Flag of Guadeloupe

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Guadeloupe has been a French possession since 1635. 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


Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico

Geographic coordinates:

16 15 N, 61 35 W


total: 1,780 sq km
note: 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)
water: 74 sq km
land: 1,706 sq km


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

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Soufriere 1,484 m

Natural resources:

cultivable land, beaches and climate that foster tourism

Land use:

arable land: 11.24%
permanent crops: 3.55%
other: 85.21% (2001)

Natural hazards:

hurricanes (June to October); Soufriere de Guadeloupe is an active volcano

Geography - note:

a narrow channel, the Riviere Salee, divides Guadeloupe proper into two islands: the larger, western Basse-Terre and the smaller, eastern Grande-Terre


444,515 (July 2004 est.)

Ethnic groups:

black or mulatto 90%, white 5%, East Indian, Lebanese, Chinese less than 5%


Roman Catholic 95%, Hindu and pagan African 4%, Protestant 1%


French (official) 99%, Creole patois


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90%
male: 90%
female: 90% (1982 est.)

Dependency status:

overseas department of France


none (overseas department of France)

National holiday:

Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)


28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system:

French legal system

Economy - overview:

The Caribbean economy depends on agriculture, tourism, light industry, and services. It also depends on France for large subsidies and imports. Tourism is a key industry, with most tourists from the US; an increasingly large number of cruise ships visit the islands. The traditional sugarcane crop is slowly being replaced by other crops, such as bananas (which now supply about 50% of export earnings), eggplant, and 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 production. Most manufactured goods and fuel are imported. Unemployment is especially high among the young. Hurricanes periodically devastate the economy.

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 15%
industry: 17%
services: 68% (1997 est.)

Agriculture - products:

bananas, sugarcane, tropical fruits and vegetables; cattle, pigs, goats


construction, cement, rum, sugar, tourism

Exports - commodities:

bananas, sugar, rum

Exports - partners:

France 60%, Martinique 18%, US 4% (1999)

Imports - commodities:

foodstuffs, fuels, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods, construction materials

Imports - partners:

France 63%, Germany 4%, US 3%, Japan 2%, Netherlands Antilles 2% (1999)

Telephones - main lines in use:

210,000 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

323,500 (2002)


total: 2,467 km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km (1998)

Ports and harbors:

Basse-Terre, Gustavia (on Saint Barthelemy), Marigot, Pointe-a-Pitre

Merchant marine:

total: 1 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,240 GRT/109 DWT
registered in other countries: 1 (2003 est.)
foreign-owned: France 1
by type: passenger 1


9 (2003 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 8
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 5 (2003 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of France