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Guadeloupe is an archipelago in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a total area of 1,702 km². It is an overseas département (département d'outre-mer, or DOM) of France. Like the other DOMs, Guadeloupe is also a région (région d'outre-mer) of France, and an integral part of the Republic.

Région Guadeloupe
Flag of Guadeloupe Logo of Guadeloupe
(Région flag) (Région logo)
Map of France highlighting the Region of Guadeloupe
Capital Basse-Terre
Land area¹ 1,702 km²
Regional President Victorin Lurel
(PS) (since 2004)
 - Jan.1, 2004 estimate
 - March 8, 1999 census
 - Density
(Ranked 23rd)
260/km² (2004)
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 43
Communes 34
Départementss Guadeloupe
Number 971
Time zone UTC -4
Country calling code 590²
Internet TLD .gp
1. French Land Register data, which exclude lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km² (0.386 sq. mi. or 247 acres) as well as the estuaries of rivers

2. Not required from metropolitan France, other overseas départements, or collectivités d'outre mer.



View from Guadeloupe
View from Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe was populated from 300 BC by the Arawak Amerindians, who fished and developed agriculture on the island. It was next inhabited by the Caribs, who pushed out most of the Arawak in the 8th century, and who renamed the island "Karukera" or the "Island of beautiful waters".

During his second trip to America Christopher Columbus became the first European to land on Guadeloupe on 14 November 1493. 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 French took possession of the island in 1635 and wiped out many of the Carib. It was annexed to France in 1674. Over the next century, the island was seized several times by the British. One indication of Guadeloupe's prosperity at this time is that in the Treaty of Paris (1763), France abandoned its territorial claims in Canada in return for British recognition of French control of Guadeloupe.

Carbet Falls
Carbet Falls

In an effort to take advantage of the chaos ensuing from the French Revolution, Britain attempted to seize Guadeloupe in 1794 and held it from April 21 to June 2. The French retook the island under the command of Victor Hugues, who succeeded in freeing the slaves. They revolted and turned on the slave-owners who controlled the sugar plantations, but when American interests were threatened, Napoleon sent a 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.

On February 4, 1810 the British once again seized the island and held it until March 3, 1813, when it was ceded to Sweden as a consequence of the Napoleonic Wars. Sweden already had a colony in the area, the nearby island of Saint-Barthélemy, but merely a year later Sweden left the island to France in the Treaty of Paris of 1814. 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 a blend of Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Indians.

Guadeloupe became an overseas département of France on March 19, 1946. A local independence movement has been involved occasionally in acts of violence against the French government in order to achieve its aims.


In green (with red legend) are the constituent parts of the Guadeloupe région/département among the Leeward Islands
In green (with red legend) are the constituent parts of the Guadeloupe région/département among the Leeward Islands
Map of the Guadeloupe archipelago
Map of the Guadeloupe archipelago

Main Article: Geography of Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe comprises five islands: Basse-Terre, 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 relief whilst Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains.

Further to the north, Saint-Barthélemy and the French part of Saint Martin come under the juridiction of Guadeloupe. On December 7, 2003, both of these areas voted to become an overseas territorial collectivity. [1]


Population: 426,493 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 25% (male 54,603; female 52,339)
15-64 years: 66% (male 139,640; female 142,706)
65 years and over: 9% (male 15,647; female 21,558) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.11% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 17.25 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 6.01 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 9.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.99 years
male: 73.82 years
female: 80.3 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.93 children born/woman (2000 est.)

noun: Guadeloupian(s)
adjective: Guadeloupe

Ethnic groups: black or mulatto 90%, white 5%, East Indian, Lebanese, Chinese less than 5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Hindu and pagan African 4%, Protestant 1%

Languages: French (official) 99%, Creole patois

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90%
male: 90%
female: 90% (1982 est.)


Politics of Guadeloupe

Politics of Guadeloupe
Political parties in Guadeloupe
Elections in Guadeloupe


Politics Portal

National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system: French legal system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jacques Chirac of France (since 17 May 1995), represented by Prefect Dominique Vian (since 6 August 2002)
head of government: President of the General Council Jacques Gillot (since 26 March 2001); President of the Regional Council Lucette Michaux-Chevry (since 22 March 1992)
cabinet: NA
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; the presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by the members of those councils
election results: NA

Legislative branch: unicameral General Council or Conseil General (42 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the unicameral Regional Council or Conseil Regional (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
elections: General Council - last held 22 March 1998 (next to be held by NA 2004); Regional Council - last held 15 March 1998 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: General Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - left-wing candidates 11, PS 8, RPR 8, PPDG 6, right-wing candidates 5, PCG 3, UDF 1; Regional Council - percent of vote by party - RPR 48.03%, PS/PPDG/diverse left parties 24.49%, PCG 5.29%, diverse right parties 5.73%; seats by party - RPR 25, PS/PPDG/diverse left parties 12, PCG 2, diverse right parties 2
note: Guadeloupe elects two representatives to the French Senate; elections last held NA September 1995 (next to be held NA September 2004); percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPR 1, FGPS 1; Guadeloupe elects four representatives to the French National Assembly; elections last held 25 May - 1 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - FGPS 2, RPR 1, PPDG 1

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel with jurisdiction over Guadeloupe, French Guiana, and Martinique.

Political parties and leaders:

Political pressure groups and leaders:

  • Christian Movement for the Liberation of Guadeloupe or KLPG
  • General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers or CGT-G
  • General Union of Guadeloupe Workers or UGTG
  • Movement for Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI

International organisation participation: FZ, WCL, WFTU

'''See Also:'''


Main article: Economy of Guadeloupe

Beach at Guadeloupe
Beach at Guadeloupe

The economy of Guadeloupe depends on agriculture, tourism, light industry, and services. It also depends on France for large subsidies and imports. Tourism is a key industry, with most tourists from the United States; 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 earnings), eggplant, and 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 and rum production. Most manufactured goods and fuel are imported. Unemployment is especially high among the young. Hurricanes periodically devastate the economy.

See also

External links

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Countries in the Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas | Barbados | Cuba | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada | Haiti | Jamaica | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Trinidad and Tobago

Dependencies: Anguilla | Aruba | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Guadeloupe | Martinique | Montserrat | Navassa Island | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Turks and Caicos Islands | U.S. Virgin Islands

Régions of France Flag of France
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Overseas Régions
Guadeloupe | Guyane | Martinique | Réunion
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