The island of Guadeloupe in the Caribbean is a French overseas department and is geographically shaped like a butterfly. Together with Martinique it forms the French Antilles.
The island consists of two parts separated by a salt water river, the Rivière Salée.
The northeastern “wing” Grande-Terre with its karstified limestone and Basse-Terre in the southwest.
Basse-Terre is very mountainous, the large nature reserve Parc Naturel and the almost 1,500 m high volcano Soufrière are located here and the coasts are long with golden or black sand beaches.
The department has 15 other small islands, the most distant is 260 km away. All of these islands form an archipelago that is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean.
The island’s economy is dependent on the mother country France, even food that the country could produce itself is imported from France, such as apples from Provence or butter from Normandy.
|Name of the country||Department of Guadeloupe (France)|
|Form of government||French overseas department|
|Geographical location||around 62 ° west longitudearound 16 ° north latitude|
|Population||around 400,000 (Credit: Countryaah: Guadeloupe Facts)|
|Ethnicities||90% black and mixed race5% whiteness
3% Indian (mainly Tamils)
|Religions||95% of the population are Roman Catholic4.5% Protestant (mainly Adventists)
0.5% Islamic and Hindu
|Capital||Basse de Terre|
|Surface||1,628 km2of which Basse-Terre with 848 km2 and Grande-Terre with 590 km2|
|Highest mountain||La Soufrière with an altitude of 1,467 m|
|International license plate||F.|
|Time difference to CET||– 5h|
|International phone code||00590-590|
|Mains voltage, frequency||230 volts, 50 hertz|
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)||.gp|
Until around the year 1000
According to Abbreviationfinder website, 4,000 – 6,000 years ago, the Indians who were settled in South America (mainly from today’s Venezuela) managed to colonize some Caribbean islands.
Bone finds and grave goods from the Ciboney, which began around 2000 BC. BC populated almost all the islands of the Antilles, show a close relationship with the finds that have been made in Venezuela. The Ciboney were followed between the first and eleventh centuries by the Arawaks, who also visited the entire Antilles area, they brought agriculture (especially cassava) with them. The Arawken were peace-loving and consisted of several tribes, such as the Taino or the Igneri.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
The Arawaks followed the Caribs, they came from the north coast of South America (Surinam, Guayana) and landed in the Lesser Antilles around the 14th century, where they attacked the Arawaks, enslaved their husbands and married their wives.
The Arawaks had nothing to oppose the Caribs with their weapons, which were highly developed for that time, so they had to allow themselves to be pushed to the north.
In Columbus’ time only Trinidad and the Virgin Islands were still inhabited by the Arawaks.
Columbus himself discovered the Antilles in 1492, since he suspected to have landed in India, he called the islands the West Indies. Martinique was only discovered on Columbus’ 4th voyage from 1502-1504. The French were able to gain a foothold in the Caribbean in quick succession in the 17th century, and landed on Martinique in 1635.
The exploitation of the islands by the Europeans began immediately after their discovery.
Since the islands could not boast rich natural resources, the Caribs were enslaved and shipped to Spain, most of them died within 5 years due to the climate change and the strenuous work, then the slave shipping was stopped, but slavery was maintained on the islands.
After most of the indigenous people on the island had also been massacred, the first black slaves were transported to the Antilles from 1524 to work on the plantations of the immigrant Europeans. After the tobacco market collapsed, the colonists switched to sugar cane and later rum as an export item.
The working and living conditions of the black slaves were so cruel that even French colonial officials Louis XV. (1710-1774) asked for a code of law to remedy the worst grievances. This “code noir” gave the situation of those affected a legitimate name, but did not really improve the situation of the disenfranchised.
In the 18th and 19th centuries
The chronicle of the slave revolts goes back to the 16th century, but reached its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries. Century when the idea of the French Revolution crossed the Atlantic. Because of these incidents, but also because of the harsh criticism in the colonial states, slavery was banned in the first quarter of the 19th century. In France, in 1794, the French Convention for the Abolition of Slavery was approved. However, it was reinstated by Napoleon in 1802 at the request of his Empress Josephine, who came from Martinique. With the proclamation of May 22, 1848, at the instigation of the French politician Victor Schoelcher (1804-1893), slavery was finally abolished in the French colonies by the “Décret d’abolition de l’esclavage du 27 avril 1848”. The abolition of slavery did not, of course, immediately bring about a significant improvement in the situation, as many slaves continued to be dependent on their white masters. Even so, the abolition of slavery created a shortage of cheap labor, so cheap labor was “imported” from China, India and the Middle East. These people, whose conditions in the Antilles differed only slightly from those of blacks, had made a significant contribution to the ethnic diversity of the Antilles. After the French Revolution and with the uprising in Haiti, the French great power ended in the Antilles. Even so, the abolition of slavery created a shortage of cheap labor, so cheap labor was “imported” from China, India and the Middle East. These people, whose conditions in the Antilles differed only slightly from those of blacks, had made a significant contribution to the ethnic diversity of the Antilles. After the French Revolution and with the uprising in Haiti, the French great power ended in the Antilles. Even so, the abolition of slavery created a shortage of cheap labor, so cheap labor was “imported” from China, India and the Middle East. These people, whose conditions in the Antilles differed only slightly from those of blacks, had made a significant contribution to the ethnic diversity of the Antilles. After the French Revolution and with the uprising in Haiti, the French great power ended in the Antilles.
In modern times
When the Panama Canal was opened in 1914, the Lesser Antilles came back into the hands of international shipping companies. In addition, the islands became interesting as a tropical vacation paradise for Europeans and Americans in need of relaxation. In the period between the two world wars, a small group of colored lawyers, intellectuals and artists developed who ensured that their fellow citizens developed a new self and class consciousness towards the white minority.
During the Second World War, Martinique and Guadeloupe became trouble spots, as after the defeat of France, the administrator at the time, Admiral Georges Robert, tended towards the pro-German Vichy government. The Americans and British then feared a German base on both islands.
In order to get around this, a blockade was introduced, which of course mainly suffered from the black population. An impending famine was only averted as Admiral Roberts resigned from office and the Gaullists took over leadership in the French Antilles.
In contrast to the other Caribbean colonies, the residents of Martinique and Guadeloupe felt like French despite the high proportion of black populations. In 1946 the two islands were given the status of an overseas department. The citizens thus enjoy all French civil rights and send their own deputies and senators to Paris.
In contrast to Martinique, the administration does not only include one island: the Guadeloupe department includes an entire archipelago, which in addition to the main island also includes the satellites Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, St. Barthélemy and St. Martin.