Guadeloupe (//; French pronunciation: [ɡwadəlup]; Antillean Creole: Gwadloup) is an overseas region of France in the Caribbean. It consists of six inhabited islands, Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and the Îles des Saintes, as well as many uninhabited islands and outcroppings.
Département d’Outre-Mer de la Guadeloupe
|• President of the Regional Council||Ary Chalus|
|• Total||1,628 km2 (629 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-04:00 (AST)|
|ISO 3166 code||GP|
|GDP (2014)||Ranked 25th|
|Total||€8.1 billion (US$10.3 bn)|
|Per capita||€19,810 (US$25,479)|
Like the other overseas departments, it is an integral part of France. As a constituent territory of the European Union and the Eurozone, the euro is its official currency and any European Union citizen is free to settle and work there indefinitely. As an overseas department, however, it is not part of the Schengen Area. The official language is French. Antillean Creole is also spoken.
The archipelago was called "Karukera" (or "The Island of Beautiful Waters") by the Arawak people, who settled on there in the year 300.
Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Guadalupe in 1493 after the Virgin Mary, venerated in the Spanish town of Guadalupe. Upon becoming a French colony, the Spanish name was retained though altered to French orthography and phonology. The islands are locally known as Gwada.
Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1493. During the 1600s, the Kalina repelled Spanish settlers. The Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique settled in Guadeloupe in 1635, took possession of the island, and brought in French farmers to colonise the land. This led to the death of many Caribs by disease and violence.
By 1640, the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique had gone bankrupt, and sold the land to Charles Houël du Petit Pré who began plantation agriculture, with the first African slaves arriving in 1650. Ownership of the island then passed to the French West India Company before it was annexed to France in 1674. Institutionalized slavery, enforced by the Code Noir from 1685, led to a booming sugar plantation economy.
During the Seven Years' War the English occupied Guadeloupe from the time of 1759 British Invasion of Guadeloupe until the 1763 Treaty of Paris. During this time Pointe-à-Pitre became a major harbour, and markets in Britain's North American colonies were opened to Guadeloupean sugar which was traded for cheap food and lumber. The economy expanded quickly, growing the wealth of colonists. During this time about 18,000 slaves were brought in. So prosperous was Guadeloupe at the time that under the 1763 Treaty of Paris France forfeited its Canadian colonies in exchange for Guadeloupe. Coffee planting began in 1770, increasing slavery, and by 1775 cocoa had become a major export product.
The 1789 French Revolution brought chaos to Guadeloupe. Under new revolutionary law free people of color were entitled to equal rights. In the anarchy that followed, the British invaded, to which the French responded by sending soldiers led by Victor Hugues who retook the lands and abolished slavery. In the Reign of Terror that followed more than 1,000 colonists were killed. In 1802 the First French Empire reinstated the prerevolutionary government and slavery. In 1810 the British again seized the island, handing it over to Sweden in 1813. In the Treaty of Paris of 1814, Sweden ceded Guadeloupe to France, giving rise to the Guadeloupe Fund. In 1816 the Treaty of Vienna definitively acknowledged French control of Guadeloupe.
Six years after the final abolition of slavery in 1848, indentured servants from the French colony of Pondicherry in what is now India were brought in. Emancipated slaves had the vote from 1849, but French nationality and the vote was granted to Indian citizens until 1921.
In 1946, the colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France.
In January 2009, labour unions and others known as the Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon went on strike for more pay. The strike lasted 44 days. Tourism suffered greatly during this time and affected the 2010 tourist season as well. The 2009 French Caribbean general strikes exposed deep ethnic, racial, and class tensions and disparities within Guadeloupe.
Guadeloupe is an archipelago of more than 12 islands, as well as islets and rocks situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean. It is in the Leeward Islands, in the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, an island arc, partly a volcanic arc. Montserrat is visible from the north, and Dominica is visible from the south.
Most of the inhabitants live on a pair of islands, Basse-Terre Island and Grande-Terre, which form a butterfly shape, viewed from above, the two wings of which are separated by a narrow sea channel, la Rivière Salée.
More than half of Guadeloupe's land surface is on the 847.8 km2 Basse-Terre. Basse-Terre is mountainous, including the active volcano La Grande Soufrière, the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles, with an elevation of 1,467 metres (4,813 ft).
Les Saintes is an archipelago of eight islands of which two, Terre-de-Bas and Terre-de-Haut are inhabited. The landscape is similar to that of Basse-Terre, with volcanic hills and irregular shoreline with deep bays.
Grande-Terre, is mostly flat, with rocky coasts to the north, irregular hills at the centre, mangrove at the southwest, and white sand beaches sheltered by coral reefs along the south shore. This is where the main tourist resorts are found.
La Désirade, an island east of Grande-Terre, is a north-east slanted limestone plateau, the highest point of which is 275 metres (902 ft). Nearby is Petite-Terre, which are two islands Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas totalling 2 km2.
Marie-Galante and La Désirade are generally low-lying.
Basse-Terre is a volcanic island. The Lesser Antilles are at the outer edge of the Caribbean Plate, and Guadeloupe is part of the outer arc of the Lesser Antilles Volcanic Arc. Many of the islands were formed as a result of the subduction of oceanic crust of the Atlantic Plate under the Caribbean Plate in the Lesser Antilles subduction zone. This process is ongoing and is responsible for volcanic and earthquake activity in the region. Guadeloupe was formed from multiple volcanoes, of which only la Soufriere is not extinct. Its last eruption was in 1976, and led to the evacuation of the southern part of Basse-Terre. 73,600 people were displaced over a course of three and a half months following the eruption.
K–Ar dating indicates that the three northern massifs on Basse-Terre Island are 2.79 million years old. Sections of volcanoes collapsed and eroded within the last 650,000 years, after which the Sans Toucher volcano grew in the collapsed area. Volcanoes in the north of Basse-Terre Island mainly produced andesite and basaltic andesite. There are several beaches of dark or "black" sand.
Grande-Terre and Marie-Galante have basements probably composed of volcanic units of Eocene to Oligocene, but there are no visible outcrops. On Grande-Terre, the overlying carbonate platform is 120 metres thick.
The islands are part of the Leeward Islands, so called because they are downwind of the prevailing trade winds, which blow out of the northeast. This was significant in the days of sailing ships. Haute-Terre is so named because it is on the eastern, or windward side, exposed to the Atlantic winds. Basse-Terre is so named because it is on the leeward south-west side and sheltered from the winds.
Guadeloupe has a tropical climate tempered by maritime influences and the Trade Winds. There are two seasons, the dry season called "Lent" from January to June, and the wet season called "winter", from July to December.
|Climate data for Guadeloupe|
|Average high °C (°F)||29.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.5
|Average low °C (°F)||19.9
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||84
|Average precipitation days||15.0||11.5||11.5||11.6||13.6||12.8||15.4||16.2||16.6||18.1||16.6||15.7||174.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||235.6||229.1||232.5||240.0||244.9||237.0||244.9||248.0||216.0||217.0||207.0||223.2||2,775.2|
|Source: Hong Kong Observatory|
Flora and faunaEdit
With fertile volcanic soils, heavy rainfall and a warm climate, vegetation on Basse-Terre is lush. Most of the islands' forest is on Basse-Terre.
Mangrove swamps line the Salée River.
Guadeloupe recorded a population of 402,119 in the 2013 census.
The population of Guadeloupe has been stable recently, with a net increase of only 335 people between the 2008 and 2013 censuses.
In 2012 the average population density in Guadeloupe was 247.7 inhabitants for every square kilometre, which is very high in comparison to the whole France's 116.5 inhabitants for every square kilometre. One third of the land is devoted to agriculture and all mountains are uninhabitable. This lack of space and shelter makes the population density even higher.
Because Guadeloupe is a wealthy country in comparison to the surrounding Caribbean islands, immigration is popular. People immigrate to Guadeloupe because of its stronger political stability and greater agricultural job opportunities. However, just because foreigners immigrate to Guadeloupe for its opportunities does not mean the country is economically stable; rather, it is stable in comparison to the surrounding regions/islands.
At the 2006 census the population of Basse-Terre Island was 186,661 inhabitants living in 16 communes (municipalities). The population density was 220 inhabitants per square kilometre (570/sq mi). The largest city is the city of Basse-Terre which had 37,455 inhabitants in its urban area at the 2006 census.
Major urban areasEdit
|Rank||Urban Area||Pop. (08)||Pop. (99)||Δ Pop||Activities||Island|
|1||Pointe-à-Pitre||132,884||132,751||+0.10 %||economic center||Grande-Terre and |
|2||Basse-Terre||37,455||36,126||+3.68 %||administrative center||Basse-Terre|
|5||Le Moule||21,347||20,827||+2.50 %||agriculture||Grande-Terre|
Medical centers in Guadeloupe include: University Hospital Center (CHU) in Pointe-à-Pitre, Regional Hospital Center (CHR) in Basse-Terre, and four hospitals located in Capesterre-Belle-Eau, Pointe-Noire, Bouillante and Saint-Claude.[circular reference]
The Institut Pasteur de la Guadeloupe, is located in Pointe-à-Pitre and is responsible for researching environmental hygiene, vaccinations, and the spread of tuberculosis and mycobacteria
Guadeloupe elects one deputy from one of each of the first, second, third, and fourth constituencies to the National Assembly of France. Three senators are chosen for the Senate of France by indirect election.
Most of the French political parties are active in Guadeloupe. In addition there are regional parties such as the Guadeloupe Communist Party, the Progressive Democratic Party of Guadeloupe, the Guadeloupean Objective, the Pluralist Left, and United Guadaloupe, Socialism and Realities.
The top-level territorial sub-division of France is the region, which contain of departments. Guadeloupe, like a few other places (French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte, and Réunion) is both a region and a department combined into one entity, the overseas department. Guadeloupe has separate departmental and regional councils.
The Regional Council of Guadeloupe is a body, elected every six years, consisting of a president, currently Ary Chalus, and eight vice-presidents. They were elected in 2015. The regional council oversees higher secondary education, regional transportation, economic development, the environment, and some infrastructure, among other things.
The elected president of the Departmental Council of Guadeloupe is Jacques Gillot. Its main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school (collège) buildings and technical staff, and local roads and school and rural buses.
The prefecture (regional capital) of Guadeloupe is Basse-Terre. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government.
For local government, Guadeloupe is divided into 32 communes. Each commune has a municipal council and a mayor. Revenues for the communes come from transfers from the French government, and local taxes. Administration done at this level includes water management, acts of birth, marriage, etc., and municipal police.
The economy of Guadeloupe depends on tourism, agriculture, light industry and services. It is dependent upon mainland France for large subsidies and imports. Unemployment is especially high among the youth population.
GDP: real exchange rate - US$9.74 billion (in 2006)
GDP - real growth rate: NA%
GDP - per capita: real exchange rate - US$21,780 (in 2006)
Exports: US$676 million (in 2005)
Exports - commodities: bananas, sugar, rum
Exports - partners: Mainland France 60%, Martinique 18%, US 4% (1997)
Imports: US$3.102 billion (in 2005)
Tourism is a key industry, with 83.3% of tourists visiting from metropolitan France, 10.8% 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 Guadeloupe, the cruise terminal of which is in Pointe-à-Pitre.
The traditional sugar cane crop is slowly being replaced by other crops, such as bananas (which now supply about 50% of export earnings), eggplant, guinnep, noni, sapotilla, giraumon squash, yam, gourd, plantain, christophine, cocoa, jackfruit, pomegranate, and many varieties of flowers. Other vegetables and root crops are cultivated for local consumption, although Guadeloupe is dependent upon imported food, mainly from the rest of France.
Light industry features sugar and rum, solar energy, and many industrial products. Most manufactured goods and fuel are imported.
As it is a region of France, Guadeloupe's official language is French, which is spoken by nearly all of the population. In addition, most of the population can also speak Guadeloupean Creole, a variety of Antillean Creole. Throughout the island's colonial history, Creole was the language of local community, of resistance to European domination, of ethno-racial identity. Consequently, when from the early 1970s to the mid 1980s, Guadeloupe saw the rise and fall of an at-times violent movement for (greater) political independence from France, Creole was claimed as key to local cultural pride and unity. In the 1990s, in the wake of the independence movement's demise, Creole retained its de-stigmatized status as a symbol of local culture, albeit without de jure support from the state and without being practiced with equal competence in all strata and age groups of society. The third millennium, however, brought greater acceptance of Creole on the part of France, such that it was introduced as an elective in public schools. Today, the question as to whether French and Creole are stable in Guadeloupe, i.e. whether both languages are practised widely and competently throughout society, remains a subject of active research.
Saint-John Perse won the 1960 Nobel Prize in Literature. Guadeloupe has always had a rich literary output, continued today by many living writers, poets, novelists, essayists and journalists, among them Maryse Condé and Simone Schwarz-Bart.
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. Since the 1970s, Guadeloupean music increasingly claimed the local language, Guadeloupean Creole as the preferred language of popular music. Islanders enjoy many local dance styles including zouk, zouk-love, compas, as well as the modern international dances such as hip hop, etc.
Traditional Guadeloupean music includes biguine, kadans, cadence-lypso,and gwo ka. Popular music artists and bands such as Experience 7, Francky Vincent, Kassav' (which included Patrick St-Eloi), and Gilles Floro embody the traditional music style of the island and the new generation of music, while some other musical artists, like Tom Frager (who grew up in Guadeloupe), perform colorful reggae music that defines the Guadeloupe island as paradise-like. Many international festivals take place in Guadeloupe, like the Creole Blues Festival, hosted in Marie-Galante. All the Euro-French forms of art are also ubiquitous. The melting pot is emphasized by other communities (from Brazil, Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, Lebanon, Syria), who live on the island and share their cultures.
Another element of Guadeloupean culture is its dress. A few women (particularly of the older generation) wear a unique style of traditional dress, with many layers of colourful fabric, now only worn on special occasions. On festive occasions they also wore a madras (originally a "kerchief" from South India) head scarf tied in many different symbolic ways, each with a different name. The headdress could be tied in the "bat" style, or the "firefighter" style, as well as the "Guadeloupean woman". Jewelry, mainly gold, is also important in the Guadeloupean lady's dress, a product of European, African and Indian inspiration.
Guadeloupe is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean; nevertheless, it was the most violent overseas French department in 2016. The murder rate is slightly more than that of Paris, at 8.2 per 100,000. The high level of unemployment caused violence and crime to rise especially in 2009 and 2010, the years following a great worldwide recession. Most of this violence is caused by the drug trade or domestic disputes, and the residents of Guadeloupe describe the island as a place without much everyday crime.
Football (soccer) is popular in Guadeloupe, and several notable footballers are of Guadeloupean origin, including Stéphane Auvray, Ronald Zubar and his younger brother Stéphane, Miguel Comminges, Dimitri Foulquier, Bernard Lambourde and Anthony Martial.
Several track and field athletes, such as Marie-José Pérec, Patricia Girard-Léno, Christine Arron, and Wilhem Belocian, are also Guadeloupe natives. Triple Olympic champion Marie-José Pérec, and fourth-fastest 100-metre (330-foot) runner Christine Arron.
The island has produced many world-class fencers. Yannick Borel, Daniel Jérent, Ysaora Thibus, Anita Blaze, Enzo Lefort and Laura Flessel were all born and raised in Guadeloupe. According to olympic gold medalist and world champion Yannick Borel, there is a good fencing school and a culture of fencing in Guadeloupe.
Even though Guadeloupe is part of France, it has its own sports teams. Rugby union is a small but rapidly growing sport in Guadeloupe. France international and RC Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud (cousin of footballer William Gallas) was born in Guadeloupe.
The island is also internationally known for hosting the Karujet Race – Jet Ski World Championship since 1998. This nine-stage, four-day event attracts competitors from around the world (mostly Caribbeans, Americans, and Europeans). The Karujet, generally made up of seven races around the island, has an established reputation as one of the most difficult championships in which to compete.
The Route du Rhum is one of the most prominent nautical French sporting events, occurring every four years.
Bodybuilder Serge Nubret was born in Anse-Bertrand, Grande-Terre, representing the French state in various bodybuilding competitions throughout the 1960s and 1970s including the IFBB's Mr. Olympia contest, taking 3rd place every year from 1972 to 1974, and 2nd place in 1975. Bodybuilder Marie-Laure Mahabir also hails from Guadeloupe.
The country has also a passion for cycling. It hosted the French Cycling Championships in 2009 and continues to host the Tour de Guadeloupe every year.
Guadeloupe also continues to host the Orange Open de Guadeloupe tennis tournament (since 2011).
The Tour of Guadeloupe sailing, which was founded in 1981.
On 9 September 2013 the county government voted in favour of constructing a tramway in Pointe-à-Pitre. The first phase will link northern Abymes to downtown Pointe-à-Pitre by 2019. The second phase, scheduled for completion in 2023, will extend the line to serve the university.
- Bibliography of Guadeloupe
- Index of Guadeloupe-related articles
- Slavery in the British and French Caribbean
- List of colonial and departmental heads of Guadeloupe
- Overseas departments and territories of France
- Guadeloupe is the used as the set of the television series Death in Paradise and is called Saint Marie
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- Schnepel, Ellen. In Search of a National Identity: Creole and Politics in Guadaloupe. University of Wisconsin Press (July 7, 2004)
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- Meyjes, Gregory Paul P, On the status of Creole in Guadeloupe: a study of present-day language attitudes. Unpub. PhD. Dissertation. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 1995.
- Durizot-Jno-Baptiste, Paulette. La question du créole à l'école en Guadeloupe : quelle dynamique? Paris, France : L'Harmattan, 1996.
- Manahan, Kathe. Diglossia Reconsidered: Language Choice and Code-Switching in Guadeloupean Voluntary Organizations, Kathe Manahan Texas Linguistic Forum. 47: 251-261, Austin, TX. 2004
- Sahai, Sharad (1998). Guadeloupe Lights Up: French-lettered Indians in a remote corner of the Caribbean reclaim their Hindu identity Archived 1 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Hinduism Today, Digital Edition, February 1998.
- Graff, Vincent. (2013), Death in Paradise: Ben Miller on investigating the deadliest place on the planet, Radio Times, 8 January 2013
- Guadeloupe : la spirale de la violence, francetvinfo.fr, 29 September 2016
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- Scarnecchia, Arianna. "Yannick Borel: «I hope the Worlds will be a big challenge»". Pianeta Scherma International. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
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