Status: Overseas Department

Prefect: Jean-Jacques Brot (2006)

Land area: 659 sq mi (1,706 sq km); total area: 687 sq mi (1,780 sq km)

Population (2006 est.): 452,776 (growth rate: 0.9%); birth rate: 15.1/1000; infant mortality rate: 8.4/1000; life expectancy: 78.1; density per sq mi: 666

Capital (2003 est.): Basse-Terre, 12,900

Largest city: Abymes, 65,700

Monetary unit: Franc

Languages: French 99% (official), Creole patois

Ethnicity/race: black or mulatto 90%, white 5%, East Indian, Lebanese, Chinese less than 5%

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

Literacy rate: 98% (1977 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2003 est.): $3.513 billion; per capita $7,900. Real growth rate: n.a. Inflation: n.a. Unemployment: 27.8% (1998). Arable land: 11%. Agriculture: bananas, sugarcane, tropical fruits and vegetables; cattle, pigs, goats. Labor force: 125,900 (1997); agriculture 15%, industry 20%, services 65% (2002). Industries: construction, cement, rum, sugar, tourism. Natural resources: cultivable land, beaches and climate that foster tourism. Exports: $140 million (f.o.b., 1997): bananas, sugar, rum. Imports: $1.766 billion (2002): foodstuffs, fuels, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods, construction materials. Major trading partners: France, Martinique, U.S., Germany, Japan, Netherlands Antilles (1999).

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 210,000 (2001); mobile cellular: 323,500 (2002). Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 17, shortwave 0 (1998). Television broadcast stations: 5 (plus several low-power repeaters) (1997). . Internet hosts: n.a. Internet users: 20,000 (2002).

Transportation: Railways: total: n.a. km; privately-owned, narrow-gauge plantation lines. Highways: total: 947 km; paved: n.a.; unpaved: n.a. (2002). Ports and harbors: Basse-Terre, Gustavia, Pointe-a-Pitre. Airports: 9 (2004 est.).

International disputes: none.

Major sources and definitions

Guadeloupe, in the West Indies about 300 mi (483 km) southeast of Puerto Rico, was explored by Columbus in 1493. It consists of the twin islands of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre and five dependencies—Marie-Galante, Les Saintes, La Désirade, St. Barthélemy, and the northern three-fifths of St. Martin. The volcano Soufrière (4,813 ft; 1,467 m), also called La Grande Soufrière, is the highest point on Guadeloupe.

French colonization began in 1635, and in 1674 Guadeloupe became part of the domain of France. In 1946, it became an overseas department of France.

See also Encyclopedia: Guadeloupe.

French Guiana (including Inini)French Overseas DepartmentsMartinique


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