Status: Overseas Department

Prefect: Paul Girot de Langlade (2004)

Area: 687 sq mi (1,780 sq km)

Population (2004 est.): 444,515 (growth rate: 1.0%); birth rate: 15.8/1000; infant mortality rate: 8.8/1000; life expectancy: 77.7; density per sq mi: 647

Capital (2003 est.): Basse-Terre

Largest city: Abymes

Monetary unit: Franc

Languages: French 99% (official), Creole patois

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

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

Literacy rate: 98% (1977 est.)

Natural resources: cultivable land, beaches and climate that foster tourism. Exports: $140 million (f.o.b., 1997): bananas, sugar, rum. Imports: $1.7 billion (c.i.f., 1997): foodstuffs, fuels, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods, construction materials. Major trading partners: France, Martinique, U.S., Germany, Japan, Netherlands Antilles.


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.

National Anthem

Arise children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived
Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts
To arms citizens
Form you battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows
What do they want this horde of slaves
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?
For whom these vile chains
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What methods must be taken?
It is we they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!
We shall enter into the pit
When our elders will no longer be there
There we shall find their ashes
And the mark of their virtues
We are much less jealous of surviving them
Than of sharing their coffins
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or joining them