Guadeloupe – island paradise of the Antilles
Guadeloupe is the largest island in the Lesser Antilles. The cultural and economic center is Point-a-Pitre. Tourists can find many architecturally attractive structures in the city. The main attraction in the south of the island is a large Hindu temple. With a little luck you can also see ancient sacrificial ceremonies here.
The main tourist attraction of the island is undoubtedly the national park created in 1989. With 17,300 hectares it is the largest in the Antilles and serves to protect one of the most beautiful rainforests in the Caribbean. The park surrounds the only active volcano in Guadeloupe, the Soufriere. Visitors can discover the rainforest on 300 kilometers of marked hiking trails. Over 100 sugar mills and a rum distillery can also be visited on Guadeloupe.
According to COLLEGESANDUNIVERSITIESINUSA.COM, the climate in Guadeloupe is tropical. There are over 300 species of trees on the island. The rainforests determine the nature of the country. Whether flame tree, coconut palm or giant bamboo in Guadeloupe, the tourist will find many interesting plants.
A diverse population lives on Guadaloupe, with influences from many different continents and countries. The local population is called Gwada. Today the population is 90 percent Guadeloupian, mostly black and mulatto. Only 5 percent of the population are white. Indians, Lebanese and Chinese make up around 5 percent of the total population. Since Guadaloupe is part of France, the island also belongs to the European Union. Various groups are distinguished among
the white population. There are the direct descendants of the former colonial upper class, these are called Grands-Blancs. Furthermore there is the Petits-Blancs, descendants of impoverished white settlers. The Blancs-Matignons live on Grande-Terre, while the Saintois live on Les-Saintes.
Basic information for traveling to Guadeloupe
Area: 1,629 km² (excluding the islands of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, which were separated from the overseas department in 2007).
Basse-Terre 848 km², Grande-Terre 589 km², Marie-Galante 158 km², La Désirade 21.1 km², Iles des Saintes 12.8 km² and the uninhabited islands of Iles de la Petite Terre 0.48 km²
Population: 404,394 residents (2010). About 90% of the population are black or mulatto. Whites make up 5%, while Indians, Lebanese and Chinese together make up less than 5%.
Population density: 248 residents per km²
Highest point: Soufrière, 1,467 m
Lowest point: Caribbean, 0 m
Administrative seat: Basse-Terre (11,300 residents, 2006), major commercial center: Pointe-à-Pitre on Grande-Terre, 17,800 residents, 2006).
Form of government: Guadeloupe is a French overseas department (Départements d’outre-mer) that has 4 members in the French National Assembly and 2 senators in the Senate. The Conseil général with 42 members handles internal affairs of Guadeloupe.
Head of Government: President of the Conceil Général since March 23, 2001 Jacques Gillot and President of the Regional Council since August 3, 2012 Josette Borel-Lincertin.
Head of State: French Head of State François Hollande, since May 15, 2012. The Prefect Marcelle Pierrot has represented France since February 14, 2013.
Language: The official language in Guadeloupe is French, English and Creole are also spoken.
Religion: Mostly Roman Catholic (95%), with a small Protestant minority (1%).
Local time: CET – 5 h. There is no changeover between summer and winter time in Guadeloupe.
The time difference to Central Europe is -5 hours in winter and -6 hours in summer.
International phone code: +590
Mains voltage: 220 V, 50 Hz. An adapter is usually not necessary.
Guadeloupe: geography and map
The total of 1,630 km² Guadeloupe is the southernmost of the Caribbean Leeward Islands (islands in the wind) and consists of eight inhabited and some small, uninhabited islands. Montserrat is in the northwest of Guadeloupe, Antigua in the northeast and Dominica in the south. The South American coast is about 600 kilometers south.
Christopher Columbus named the island Santa Maria de Guadelupe in 1493, after the Virgin Mary venerated in the Spanish city of Guadelupe. The French version of Guadeloupe has been used since the island was colonized by the French Compagnie des Îles de l’Amérique in 1635.
The Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre, separated only by the narrow inlet of the Salt River, are the two main islands of Guadeloupe. Only a few kilometers away are the islands of La Désirade and Marie-Galante, the two small uninhabited Îles de la Petite Terre and the small archipelago of Îles des Saintes (nine islands).
Guadeloupe is a French overseas department and overseas region of France and thus part of the European Union. Until 2007, the island of Saint-Barthélemy, 200 km to the north, and the French part of the island of Saint-Martin belonged politically to the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. In February 2007 they were upgraded to two separate local authorities (collectivité d’outre-mer).
While the mountainous island of Basse-Terre (like most of the islands of Guadeloupe) has a volcanic origin, the rather flat Grande-Terre consists for the most part of limestone. The highest point is reached at 1,467 m in the 17,300 hectare national park on the active volcano Soufrière (last eruption in 1976). This peak is also the highest mountain in the Lesser Antilles and one of the highest Caribbean mountains.
A large part of the island’s area is covered by tropical forest (39%), arable and pasture areas each make up 14%, permanent crops around 4%.