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Presentation of Guadeloupe

Flag of Guadeloupe
Coat of arms of Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe's location on the world map

Guadeloupe (/ɡwɑːdəˈlp/; French pronunciation: ​[ɡwadəlup]; Guadeloupean Creole: Gwadloup, pronounced: [ɡwadlup]) is a Caribbean island located among the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles arc, a natural volcanic boundary between the northeastern Caribbean Sea and the western Atlantic Ocean. A result of its colonial history, Guadeloupe is currently under French sovereignty and bears the status of overseas region of France. As such, the island is an integral part of the French Republic, the European Union and the Eurozone. No need to say that the official language is French, even though Guadeloupean Creole remains the mother tongue of most people.


With a land area of 1,628 square kilometers (629 sq. mi) and a population of over 400,000, Guadeloupe is actually an archipelago comprising two main islands: Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre (French for "Big-Land" and "Low-Land". – Ironically, Basse-Terre is bigger than Grande-Terre ; and Grande-Terre is lower than Basse-Terre), separated only by a narrow sea-channel called Rivière Salée (Salty River) ; and the smaller adjacent islands of Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and the Îles des Saintes group (literally: "Islands of the Saints").

Also called Karukéra (The island of beautiful waters) by its first inhabitants the Arawak people ; or more recently referred to as le Papillon d'émeraude (the Emerald Butterfly), because of the shape of its two main islands ; Guadeloupe got its actual name in 1493 from Christopher Columbus, who named the island after the Virgin Mary venerated in the Spanish town of Guadalupe, in Extremadura.

With an economy mostly based on tourism and agriculture, Guadeloupe has gained from an history rich of cultural instreamings from the rest of the world, matching its today population, counting of descendants from Africa, Europe and Asia.

Selected panorama

A small city across a gray waterway under lowering gray clouds. A road leads to the city across a causeway. Mountains with snow and a low treeline form the backdrop. A few boats are in the water.
Panorama of Pointe de la Grande Vigie (near the village of Anse-Bertrand), the northern most point of the island of Grande-Terre, in Guadeloupe-2007.

Selected article

Hurricane Hugo at peak intensity, approaching the lesser Antilles.
Hurricane Hugo — At 1 am AST on September 17, 1989, Hurricane Hugo made a direct landfall on Grande-Terre in Guadeloupe, pounding the island with incredibly ferocious Category 4 sustained winds of 140 mph (220 km/h). A storm surge of up to eight ft (2.5 m) topped by high battering waves smashed ashore. Hugo wreaked massive devastation on the island, especially in Desirade and Grande-Terre. The hurricane damaged 30% of the buildings on the island and completely destroyed 10,000 homes (most of which are archaic houses), leaving a total of at least 90,000 or nearly 30% of the island's 340,000 people seriously affected, with 35,000 rendered homeless. 70% of the businesses sustained damages, including hotels, schools and churches. Five people died and 107 were injured. An additional seven people were killed three days after the storm, when a medical helicopter crashed while evacuating victims from Desirade. The storm almost completely destroyed (80%) the towns of le Moule and St. François, on the island's eastern end. Debris blocked at least 30% of the island's roads. Agriculture suffered massive losses that took years to recover from, as Hugo flattened 100% of the banana crop, 50% of the sugar cane crop and destroyed nearly all of the island's coconut palms. In addition, most of Guadeloupe's fishing fleet was wiped out. Total damage to the island from Hugo amounted to 4 billions francs or $880 million (1989 USD).

Selected picture

Sugar cane field, photographed in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe (2006)
Credit: bobyfume
Sugar cane field, photographed in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe (2006).

In the news

Selected biography

Laura Flessel-Colovic, after an assault at the European Fencing Championships, on july 6th, 2007.
Laura Flessel-Colovic (born November 6, 1971 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe) is a French épée fencer. She is currently number one on the all-time list of French female Winter or Summer Olympic medal winners with five medals, one more than Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli and two more than the following on joint third place: Micheline Ostermeyer, Marielle Goitschel, Pascale Trinquet-Hachin, Perrine Pelen, Anne Briand-Bouthiaux, Félicia Ballanger, Laure Manaudou and fellow Guadeloupean athlete Marie-José Pérec.

Laura Flessel begins fencing in Guadeloupe at the age of 6 and soon shows real talent for this sport. She progresses rapidly becoming champion fencer of Guadeloupe and building her fencing experience competing in Caribbean, Pan-American and Central-american tournaments. In 1990, she wins the Pan-American championship in foil and épée, before flying to Paris to join the Racing club de France and train at the INSEP, the French National Institute for Sports, Expertise and Performance. Soon, Laura Flessel earns international success as a full member of France National fencing team : for the 1995 World Fencing Championships held in The Hague (Netherlands), she wins consequently bronze medal in individual épée, and silver medal in team épée. And a year later, in Atlanta for her first participation to the Olympic Games, she wins gold both in individual and team épée. London 2012 Games welcomed her fifth coming to the Olympics, featuring Laura Flessel as France's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony's Parade of Nations.

Did you know...

...that Hurricane Hugo was the strongest storm to impact Guadeloupe since Hurricane Cleo in 1964, and the worst storm since Hurricane Inez in 1966? In addition, it was the longest-lived North Atlantic tropical cyclone of all times, along with the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane.
Other "Did you know" facts...

Selected quote

José Mourinho at Chelsea - 2007 (©Mark Freeman)
"As you know Gallas had an unbelievable holiday. I hope he enjoyed it very much in Guadeloupe, which I think is a fantastic place to be on holiday, so he wanted to stay there for a long time."

(On William Gallas missing the first team's trip to the United States because he was on holiday.)

José Mourinho, Chelsea Football Club manager (2004-2007)


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