Guadeloupe (Antillean Creole: Gwadloup ; ) is an
archipelago located in the eastern
Sea at , with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres
(629 sq. mi).
It is an
overseas department of France.
with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe is also one of the
twenty-six regions of France
(being an overseas
) and an integral part of the Republic. As part of
France, Guadeloupe is part of the European Union
; hence, as for most EU
countries, its currency is the euro
Guadeloupe does not fall under the Schengen Agreement
. The prefecture of Guadeloupe is Basse-Terre.
During his second trip to America, seeking fresh water in November
1493, Christopher Columbus
became the first European to land on Guadeloupe. He called it Santa
María de Guadalupe de Extremadura, after the image of the
Virgin Mary venerated at the
Spanish monastery of Villuercas, in Guadalupe, Extremadura.
The expedition set ashore just south of
Capesterre but did not leave any settlers ashore.
Christopher Columbus is credited with discovering the pineapple
on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493,
although the fruit had long been grown in South America. He called
it piña de Indes
meaning "pine of the Indians."
successful settlement on the island of St Christophe (St Kitts), the French
the American Islands delegated Charles Lienard and Jean
Duplessis, Lord of Ossonville to colonize one or any of the
region’s islands, Guadeloupe, Martinique or Dominica.
Guadeloupe in 1865
to Martinique’s inhospitable nature, the duo resolved to settle in
Guadeloupe in 1635, took possession of the island and wiped out
many of the Carib
Amerindians. It was annexed
to the kingdom of France in 1674. Over the next century, the island
was seized several times by the British. The economy benefited from
the hugely lucrative sugar trade
introduced during the closing decades of the seventeenth century:
one indication of Guadeloupe's prosperity at this time is that in
the Treaty of Paris
defeated in war
agreed to abandon its territorial claims in Canada in return for
British return of Guadeloupe which was captured in
the upper classes of Guadeloupe refused to obey the new laws of
equal rights for the free
colored and attempted to declare independence, resulting in
great disturbances; a fire broke out in Pointe-à-Pitre and devastated a third of the town, and a struggle
between the monarchists (who wanted independence) and the
republicans (who were faithful to revolutionary France) ended in
the victory of the monarchists, who declared independence in 1791,
followed by the refusal to receive the new governor appointed by
Paris in 1792.
In 1793, a slave rebellion started, which
made the upper classes turn to the British and ask them to occupy
In an effort to take advantage of the chaos ensuing from the
attempted to seize Guadeloupe in 1794 and held it from 21 April
until December 1794, when Victor
obliged the English general to surrender. The French
retook the island under the command of Victor Hugues
, who succeeded in freeing the
. They revolted and turned on the
slave-owners who controlled the sugar plantations, but when French
interests were threatened, Napoleon
force to suppress the rebels and reinstitute slavery. Louis Delgrès
and a group of
revolutionary soldiers killed themselves on the slopes of the
Matouba volcano when it became obvious that the invading troops
would take control of the island. The occupation force killed
approximately 10,000 Guadeloupeans in the process of restoring
order to the island.
Map of the Guadeloupe
On 4 February 1810 the British once again seized the island and
continued to occupy it until 1816. By the Anglo-Swedish alliance of
3 March 1813, it was ceded to Sweden for a brief period of 15
months. The British administration continued in place and British
governors continued to govern the Island. By the Treaty of Paris of 1814
Guadeloupe once more to France. An ensuing settlement between
Sweden and the British gave rise to the Guadeloupe Fund
. French control of
Guadeloupe was finally acknowledged in the Treaty of Vienna
in 1815. Slavery was
abolished on the island in 1848 at the initiative of Victor Schoelcher
Today the population of Guadeloupe is mostly of African origin with
an important European and Indian active population. There are also
February 2007 the island communes
of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy were officially detached from Guadeloupe and became
two separate French overseas
collectivities with their own local administration, henceforth
separated from Guadeloupe.
Their combined population was
35,930 and their combined land area was at the 1999 census.
Guadeloupe thereby lost 8.5 percent of its population and 4.36
percent of its land area, based upon numbers from that
On 20 January 2009, an umbrella group of approximately fifty labour
union and other associations known in the local Antillais, Creole
as the Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon
led by Élie Domota
called for a 200
Euro ($260 USD) monthly pay increase for the island's low income
workers. The protesters have proposed that authorities "lower
business taxes as a top up to company finances" to pay for the 200
Euro pay raises. Employers and business leaders in Guadeloupe have
said that they cannot afford the salary increase.
comprises five islands: Basse-Terre Island, Grande-Terre (separated from Basse-Terre by a narrow sea channel
called Salt River) with the adjacent
islands of La
Désirade, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante.
Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic
while Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains.
the north, Saint-Barthélemy and the French part of Saint Martin once came under the
jurisdiction of Guadeloupe but on 7 December 2003, both of these
areas voted to become an overseas territorial collectivity, a
decision which took effect on 22 February 2007. 
The island was devastated by several hurricanes in modern times:
- On 12 September 1928, a hurricane caused extensive damage and
killed thousands of people.
- On 22 August 1964, Guadeloupe was ravaged by Hurricane Cleo which killed 14.
- Two years later, on 27 September 1966, Hurricane Inez caused extensive damage and
killed 27, mostly in Grande Terre. Charles De Gaulle visited the island after
the hurricanes and declared it a disaster area.
- On 17 September 1989, Category 4
Hurricane Hugo caused very extensive
damage, left more than 35,000 homeless, destroyed 10,000 homes, 100
percent of the banana crops and 60 percent of the sugarcane
- From late August to mid September, 1995, the island was in the
path of three successive cyclones: Tropical Storm Iris on 28 August—caused
minor damages; Hurricane Luis on 5
September—caused moderate damages in north coast of Grande-Terre;
Hurricane Marilyn on 15
September—caused moderate damages in Basse-Terre.
- On 21 September 1998, Hurricane
Georges pounded the islands causing moderate damages and
destroyed 90 percent of the banana crops.
(July 2006 estimates from the CIA World Factbook; note that these
estimates disagree with official INSEE
estimates and that they also include Saint-Martin and
||0 to 14 years
| 15 to 64 years || 67.1% ||style=font-size:90%| male 150,934
| 65 years and older || 9.2% ||style=font-size:90%| male 17,353
|Population growth rate
||per 1,000 people
|Net migration rate
| under 15 years
| 15 to 64 years ||colspan=2| 0.99
| 65 years and older ||colspan=2| 0.71
| Overall ||colspan=2| 0.97
|Infant mortality rate
||8.41 deaths per 1,000 live births
| females ||colspan=2| 81.37 years
| Overall ||colspan=2| 78.06 years
|Total fertility rate
||1.9 children born per woman
||Black / Mulatto
| from Tamil Nadu and other parts of India ||colspan=2| 14%
| White ||colspan=2| 9%
| Lebanese / Syrians ||colspan=2| 2%
| Chinese / others ||colspan=2| 3%
| Protestant ||colspan=2| 5%
| Hindu / African ||colspan=2| 4%
| Jehovah's Witnesses ||colspan=2| 2%
||French (official) 99%, Most locals also speak
Arrondissements, cantons, and communes
Islands and communes of the Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is divided into arrondissements
Major Urban Areas
Guadeloupe sends four deputies to the French National Assembly and
three senators to the French Senate. One of the four National
Assembly constituencies still includes Saint-Martin and
Saint-Barthélemy even though they seceded from Guadeloupe in 2007.
This situation should last until 2012 when Saint-Martin and
Saint-Barthélemy will send their own deputies to the French
Typical beach scenery of Guadeloupe.
View of La Désirade from Pointe des
Châteaux, the easternmost part of Grande Terre.
Guadeloupe's culture is probably best known for the islanders'
literary achievements, particularly the poetry of Saint-John Perse
, the pseudonym used by
. Perse won the 1960
Nobel Prize in Literature
"for the soaring flight and the evocative images of his poetry
which in a visionary fashion reflects the conditions of our
Guadeloupe has always had a rich literary production prolonged
today by many living writers, poets, novelists, essayists and
journalists, among them Mesdames Maryse Condé
and Simone Schwartz-Bart, M.
Also culturally important are the arts, particularly painting and
sculpture. Famous painters and/or sculptors include Michel Rovelas,
Claudie Cancelier, Jean-Claude Echard, Christian Bracy, Roger
Arekian, les Frères Baptiste, Michelle Chomereau-Lamothe, Léogane,
Pédurand, Nicole Réache, Victor Sainsily.
Music and dance are also very popular, and the widely accepted
interaction of African, French and Indian cultures has given birth
to some original new forms specific to the archipelago. Islanders
enjoy many local dance styles including the quadrille
"au commandement", zouk, zouk-love,
, as well as all the
modern international dances. Typical Guadeloupean music includes
and gwo ka à la
and Admiral T
embody the traditional and the new
generation of music. Many international festivals take place in
Guadeloupe, like the Creole Blues Festival, the Marie-Galante
Festival, Festival Gwo-Ka Cotellon, etc. It goes without saying
that all the Euro-French forms of art are also omnipresent in the
Another element of the Guadeloupean culture is its dress. Women in
particular have a unique style of traditional dresses, with many
layers of colourful fabrics, now only worn on special occasions. On
festive occasions they also wore a madras (originally the
'kerchief' from South India) head scarf tied in many different
symbolic forms. The headdress could be done in many styles with
names like the "bat" style, or the "firefighter" style, as well as
the "Guadeloupean woman." Jewelry, mainly of gold, is also
important in the Guadeloupean lady's dress, a product of European,
African and Indian inspiration. Many famous couturiers like Devaed
and Mondelo are Guadeloupeans.
Football (soccer) is popular in Guadeloupe. Thierry Henry
, a star of the French National Team
Spanish League club FC Barcelona
visits, as his father Antoine was originally from the island.
, whose parentage is
Guadeloupean, visits the island when not playing for Arsenal or the
French National team. Lilian Thuram
star football defender for France
and FC Barcelona
, was born in Guadeloupe. The
French national team and Everton F.C.
striker, Louis Saha
, is also of
Guadeloupean descent, as is MK Dons
goalkeeper Willy Gueret
Chimbonda of Tottenham was also born in Guadeloupe. The region's football team
experienced recent success, advancing all the way to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup
where they were defeated just 1-0 by CONCACAF
. Many fine track and field athletes
as Marie-José Perec
, Patricia Girard-Léno
, and Christine Arron
are also Guadeloupe natives.
were born in
this island. Famed Bodybuilder Serge
also hails from Guadeloupe.
Pointe des Châteaux in
In 2006 the GDP per capita
Guadeloupe at market exchange rates, not at PPP
, was €17,338 (US$21,780).
The economy of Guadeloupe depends on tourism
. But it
especially depends on France for large subsidies and imports.
Tourism is a key industry, with 83.3% of tourists visiting from
coming from the rest of Europe, 3.4% coming from the United States,
1.5% coming from Canada, 0.4% coming from South America and 0.6%
coming from the rest of the world. An increasingly large number of
cruise ships visit the islands.
The traditional sugarcane
crop is slowly
being replaced by other crops, such as bananas
(which now supply about 50% of export
, and many varieties of flowers
. Other vegetables and root crops are
cultivated for local consumption, although Guadeloupe is still
dependent on imported food, mainly from France.
Light industry features sugar
, solar energy, and many industrial productions. Most
manufactured goods and fuel are imported. Unemployment is
especially high among the youth. Hurricanes periodically devastate
The country code top-level
(ccTLD) for Guadeloupe is ".gp
though Guadeloupe is part of France, it has its
own sports teams.
For example, Guadeloupe has its own
national football team, the Guadeloupe national football
There is also a rugby union in
, a small, but rapidly growing sport in
forward Mickael Pietrus
and Dallas Mavericks
guard Rodrigue Beaubois
Guadeloupe is mentioned in Jesse McCartney's song Body
- General information