre Adélie (French)
  2. Crozet Archipelago: Archipel des Crozet (French)
  3. Kerguelen: Îles de la Désolation (French-obsolete); Îles Kerguelen (French)
  4. Amsterdam and Saint-Paul: Îles Amsterdam et Saint-Paul (French)
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