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—  Overseas region of France  —


Country France
Prefecture Basse-Terre
Departments 1
 - President Victorin Lurel (PS)
 - Total 1,628 km2 (628.6 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2008)[1]
 - Total 405,500
 Density 249.1/km2 (645.1/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-4 (UTC-4)
GDP/ Nominal € 7.75 billion (2006){{{GDP_ref}}}
NUTS Region FR9

Guadeloupe (English pronunciation: /ɡwɑːdəˈluːp/, us dict: gwäd·ə·lūp′; Antillean Creole: Gwadloup) is an archipelago located in the eastern Caribbean Sea at 16°15′N 61°35′W / 16.25°N 61.583°W / 16.25; -61.583Coordinates: 16°15′N 61°35′W / 16.25°N 61.583°W / 16.25; -61.583, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres (629 sq. mi).[1] It is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe is also one of the twenty-six regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic since 2007.

As part of France, Guadeloupe is part of the European Union; hence, as for most EU countries, its currency is the euro.[2] However, Guadeloupe does not fall under the Schengen Agreement. The prefecture of Guadeloupe is Basse-Terre. Christopher Colombus named the island Santa María de Guadalupe in 1493 after the Virgin Mary, venerated in the Spanish town of Guadalupe, in Extremadura.



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."[3]

Guadeloupe in 1865

After successful settlement on the island of St Christophe (St Kitts), the French Company of 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. Due 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 (1763), France, defeated in war, agreed to abandon its territorial claims in Canada in return for British return of Guadeloupe which was captured in 1759.

In 1790, 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 the island.

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 21 April until December 1794, when Victor Hugues obliged the English general to surrender.[4] 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 French 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.

Map of the Guadeloupe archipelago

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.[5] By the Treaty of Paris of 1814 Sweden ceded 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. In 1946 the colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France, and in 1974 it became an administrative center. Its deputies sit in the French National Assembly in Paris.

Today the population of Guadeloupe is mainly of African or mixed descent and largely Roman Catholic. French and a Creole patois with an important European and Indian active population. There are also Lebanese, Syrians, Chinese and others.

On 15 July 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[6]. Their combined population was 35,930 and their combined land area was 74.2 km2 (29 sq mi) 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 census.

On 20 January 2009, an umbrella group of approximately fifty labour union and other associations known in the local Antillean Creole as the Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon (LKP) 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.


Location of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

Guadeloupe 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 relief while Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains.

Further to 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. [1]


The island was devastated by several hurricanes in modern times:

  • On 12 September, 1928 Okeechobee hurricane caused extensive damage and killed thousands of people.
  • On 22 August 1964, Guadeloupe was ravaged by Hurricane Cleo, which killed 14 people.
  • Two years later, on 27 September 1966, Hurricane Inez caused extensive damage and killed 27 people, 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 sugar cane crops.
  • 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 damage and destroying 90% of the banana crop.


Climate data for Basse-Terre—capital of Guadeloupe
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 28
Daily mean °C (°F) 24
Average low °C (°F) 20
Precipitation cm (inches) 8
Source: Weatherbase[7]


(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 Saint-Barthélemy)

Population 452,776
Age structure 0 to 14 years 23.6% male 54,725
female 52,348
15 to 64 years 67.1% male 150,934
female 153,094
65 years and older 9.2% male 17,353
female 24,322
Population growth rate   0.88%
Birth rate 15.05 births per 1,000 people
Death rate 6.09 deaths
Net migration rate -0.15 migrants
Sex ratio
at birth 1.05
under 15 years
15 to 64 years 0.99
65 years and older 0.71
Overall 0.97
Infant mortality rate 8.41 deaths per 1,000 live births
Life expectancy
at birth
males 74.91 years
females 81.37 years
Overall 78.06 years
Total fertility rate 1.9 children born per woman
Demonym Guadeloupean(s) (not Guadeloupians)
Adjectival Guadeloupe, Guadeloupean
Ethnic groups[8] Black / Mulatto 72%
from Tamil Nadu and other parts of India 14%
White 9%
Lebanese / Syrians 2%
Chinese / others 3%
Religion Roman Catholic 86%
Protestant 5%
Hindu / African 4%
Jehovah's Witnesses 2%
Language French (official) 99%, Most locals also speak Creole
Literacy[9] males 90%

Arrondissements, cantons, and communes

Islands and communes of the Guadeloupe département.

Guadeloupe is divided into arrondissements, cantons and communes:

Major Urban Areas

Rank Urban Area Pop.(06) Pop. (99) Δ Pop Island
1 Pointe-à-Pitre 132,870 132,751 +0.09 % G-T & B-T
2 Basse-Terre 37,455 36,126 +3.68 % Basse-Terre
3 Sainte-Anne 23,073 20,410 +13.0 % Grande-Terre
4 Petit-Bourg 21,153 20,528 +3.04 % Basse-Terre
5 Le Moule 21,027 20,827 +0.96 % Grande-Terre


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 National Assembly.


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 Alexis Léger. 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 time."

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. Ernest Pépin.

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[10] 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, kompa toumbélé, as well as all the modern international dances. Typical Guadeloupean music includes la biguine and gwo ka à la base. Kassav' 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 melting pot.

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 and Spanish League club FC Barcelona, often visits, as his father Antoine was originally from the island. William Gallas, whose parentage is Guadeloupean, visits the island when not playing for Arsenal or the French National team. Lilian Thuram, a 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. Pascal 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 semi-finals, where they were defeated just 1-0 by CONCACAF powerhouse Mexico. Many fine track and field athletes, such as Marie-José Perec, Patricia Girard-Léno, and Christine Arron are also Guadeloupe natives. The NBA players Mickaël Piétrus, Mickaël Gelabale, Rodrigue Beaubois were born in this island. Famed Bodybuilder Serge Nubret, Johnny Irius also hail from Guadeloupe.


Carbet Falls, one of the most popular visitor sites in Guadeloupe, with approximately 400,000 visitors annually.
Pointe des Châteaux in Guadeloupe.

In 2006 the GDP per capita of Guadeloupe at market exchange rates, not at PPP, was €17,338 (US$21,780).[11]

The economy of Guadeloupe depends on tourism, agriculture, light industry and services. But it especially depends on France for large subsidies and imports.

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.[12] An increasingly large number of cruise ships visit the islands.

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, paroka, pikinga, giraumon squash, yam, gourd, plantain, christophine, monbin, prunecafé, cocoa, jackfruit, pomegranate, 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 and rum, solar energy, and many industrial productions. Most manufactured goods and fuel are imported. Unemployment is especially high among the youth. Hurricanes periodically devastate the economy.

The country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Guadeloupe is ".gp".


Even 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 team.

There is also a rugby union in Guadeloupe, a small, but rapidly growing sport in Guadeloupe. France international & Stade Francais centre Mathieu Bastareaud (Who is also a cousin of French international & Arsenal centre-back William Gallas) was born in Guadeloupe.

Orlando Magic forward Mickael Pietrus and Dallas Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois are Guadeloupe natives. The France international Rugby Union centre Mathieu Bastareaud was born in Guadeloupe also.

Arsenal FC centre-back William Gallas is of Guadeloupean descent, as for the NBA basketball player Johan Petro, center of the Denver Nuggets. The triple Olympic champion Marie-José Pérec and the fourth fastest 100m runner Christine Arron were also born and raised in Guadeloupe.

This island is also internationally best-known for hosting the Karujet Race - Jet Ski World Championship since 2005. This amazing race reunites competitors from all around the world (mostly Caribbeans, Americans and Europeans) to get into the event during 4 days. All challengers, both amateurs and professionals, and medias who attented the Karujet are astonished by the diverse, incredible and unique waterbodies the "butterfly island" provides. The Karujet is generally made up of 7 races all around the island which have established its reputation of one of the most difficult championship to attend, one of a kind though.

See also


  1. ^ a b Figure without the territories of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy detached from Guadeloupe on 22 February 2007.
  2. ^ Guadeloupe is pictured on all Euro banknotes, on the backside at the bottom of each note, right of the Greek ΕΥΡΩ (EURO) next to the denomiation.
  3. ^
  4. ^ pg 241David Barry Gaspar (Editor), Darlene Clark Hine (Editor) (in ENGLISH). More Than Chattel: Black Women and Slavery in the Americas (April 1996 ed.). Indiana University Press. pp. 360. ISBN 0253210437. Hugues was able to use his expeditionary force of 1,500 men and an enthusiastic slave population to repel the British invasion of Guadeloupe after a seven-month struggle, which ended in December 1794.
  5. ^ World Guadeloupe
  6. ^ The French law was passed in February 2007, but the new status came in force once the local assemblies elected, with second leg of the vote on 15 July 2007. See J. P. Thiellay, Droit des outre-mers, Paris:Dalloz, 2007.
  7. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Basse-Terre". 
  8. ^ Approximate figures as ethnicity is not polled during a French census.
  9. ^ Defined as those aged 15 or over who can read and write; based on 1982 estimates.
  10. ^ Sahai, Sharad (1998).Guadeloupe Lights Up: French-lettered Indians in a remote corner of the Caribbean reclaim their Hindu identity. Hinduism Today, Digital Edition, February 1998.
  11. ^ (French) INSEE-CEROM. "Tableau de bord économique de la Guyane". Retrieved 20 January 2008. 
  12. ^ "Guadeloupe - Economie" (in FRENCH). 1998. Retrieved 10 June 2006. 

External links

General information

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

North America : Caribbean : Guadeloupe
Quick Facts
Capital Basse-Terre
Government NA
Currency Euro (EUR)
Area total: 1,780 km2
Population 452,776 (July 2006 est.)
Language French (official) 99%, Creole patois
Religion Roman Catholic 95%, Hindu and pagan African 4%, Protestant 1%
Calling Code +590
Internet TLD .gp
Time Zone UTC-4

Guadeloupe [1], sometimes known as the Butterfly Island (French: I'ile Papillon), on account of the shape of two of its major islands, is a group of islands in the eastern Caribbean, and is a French overseas department. It is located southeast of Puerto Rico.

Map of Guadeloupe
Map of Guadeloupe
  • Basse Terre: green and lush vegetation, mountainous with a sulphuric volcano.
  • Grande Terre: flat and dry with a lot of beaches, some of them very touristic.
  • Marie Galante: the biggest island out of mainland Guadeloupe.
  • Les Saintes: composed of Terre de Haut and Terre de Bas, one of the most beautiful bays.
  • La Désirade: dry and cliffy.
  • Petite Terre: uninhabited and untamed.
  • Saint Martin: the French part of Saint Martin adjacent to Sint Maarten, the Dutch part.
  • Saint Barthélemy: the jet set island.
  • Pointe-à-Pitre: with its suburbs, it is the economic capital of Guadeloupe
  • Gosier: maybe one of the most interesting places of Guadeloupe to enjoy nightlife. (You can enter most nightclubs with proper clothes, that is, no sneakers, no shorts)
  • St François if you go at the eastern point of Guadeloupe, you will reach La Pointe des Chateaux, a scenery made of sand and rocks which have vaguely the shape of a castle. From there, you can look up at the islands La Désirade, Petite Terre, Marie Galante, Les Saintes, La Dominique but also have a perfect view of the islands Grande Terre and far away Basse Terre.
  • St Anne a very nice but also very tourist beach (maybe the tourists primary area of Guadeloupe). L'Americano, bd Georges Mandel, 0590 88 38 99: bar/restaurant offers free salsa courses on Saturdays and live performances some days. You will find all kind of bars. You can try Club Med, 0590 85 49 50 fax: 0590 85 49 59 (for instance, others resort may propose this formula too) for a one day all inclusive (breakfast, buffet, bars, drinks, beach volley, windsurf, boat, gym, dance courses...) for about €46, so it may be a good deal (as it costs €7 one hour of windsurf).
  • Morne à l'eau, renowned for its amazing cemetery composed of burial places made of black and white tiles.
  • Anse Bertrand, not far from there, you can visit La pointe de la Grande Vigie, northern point of mainland Guadeloupe. You can also go to Porte d'Enfer, a beautiful still stripe of sea between a scenery of reefs. From there, walk one hour along the cliff, and you will discover a Souffleur, kind of geyser due to the pressure of the sea.
  • Abymes nothing special to see, but the weekend, there are 3 local nightclubs: L'instant, Caraibes and Latin Club. They are located at the same place.
  • Baie-Mahault: the industrial and commercial zone of Guadeloupe, nothing special to do or see. Here stands the biggest shopping mall of the island. Not too far from there, you can find a local bar/nightclub named Bik Kreyol, Beau Soleil, 0590 25 80 46 or 0590 92 06 48 (Entrance €5, Drinks €3). Local music (ragga, zouk, rnb) and local customers. The building is typical, it's a former warehouse.

Other destinations

Don't miss the spectacular waterfalls in the jungle of Basse-Terre. Some are within 5-10 minutes walking distance from the nearest parking lot, some require at least 3-4 hours of hiking (those are, of course less frequented by other tourists and you might find yourself alone at a spectacular waterfall in the middle of nowhere - an amazing experience!).

The local rum distilleries offer tours (check for opening times as they may very from season to season) which are certainly worth the while since rum production is a very integral part of Guadeloupe's economy. And sampling the local rums is definitely worth the while.

Even though they might not be the best way to get around the island, a ride on the bus is still an experience you should not miss. Cheap, full of locals, conducted by fearless drivers, you can enjoy the beautiful Caribbean panorama to the sound of Guadeloupean zouk music. Some routes are not good for passengers with weak stomachs.


Guadeloupe has been a French possession since 1635 except for the years 1813-1814 when it came into Swedish possession as a consequence of the Napoleonic Wars. The island of Saint Martin is shared with the Netherlands; its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles and its northern portion is named Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe.

Guadeloupe is an archipelago of nine inhabited islands, including Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Desirade, Iles des Saintes (2), Saint-Barthelemy, Iles de la Petite Terre, and Saint-Martin (French part of the island of Saint Martin).

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

Get in

Passport and Visa

Guadeloupe is an integral part of France so it has the same rules as France, which you can get from France's page.

By plane

American Airlines (from San Juan, PR), Delta Airlines (weekly from Atlanta), Air Caraïbes, Corsair, Air France, Air Europe, Air Canada, Cubana... To get more information, you can have a look at Guadeloupe Airport website [2].

From Guadeloupe, to travel in the surrounding places, here is an idea of the prices (roundtrip): Trinidad ~250 €, Barbade ~260 €, Puerto Rico ~300 €, Dominican Republic ~350 €, Cuba ~550 €

There is an Air Pass [3] to travel between most of the islands of the lesser Antilles delivered by the regional company LIAT Airlines [4], it costs about $500 for one month and is unlimited, but you have to pay taxes for each airport.

You can obtain information at Agence Penchard, 1 bis rue de la République 97100 Basse-Terre, Tel 0590 812 712 Fax 0590 810 711

By car

From some neighbouring islands, you can travel with your car on ferry companies (See section by boat).

By boat

From Martinique, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Marie Galante, Les Saintes: Express des Iles [5], Brudey Frères [6], Star Ferries[7].

  • Windward Islands [8] - Windward Islands, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in Guadeloupe, Martinique and St Martin. Operating from its international offices (USA, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Honk Kong, Dubai).
  • Canadian Sailing Expeditions - Tall Ship Caledonia [9] - The Tall Ship Caledonia will arrive in the region in the fall of 2007. Travellers can embark at Pointe-a-Pitre and sail on to various locations such as Deschaies.

Get around

By car. The bus system is infrequent and unreliable. Cars can be hired at the airport in Pointe-à-Pitre. The main roads are of the same quality as metropolitan France, but smaller roads are often uneven, pot-holed and frankly dangerous. Prudence is required! Drivers are often undisciplined, but rarely aggressive.

  • Windward Islands [10] - Windward Islands, one of the worlds largest yacht charter companies, can take care of all charter requirements, from bareboat to crewed in Guadeloupe, Martinique and St Martin. Operating from 8 international offices (USA, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Caribbean, Monaco).


French is the official language of Guadeloupe, although Creole is widely spoken. Everyone understands French but few people understand English.

See also: French phrasebook


Scuba diving and snorkeling. There is an amazing assortment of tropical fish, even in water less than one metre deep. For those who can't swim, glass bottomed boat trips are on offer.

  • Characteristic of the Antilles is the colourful tiled Madras fabric.
  • The local made rum is also distinctive and very cheap to buy. Certainly worth sampling (during an evening at one of the beautiful beaches or at home when showing vacation pictures to friends and family to warm everyone up to caribbean temperature)


Not to be missed, the plate Colombo (chicken, rice, curry), imported from India, has become the typical regional plate.


The local drink is white rum. Do try the "'Ti Punch" (Petit Punch/small Punch) (rum, lime, and sugar cane/brown sugar). Packs a wallop, so be prepared to melt into the island way of life.

  • PV-Holidays Sainte Anne Holiday Village, +33 1 58 21 55 84, [11]. The self-catering village is made up of exotic 2-floor houses, each of which contains several hotel apartments. It is located “on the water’s edge” and is embellished by tropical gardens. Surrounded by two beaches, sports and water areas and has many on-site shops.  edit
  • Chalets Sous-le-Vent - Réserve Cousteau, Route de Poirier, Pigeon (Basse-Terre Region, 40km from Airport), +590590989161, [12]. Véronique & Alex welcome you in their 7 fully equipped cottages located in a 2'300sqm tropical garden with a swimming pool and sea view, facing the "Réserve Cousteau" marine park in Guadeloupe. Diving spots and beach 5 min. away by car. One chalet is fully equipped for disabled persons. Swiss owners and alumni of the Lausanne Hotel Management School. Special offers for scuba-divers. Cottages 2-3p Bungalow with aircon 2-4p Twin cottages 4-6p  edit


For European people coming from an EU country, working in Guadeloupe is allowed without problem. If you're from outside the EU, you will probably need a work permit - check with the French Embassy in your country. Do not forget though that the unemployment rate is around 28%. But if you work in the heath sector (doctor, nurse), it will be much easier. Else you could find a job in bars, restaurants, and/or nightclubs. The better is to have a precise idea of what you want to do, inform yourself and prospect before going there.

Voluntary service: Volontariat Civil à l'Aide Technique (VCAT). Conditions: you must be French or from another EU-member state or a country belonging to the European Economic Area. You must be over 18 and under 28 years old (inclusive). You must not have had your civic rights revoked by a court or have been convicted of certain offences. VCAT [13], Préfecture Guadeloupe [14].

Stay safe

The main tourist areas (city center of Point-à-Pitre, Le Gosier, St. Anne, St. Felix...) are pretty safe, especially by day. When it gets dark, you should avoid walking around in Point-à-Pitre alone and stay on the main roads and plazas and be aware of smaller side streets. Always try to keep a low profile as a tourist to avoid attracting unwanted attention.

Stay healthy

There is no particular disease but you should protect yourself from the sun. Sanitary and medical facilities in Guadeloupe are good. Health care in Guadeloupe is controlled by a state-owned organisation (Sécurité Sociale). Doctors are available in almost every village. Tap water is usually safe for consumption. Public sources of water are unsafe if labeled with "Eau non potable" (no drinking water). Visitors from European Union should bring a E111 form with them. Ask details at your local health care organisation.

  • emergency services: 112 (which can be called from any mobile phone, even if not connected to a GSM network);
  • fire brigade: 18;
  • police station: 17;
  • specialised emergency medical service (called SAMU): 15.


Officially being a part of France, do not to expect the way of life to be very europeanized. In fact, life in the caribbean has a much slower pace. Busses run very infrequently, taxis are hard to find, smaller stores open or close not always on time, queuing in stores is sometimes very time consuming... Try to fall into the local pace and do not complain about minor annoyances as Guadeloupeans will see that as an offense to their way of life. And they are proud of the distinction between caribbean and metropolian (French) life style!



Country code: 590

Dialing within Guadeloupe: all numbers have 10 digits. Landlines begin by 0590 and mobile phones by 0690.

Dialing to Guadeloupe: international prefix + 590 + phone number without the first 0 (this leads to dial twice 590 which is normal). If you dial from France, just use the 10 digits number.

Dialing from Guadeloupe: the international prefix is 00.

Calling to a mobile phone is more expensive than to a landline. Number beginning by 0800 are free phone. Number beginning by 089 are premium-rate.

Few foreign mobile phone companies offer international roaming to Guadeloupe so double-check before leaving. Your company should provide specific roaming to Guadeloupe since it has deferent mobile phone companies than in mainland France.

Alternatively, you should be able to get a Pay-as-you-go SIM card from various locations. There are two companies offering wireless services: Bouygues Telecom Caraïbe [15] and Orange Caraïbe [16].


Post offices are found in all cities. Letter boxes are colored in yellow.


Less than 20g (postcard, letter with one or two pages in a regular envelop) :

  • France (including Oversea Territories DOM-TOM): 0,53€
  • area 2 (rest of the world) : 0,90 €

The basic stamp for regular mail is red with the head of "Marianne" (the Republic logo). It does not carry its value and can therefore be used even after a price increase. It is sold in all Post Offices, Bureaux de Tabacs (Tobacco sellers identified by a red lozenge) and postcard vendors. The latter may also carry other common stamps.

In most Post Offices you will find an automatic machine (yellow) with a scale and a screen. Just put your mail on the scale, tell the machine (French or English) the destination, pay the indicated amount and the machine will deliver a printed stamp.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GUADELOUPE, a French colony in the West Indies, lying between the British islands of Montserrat on the N., and Dominica on the S., between 15° 59' and 16° 20' N. and 61° 31' and 61° 50' W. It consists of two entirely distinct islands, separated by a narrow arm of the sea, Riviere Sala (Salt river), varying from zoo ft. to 400 ft. in width and navigable for small vessels. The western island, a rugged mass of ridges, peaks and lofty uplands, is called Basse-Terre, while the eastern and smaller island, the real low-land, is known as Grande-Terre. A sinuous ridge runs through Basse-Terre from N. to S. In the north-west rises the peak of Grosse Montagne (2370 ft.), from which sharp spurs radiate in all directions; near the middle of the west coast are the twin heights of Les Mamelles (2536 ft. and 2368 ft.). Farther south the highest elevation is attained in La Soufriere (4900 ft.). In 1 797 this volcano was active, and in 1843 its convulsions laid several towns in ruins; but a few thermal springs and solfataras emitting vapour are now its only signs of activity. The range terminates in the extreme south in the jagged peak of Caraibe (2300 ft.). Basse-Terre is supremely beautiful, its cloud-capped mountains being clothed with a mantle of luxuriant vegetation. On Grande-Terre the highest elevation is only 450 ft., and this island is the seat of extensive sugar plantations. It consists of a plain composed mainly of limestone and a conglomerate of sand and broken shells known as maconne de bon dieu, much used for building. The bay between the two sections of Guadeloupe on the north is called Grand Cul-de-Sac Malin, that on the south being Petit Cul-de-Sac Malin. Basse-Terre (364 sq. m.) is 28 m. long by 12 m. to 15 m. wide; Grande-Terre (255 sq. m.) is 22 m. long from N. to S., of irregular shape, with a long peninsula, Chateaux Point, stretching from the south-eastern extremity. Basse-Terre is watered by a considerable number of streams, most of which in the rainy season are liable to sudden floods (locally called galions), but Grande-Terre is practically destitute of springs, and the water-supply is derived almost entirely from ponds and cisterns.

The west half of the island consists of a foundation of old eruptive rocks upon which rest the recent accumulations of the great volcanic cones, together with mechanical deposits derived from the denudation of the older rocks. Grande-Terre on the other hand, consists chiefly of nearly horizontal limestones lying conformably upon a series of fine tuffs and ashes, the whole belonging to the early part of the Tertiary system (probably Eocene and Oligocene). Occasional deposits of marl and limestone of late Pliocene age rest unconformably upon these older beds; and near the coast there are raised coral reefs of modern date.

The mean annual temperature is 78° F., and the minimum 61° F., and the maximum 101° F. From July to November heavy rains fall, the annual average on the coast being 86 in., while in the interior it is much greater. Guadeloupe is subject to terrible storms. In 1825 a hurricane destroyed the town of Basse-Terre, and Grand Bourg in Marie Galante suffered a like fate in 1865. The soil is rich and fruitful, sugar having long been its staple product. The other crops include cereals, cocoa, cotton, manioc, yams and rubber; tobacco, vanilla, coffee and bananas are grown, but in smaller quantities. Over 30% of the total area is under cultivation, and of this more than 50% is under sugar. The centres of this industry are St Anne, Pointe-aPitre and Le Moule, where there are well-equipped usines, and there is also a large usine at Basse-Terre. The forests, confined to the island of Basse-Terre, are extensive and rich in valuable woods, but, being difficult of access, are not worked. Salt and sulphur are the only minerals extracted, and in addition to the sugar usines, there are factories for the making of rum, liqueurs, chocolate, besides fruit-canning works and tanneries. France takes most of the exports; and next to France, the United States, Great Britain and India are the countries most interested in the import trade.

The inhabitants of Guadeloupe consist of a few white officials and planters, a few East Indian immigrants from the French possessions in India, and the rest negroes and mulattoes. These mulattoes are famous for their grace and beauty of both form and feature. The women greatly outnumber the men, and there is a very large percentage of illegitimate births. Pop. (1900) 182,112.

The governor is assisted by a privy council, a director of the interior, a procurator-general and a paymaster, and there is also an elected legislative council of 30 members. The colony forms a department of France and is represented in the French parliament by a senator and two deputies. Political elections are very eagerly contested, the mulatto element always striving to gain the preponderance of power.

The seat of government, of the Apostolic administration and of the court of appeal is at Basse-Terre (7762), which is situated on the south-west coast of the island of that name. It is a picturesque, healthy town standing on an open roadstead. Pointe-à-Pitre (17,242), the largest town, lies in Grande-Terre near the mouth of the Riviere Sala. Its excellent harbour has made it the chief port and commercial capital of the colony. Le Moule (10,378) on the east coast of Grande-Terre does a considerable export trade in sugar, despite its poor harbour. Of the other towns, St Anne (9497), Morne a l'Eau (8442), Petit Canal (6748), St Francois (5265), Petit Bourg (5110) and Trois Rivieres (5016), are the most important.

Round Guadeloupe are grouped its dependencies, namely, La Desirade, 6 m. E., a narrow rugged island 10 sq. m. in area; Marie Galante 16 m. S.E. Les Saintes, a group of seven small islands, 7 m. S., one of the strategic points of the Antilles, with a magnificent and strongly fortified naval harbour; St Martin, 142 m. N.N.W.; and St Bartholomew, 130 m. N.N.W.


Guadeloupe was discovered by Columbus in 1493, and received its name in honour of the monastery of S. Maria de Guadalupe at Estremadura in Spain. In 1635 l'Olive and Duplessis took possession of it in the name of the French Company of the Islands of America, and l'Olive exterminated the Caribs with great cruelty. Four chartered companies were ruined in their attempts to colonize the island, and in 1674 it passed into the possession of the French crown and long remained a dependency of Martinique. After unsuccessful attempts in 1666, 1691 and 1703, the British captured the island in 1759, and held it for four years. Guadeloupe was finally separated from Martinique in 1775, but it remained under the governor of the French Windward Islands. In 1782 Rodney defeated the French fleet near the island, and the British again obtained possession in April 1794, but in the following summer they were driven out by Victor Hugues with the assistance of the slaves whom he had liberated for the purpose. In 1802 Bonaparte, then first consul, sent an expedition to the island in order to re-establish sla v ery, but, after a heroic defence, many of the negroes preferred suicide to submission. During the Hundred Days in 1810, the British once more occupied the island, but, in spite of its cession to Sweden by the treaty of 1813 and a French invasion in 1814, they did not withdraw till 1816. Between 1816 and 1825 the code of laws peculiar to the island was introduced. Municipal institutions were established in 1837; and slavery was finally abolished in 1848.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



  • (UK) IPA: /gwɑː(ɹ).də.luːp/, SAMPA: /gwA:(r)

Proper noun




  1. An island in the northeastern edge of the Caribbean Sea.
  2. An island group, including the island of Guadeloupe, constituting one of the overseas departments of France.


See also

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