Guadeloupe is an archipelago in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a total area of 1,704 km&sup2. It is an overseas département (département d'outre-mer, or DOM) of France. Like the other DOMs, Guadeloupe is also a région of France, and an integral part of the Republic.

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Official languageFrench
Political status
Overseas Department of France
Department Number971
Sous-préfecturesPointe-à-Pitre, Saint-Martin
Head of Regional Council Victorin Lurel
Head of General Council Jacques Gillot
 - Total
 - % water

1,705 km²

 - Total

 - Density

422,496 (1999 census)
443,000 (1.1.2004 estimates)

Time zoneUTC -4
Calling Code590


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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 Maria de Guadalupe de Estremudura, after a Spanish monastery.

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.

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 Hughes, who succeeded to free the slaves and turn 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.

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 terror against the French government in order to achieve its aims.


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Carbet Falls

Template:Politics of Guadeloupe

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

Flag description: three horizontal bands, a narrow green band (top), a wide red band, and a narrow green band; the green bands are separated from the red band by two narrow white stripes; a gold five-pointed star is centered in the red band toward the hoist side; the flag of France is used for official occasions

'''See Also:'''


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] (

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Map of the Guadeloupe archipelago.
Caribbean, islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates
Template:Coor dm
Map references
Central America and the Caribbean
10 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
  • Total: 10.2 km
  • Border countries: Netherlands Antilles (Sint Maarten) 10.2 km
306 km
Maritime claims
  • Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
  • Territorial sea: 12 nm
Subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity
Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin
Elevation extremes
  • Lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
  • Highest point: Soufriere 1,467 m
Natural resources
Cultivable land, beaches and climate that foster tourism
Land use
  • Arable land: 14%
  • Permanent crops: 4%
  • Permanent pastures: 14%
  • Forests and woodland: 39%
  • Other: 29% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land
30 km² (1993 est.)
Natural hazards
Hurricanes (June to October); Soufriere is an active volcano
Environment--current issues

See also: Communes of the Guadeloupe département


Main article: Economy of Guadeloupe

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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 US; 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.


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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.)

See also

External links

Countries in West Indies

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


de:Guadeloupe es:Guadalupe eo:Gvadelupo fr:Guadeloupe io:Guadelupe it:Guadalupa nl:Guadeloupe ja:グアドループ no:Guadeloupe pl:Gwadelupa pt:Guadeloupe sv:Guadeloupe


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