- Continental region – North America
- Currency symbol of Guadeloupe –Euro
- Capital City –Basse-Terre
- Official languages –French
- Population –395,700 (2016)
- Country dialling code – (+590)
- Official website – Guadeloupe
- Top 3 biggest industries – Agriculture, Cement, Construction
- Google Maps link – Guadeloupe
- Where is it? –Guadeloupe, a French overseas region, is an island group in the southern Caribbean Sea. Resembling a butterfly, its 2 largest islands are separated by the Salée River. Hilly Grande-Terre Island has long beaches and sugarcane fields.
Guadeloupe In Pictures
- How did the country get its first name? – The original name given by the Arawak people was Karukera, which means “the island of beautiful waters”.
- How did the country get its current name? – In November 1493, Spanish navigator Christopher Columbus landed in Saint-Mary, on the island he would subsequently call Guadeloupe in honour of the Santa Maria de Guadalupe monastery of Extremadura.
- When and by whom the country was first discovered? – The island is believed to have been occupied from 3000 BC by the Arawak people. They were likely displaced by the Kalinago (Carib) people around 1400AD. Navigator Christopher Columbus was the first European to see Guadeloupe, where he landed in 1493.
- Who were the first Inhabitants? – The island of Guadeloupe was first inhabited by indigenous Taino (Arawaks) and Kalinago (Carib) groups.
- When it was first recognized as a country? –Guadeloupe is an overseas region of France.
- Who was the first leader of the country? – Governor Gabriel Couturier from 1870 to 1880.
Five Significant Events
- 1493 Nov 4: Christopher Columbus discovered Guadeloupe during his second expedition.
- 1976 Jul 8: A volcano erupted on Guadeloupe and frightened the capital, Basse-Terre. A phreatic eruption of the Soufriere volcano cracked open the summit dome.
- 2003 Dec 7: Voters on the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique rejected reforms to their legislatures that opponents had criticized as a step toward independence from France. (http://www.timelinesdb.com/listevents.php?subjid=330&title=Guadeloupe)
- 2006 Nov 2: In St. Maarten 4 French nationals were convicted of beating two gay American tourists on Guadeloupe and were sentenced to between six months and six years in prison. (http://www.timelinesdb.com/listevents.php?subjid=330&title=Guadeloupe)
- 2009 Feb 18 On: the French island of Guadeloupe police detained about 50 people after coming under a barrage of stones as they tried to take down barricades. On Martinique as many as 10,000 demonstrators marched through the narrow streets of the capital to protest spiralling food prices and denounce the business elite. (http://www.timelinesdb.com/listevents.php?subjid=330&title=Guadeloupe)
Five Places to Visit in Guadeloupe
- Guadeloupe National Park, Basse-Terre: Designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Guadeloupe National Park (Parc National de la Guadeloupe) on Basse-Terre Island, often draws more than one million visitors per year. The park encompasses 300 kilometres of hiking trails; La Soufrière volcano at 1,467 meters; Col de la Matéliane at 1,298 meters; and a wide range of flora and fauna, including 100 species of orchids and 11 species of bats. Birdwatchers will enjoy the diversity here with resident species such as the black woodpecker, pearly-eyed thrasher, and Lesser Antillean pewee. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/guadeloupe-gdl.htm)
- La Soufrière Hike, Basse-Terre: The highest peak in the Lesser Antilles, La Grande Soufrière is an active volcano, which has erupted eight times since 1660. Hot springs, mud pools, and fumaroles punctuate its barren, black sides. Hikers can ascend the volcano along the Chemin des Dames trail, an approximately two-hour climb with panoramic views from the highest points of the massif, as long as the weather is clear. The triple waterfall of Chutes du Carbet flows down the eastern face of La Soufrière massif from a height of 115 meters, with lookouts over each waterfall. Hikers who follow the trail to Etang As de Pique will find one of the largest of the mountainside lakes formed in craters on the volcanic massif surrounded by lush hillsides. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/guadeloupe-gdl.htm)
- La Pointe des Châteaux, Grande-Terre: La Pointe des Châteaux is a scenic isthmus at the easternmost point of Grande Terre. The windy, wave-battered point with castle-like rock formations exudes a rugged beauty reminiscent of Brittany. A botanical path leads from the village to a vantage point among great black rocks, which gives a clear view to the islands of La Désirade, Petite-Terre, and Marie-Galante. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/guadeloupe-gdl.htm)
- Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Natural Reserve Boat Tour: Cradled between the northern shores of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Natural Reserve (Réserve Naturelle du Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin) is a great place to soak up the wild side of Guadeloupe on a boat tour. This 15,000-hectare reserve is a mosaic of mangrove forests, mudflats, coral reefs, seagrass meadows, turquoise lagoons, and tiny islets, as well as transitional zones where sustainable human activity is permitted. Together with Guadeloupe National Park on Basse-Terre, it forms the UNESCO-listed Guadeloupe Archipelago Biosphere Reserve. Among the prolific marine life living within the reserve are turtles, sea urchins, giant sponges, and an impressive diversity of fish. Birders can spot species such as kingfishers, herons, pelicans, and frigate birds. You can visit the reserve on a guided boat tour, usually called the Blue Lagoon tour, which includes exploring the mangroves and the Moustique River; snorkelling on the coral reefs; and a stop at the tiny white-sand island of Ilet Caret, ringed by luminous turquoise water. If you don’t speak French, make sure you request an English-speaking guide.(https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/guadeloupe-gdl.htm)
- Grande Anse, Basse Terre: On the northeast coast of Basse-Terre, near Deshaies, Plage de Grande Anse is a picturesque slice of palm-lined sand and clear waters. Flanked by lush headlands, the beach stretches for more than a kilometre, with soft golden sand and plenty of shady trees. It’s a wonderful beach for a stroll, and the waters are usually great for swimming, although the surf can be a little rough on windy days. It’s not the best place for young children to swim, as the sea floor drops off suddenly beyond the shoreline. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/guadeloupe-gdl.htm)