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Flag of france
Flag of Guadeloupe
coat of arms
unofficial coat of arms of Guadeloupe
Basic data
Official language French
main place Basse-Terre
surface 1,633 km²
population 390,253 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 239 inhabitants / km²
Department Guadeloupe (971)
Arrondissements 2
Community associations 6th
Cantons 21st
Communities 32
prefect Philippe Gustin
President of the Regional Council Ary Chalus
President of the Departmental Council Josette Borel-Lincertin
currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC − 4
Internet TLD .fr and .gp
prefix +590
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About this picture
Relief map of Guadeloupe
Terre-de-Haut island

Guadeloupe [ gwaˈdlup ] ( Guadeloupe Creole : Gwadloup ), also called Gwada by the locals , is geographically an archipelago , politically a French overseas territory , an overseas department and a region , consisting of a group of islands in the Lesser Antilles within the islands above the wind in the Caribbean .

Guadeloupe is an (almost) fully integrated part of the French state and therefore also part of the European Union . However, Guadeloupe is not part of the EU VAT Union. Together with Martinique , Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin , it forms the French Antilles .


South of Guadeloupe is Dominica Island, Montserrat Island to the northwest and Antigua Island to the northeast , which belongs to the island state of Antigua and Barbuda . About 250 km to the west is the uninhabited Venezuelan island of Aves .

Guadeloupe consists of six inhabited and other small uninhabited islands.

The two main islands are Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre , which is about 50 m only by the narrow, wide at the narrowest point strait Rivière Salée are separated. In close proximity to these are the also inhabited islands of Marie-Galante and La Désirade , the two small, uninhabited Îles de la Petite Terre and the Îles des Saintes , which includes two inhabited and seven uninhabited islands.

Until 2007, the island of Saint-Barthélemy and the French part of the island of Saint-Martin / Sint Maarten belonged to Guadeloupe as the arrondissement of Saint-Martin-Saint-Barthélemy . These are about 200 km north of the main islands. In February 2007, the two areas of Guadeloupe were separated and each upgraded to a separate overseas local authority ( Collectivité d'outre-mer ) .

Grande-Terre is relatively flat and consists mainly of limestone, Basse-Terre is of volcanic origin with mountains inland, u. a. with the highest mountain in the Lesser Antilles, the volcano La Soufrière (1,467 m above sea level). Most of the other island is also of volcanic origin.

The land area (1628 km²) consists of 14% arable land, 4% permanent crops, 14% pastures and 39% forests , together 71%. The coastline is 306 km.

List of islands

Guadeloupe photographed from the ISS
  • Baleine du Sud
  • Basse-Terre *
  • Grand Îlet (Îlets de Carénage)
  • Grand Îlet (Îlets Pigeon)
  • Grand Îlet (Petit-Bourg)
  • Grande Terre *
  • Sharks Bébel
  • Îlet à Cabrit
  • Ilet à Christophe
  • Îlet à Cochons
  • Îlet à Colas
  • Ilet à Fajou
  • Îlet à Kahouanne
  • Îlet à Nègre
  • Îlet Blanc
  • Îlet Boissard
  • Ilet Brument
  • Îlet caret
  • Îlet Chasse
  • Îlet Crabière
  • Ilet de la Voûte
  • Îlet des Petits Pompons
  • Ilet du Vieux Fort
  • Îlet du Gosier
  • Ilet Duberran
  • Ilet Feuille
  • Îlet Fortune
  • Ilet Frégate de Haut
  • Ilet le Boyer
  • Ilet Macou
  • Ilet Mangue à Laurette
  • Ilet Maurice
  • Îlet council
  • Ilet Saint-Hilaire
  • Îlet Tome
  • Ilet Yanka
  • La Biche
  • La Coche
  • La Désirade *
  • La Redonde
  • La Roche
  • Le pâté
  • Le Piton
  • L'Éperon
  • Le prompter
  • L'Îlet
  • Marie-Galante *
  • Petit Îlet (Îlets de Carénage)
  • Petit Îlet (Îlets Pigeon)
  • Terre-de-Bas * ( Îles des Saintes )
  • Terre de Bas (La Désirade)
  • Terre-de-Haut * (Îles des Saintes)
  • Terre de Haut (La Désirade)
  • Tête à l'Anglais

Inhabited islands are marked with an asterisk (*). The list is not complete.


The climate is characterized by tropical temperatures, high humidity and rain. There is a risk of tropical storms during the Atlantic hurricane season .

Pointe-à-Pitre Airport (Aéroport Pôle Caraïbes)
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: Météo-France
Climate values ​​for Pointe-à-Pitre Airport (Aéroport Pôle Caraïbes)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 29.1 29.1 29.4 30.1 30.7 31.3 31.5 31.6 31.5 31.2 30.5 29.6 O 30.5
Min. Temperature (° C) 19.9 19.9 20.4 21.7 23.1 23.8 23.8 23.7 23.3 22.9 22.1 20.9 O 22.1
Precipitation ( mm ) 84.0 64.0 73.0 123.0 148.0 118.0 150.0 198.0 236.0 228.0 220.0 137.0 Σ 1,779
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: Météo-France


On January 1, 2017, Guadeloupe had 390,253 inhabitants.

Religions and population structure

The majority of the residents belong to the Catholic Church . There are minorities of Hindus , religions of African origin and Protestants .

Around 90% of Guadeloupians are of African or mixed descent. About 5% of the population are white. Indians, Lebanese or Chinese together make up less than 5%.

Several groups must be distinguished within the whites. The descendants of the colonial upper class are called Grands-Blancs . There are also some groups of impoverished white settlers (Petits-Blancs): the Blancs-Matignons in the Grands Fund on Grande-Terre, the Saintois on the Les Saintes archipelago and the Désiradiens on the island of La Désirade.

Demographic structure

Chart showing the age distribution of the Guadeloupian population

The average age is 35.6 years (2008).

Distribution according to age groups :

00-19 years: 30.3%

20–39 years: 23.6%

40–59 years: 27.9%

60–74 years: 11.9%

> 75 00years: 06.3%

The proportion of women is 52%, the proportion of foreigners was 5.8% in 2007, and that of immigrants was 8.3%.

The average population growth is 0.85% per year, the birth rate 14.25 births per 1000 inhabitants and the death rate 6.89 deaths per 1000 inhabitants. All figures are based on information from the official statistics institute INSEE (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques) from the end of December 2009.

The child mortality rate is 9.77 stillbirths for every 1,000 live births. The life expectancy is 77.0 years on average for women and 80.3 years for men 73.8 years. The fertility rate is 1.93 children born per woman. The figures are estimates for 2002.

Population development

year population
1950 210.003
1960 275.161
1970 319,334
1980 330.177
1990 385,878
2000 424,646
2010 430.718
2017 409,568

Source: UN


The illiteracy rate is 0.2%.


Arawak and Caribs

The oldest archaeological evidence of human life dates from 3500 to 3000 BC. From 500 BC. The Saladoids colonized the Antilles. They were followed by the Arawak from 600 AD and finally by the Caribs from the 9th century . These ethnic groups came from South America and had similar ways of life. From the loot they by hunting and fishing imposed, they prepared a very sharp pepper pot and served him with flatbread from cassava flour . They also ate papayas , guavas , pineapples and avocados and the men smoked cigars . Among their household appliances clay pots, containers from plant material and hammocks made of cotton .

The women wore loincloths, the men went naked. To protect against insects, as jewelry and as war paint, they rubbed a red vegetable dye called roucou that was mixed with oil. On their campaigns, the Caribs killed the Arawak men and took their women as slaves. The Caribs were reported to have consumed their male captives. However, it turned out that many rumors about cannibalism are scientifically untenable and either turned out to be misunderstood funeral rites or had their origin in excessive reporting.

Colonization and the slave economy

Columbus was the first European to reach the island on the outward journey of his second voyage on November 4, 1493. He named it Guadalupe after the Spanish pilgrimage site Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe , as he had promised the monks there that he would name an island. The Caribs initially defended themselves successfully against the Spaniards.

It was not until 1635 that the French succeeded in colonizing Guadeloupe. In 1664 the island was transferred to the French West India Company . After its dissolution in 1674, the French crown took over the administration of the colony. The French colonial rulers established a plantation economy . They mainly grew sugar cane and coffee . The clashes with the Caribs ended with their deportation to the neighboring island of Dominica . The new masters had people brought from Africa as workers, who were deported to the New World in the context of the transatlantic slave trade with slave ships. Statistically speaking, a slave on a plantation survived seven years and women often became sterile. The slaves of African descent eventually made up the majority of the colony's population.

During the Seven Years' War , British forces invaded Guadeloupe in February 1759 and took possession of the island from April 23, 1759 to February 10, 1763.

In the course of the French Revolution of 1789, slavery in the French colonies and thus also in Guadeloupe was abolished in February 1794. Great Britain took advantage of the new political situation and occupied the islands in April 1794. It was supported by the plantation owners who wanted to prevent the implementation of the declared abolition of slavery. The British occupation, however , was soon driven out by French troops led by the National Commissioner for Guadeloupe, Victor Hugues . This also relied on the support of the freed slaves. Hugues ruled the islands as commissioner from 1794 to 1798.

Napoléon reintroduced slavery on May 20, 1802. Two black troop leaders, Delgres and Ignace, confronted Napoleon's troops with their soldiers and gave their lives in the struggle for freedom. Survivors were hanged, including a woman named Solitude, who was heavily pregnant when she was captured. The baby was waited for before she was executed.

In the Napoleonic Wars , Great Britain re-conquered Guadeloupe on February 4, 1810 and passed it to King Charles XIII on March 3, 1813 . from Sweden and his descendants as compensation for the loss of property of Crown Prince Charles XIV. , which he had suffered as an ally against Napoleon. In the Peace of Paris in 1814, Sweden returned the island to France against payment of 24 million francs . The money was used to repay the national debt in 1815, and the king received an annual cash pension in return. This so-called Guadeloupe pension was included in the Swedish national budget until 1983 and then replaced by an increase in the budget for the royal household. At that time it was 300,000 crowns .

On February 8, 1843, Guadeloupe was struck by a major earthquake , in which it came to the almost complete destruction of Pointe-à-Pitre and about 6000 people died.

The restored order of slavery became increasingly unstable. More and more slaves took refuge in the woods and there were frequent riots. In the meantime, human rights activists such as Victor Schœlcher also appeared. After the Revolution of 1848, slavery was finally abolished in all French possessions by the Décret d'abolition de l'esclavage of April 27, 1848.

Many former slaves were no longer willing to work on the plantations. In order to be able to maintain the plantation operations, freelance contract workers were therefore recruited mainly in India and brought to Guadeloupe. The plantation owner paid for the crossing, but the contract workers had to work on his plantation for between three and five years. Then they were free and could return or stay in Guadeloupe. A total of 42,000 Indians came to Guadeloupe in this way between 1854 and 1889.

Integration into the French state

At the end of the 19th century France gave the black population the right to vote . 1470 of these new French citizens lost their lives for France during World War I. Guadeloupe was also affected by World War II . After France surrendered, young volunteers fled the island at risk of death and joined the Allies and General de Gaulle .

On March 19, 1946, Guadeloupe became the overseas department (Département d'Outre Mer / DOM) of France. It has not been a colony since then; it is seen as an integral part of the motherland in all areas and its inhabitants are regarded as French by the state. Little consideration is given to the social and cultural differences to the mother country; rather, full assimilation is sought.

In response to this policy, national movements emerged in the 1980s seeking to break away from France. These emphasize the independence of the Antillanian culture and use Creole instead of French in radio broadcasts, for example. Above all, however, the advocates of independence strive to develop the people's responsibility for their country. However, the majority of the population rejects independence from France.


The islands form a department with the department number 971 and with the introduction of the regions as local authorities in France by the decentralization laws in 1982, Guadeloupe, like the other overseas departments, also received the status of a separate region of France.

Like all other departments, Guadeloupe is represented in the French legislature by representatives of the people and municipalities. It has four seats in the National Assembly and two seats in the Senate . Like the other four French overseas departments, Guadeloupe is also part of the European Union.

All French laws apply in Guadeloupe. However, according to Article 73 of the French Constitution, local peculiarities must be taken into account.

As in the other overseas departments and regions, the Région and the Département are separate territorial authorities that exercise their respective competencies independently of one another. There are parallel to each other the Regional Council ( Conseil régional ) with 41 members and the Départementrat ( Conseil départemental ) with 42 members. The central government is represented for its areas of responsibility by the prefect.

The president of the regional council is Ary Chalys , the president of the department council is Josette Borel-Lincertin .

General strike 2009

The general strike in the French West Indies in 2009 began in Guadeloupe on January 20th and extended to the neighboring island of Martinique on February 5th.

The background to this general strike, initiated by the “collective against exploitation” (Liyannaj Kont Pwoftasyion, LKP) under its leader Elie Domota, was mainly demands for an increase in minimum wages by 200 euros and for a reduction in prices for certain foodstuffs and public transport. After the strike had paralyzed most of the local economy in a short period of time, but otherwise failed to make progress in negotiations, violent clashes and street fights broke out in several places on the island in mid-February 2009, during which the union secretary Jacques Bino was killed and because of them the conflict now also attracted attention outside of Guadeloupe - especially in French and other European media. Forced to intervene in this way, the French government finally managed to reach an agreement (the so-called "Accord Bino"), which was concluded on March 4, 2009, both through financial concessions from the state and through pressure on the local employers' associations the general strike was officially ended after nearly seven weeks.

coat of arms

Description: In the black shield, a faceless golden sun lies on a green plant frond lying to the left under a blue shield head with three golden lilies .

Administrative division

Guadeloupe is divided into two arrondissements , 21 cantons and 32 municipalities :

Arrondissement Cantons Communities Residents
January 1, 2017
Density of
population / km²
Basse-Terre 10 18th 000000000187574.0000000000187,574 858.59 000000000000218.0000000000218 9711
Pointe-à-Pitre 11 14th 000000000202679.0000000000202.679 774.11 000000000000262.0000000000262 9712
Department of Guadeloupe 21st 32 000000000390253.0000000000390.253 1,632.70 000000000000239.0000000000239 971

The communities have organized themselves into six community associations.


Guadeloupe has an international airport, the Pôle Caraïbes near Pointe-à-Pitre ( IATA airport code: PTP) on the island of Grande-Terre.


Economic framework

As a fully integrated part of France, Guadeloupe is also part of the internal market of the European Union and, like in the heart of France, uses the euro as legal tender.

To meet the demand for consumer goods, Guadeloupe is dependent on imports from metropolitan France and to finance public expenditure on subsidies from the French state. Due to this support, the GDP per capita is US $ 9,000 and thus higher than on the majority of the independent neighboring islands.

The total workforce is around 130,000 and the unemployment rate is 27.8%. This is particularly high among young Guadeloupians. In comparison with the GDP of the European Union expressed in purchasing power standards , Guadeloupe achieved an index of 68.4 in 2006 (EU-27 = 100).

economic sectors

The main branches of the economy are agriculture , tourism , light industry and services .

Tourism is a key branch of the economy. Most holidaymakers come from France, and an increasing number of cruise ships visit the islands.

The main agricultural products of Guadeloupe are sugar cane (used to make cane sugar and rum ) and bananas . The islands' other agricultural products include tropical fruits and vegetables, cattle , pigs and goats . Sugar cane, the island's traditional main crop, is slowly being replaced by other products, most notably bananas, eggplants and flowers . Other vegetables and root crops are grown for local consumption. Nevertheless, Guadeloupe is dependent on imported food, mainly from France.

The light industry is characterized by sugar and rum production. There is also construction and cement production . Most of the factory-made goods and fuels are imported.

Agricultural products are the main export goods of Guadeloupe. Bananas make up about 50% of the annual export yield, sugar and rum are also exported. 60% of the exported goods go to European France, 18% to Martinique , and 4% to the USA.

The main imports are food , fuel , cars and other consumer goods, raw materials for the construction industry. 63% of the imported goods come from France, 4% from Germany , 3% from the USA, 2% from Japan and 2% from the (former) Netherlands Antilles .


Lilian Thuram

The most common sport is football. The French record international player Lilian Thuram comes from Guadeloupe. The Guadeloupe Football Association Ligue Guadeloupéenne de Football is not a FIFA member, but the Guadeloupe football team regularly take part in CONCACAF competitions. The greatest success was reaching the semi-finals at the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2007 . There the team was eliminated 0-1 against Mexico .


  • Marian Goslinga: Guadeloupe (= World bibliographical series. Volume 224). Clio Press, Oxford 2000, ISBN 1-85109-329-X .

Web links

Wiktionary: Guadeloupe  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Guadeloupe  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Guadeloupe  - Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. French Statistics Institute ( )
  2. Résultats des élections régionales 2015. In: Retrieved November 3, 2016 (French).
  4. All figures are based on information from the official statistics institute INSEE ( Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques )
  5. World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 28, 2017 .
  6. ^ Prehistory of the Caribbean Culture Area , Southeast Archaeological Center, National Park Service , accessed December 25, 2014.
  7. Norbert Ankenbauer: That I wanted to experience more newer dyng. The language of the new in the Paesi novamente retrovati (Vicenza 1507) and in their German translation (Nuremberg 1508). Frank & Timme, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86596-310-9 , p. 149.
  8. The World at War: Guadeloupe 1493–1946 , accessed on April 22, 2009
  9. Municipales 2008 Guadeloupe
  10. The Guadeloupe earthquake . In: Illustrirte Zeitung . No. 2 . J. J. Weber, Leipzig July 8, 1843, p. 3-6 ( Wikisource ). .
  11. Eurostat press release 23/2009: Regional GDP per inhabitant in the EU27 ( Memento of March 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 360 kB).

Coordinates: 16 ° 15 ′  N , 61 ° 35 ′  W