OFFICIAL NAME: Department of Guadeloupe
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Overseas Department of France
AREA: 1,780 Sq Km (687 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 450,800
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Guadeloupe is a group of islands
located in the central Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean
Sea. The territory consists of seven islands, while the
two main islands of Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre are separated
by a narrow saltwater stream, called Riviere Salee. Basse-Terre,
the western island, is of volcanic origin, mountainous and
also has an active volcano called Grande Soufriere. The
eastern island of Grande-Terre is lower and flatter than
Basse-Terre and is of coral-limestone formation. Major Cities
(pop. est.); Les Abymes 62,600, St. Martin 28,500, Pointe-a-Pitre
26,000, Le Grosier 20,700, Basse-Terre 14,000 (1990). Land
Use; forested 39%, pastures 13%, agricultural-cultivated
18%, other 30% (1993).
CLIMATE: Guadeloupe has a tropical climate with relative humidity
from 77% in March and April to 85% in October. There is a wet season from
July to November while November to April is generally the coolest and driest
period. Average annual temperature ranges in Pointe-a-Pitre are from 23
degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 30 degrees Celsius
(87 degrees Fahrenheit) in August.
PEOPLE: Around 77% of the population are Creoles or Mulattoes,
who are of mixed White and Black African descent while 2% of the population
are White, 10% are Black Africans and 10% are French-East Asian Mestizos.
The remainder are Chinese and Lebanese.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 222 persons per sq km
(575 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 48.4% urban, 51.6% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 48.7% male, 51.3% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
70.0 years male, 77.0 years female (1989). Age Breakdown; 27% under 15,
30% 15 to 29, 18% 30 to 44, 13% 45 to 59, 8% 60 to 74, 4% 75 and over (1990).
Birth Rate; 19.4 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 6.0 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 13.4 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 9.2 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 92% of the population Roman
LANGUAGES: The official language is French, although a Creole
Patois is widely spoken.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
10.7%, primary 54.6%, secondary 29.5%, higher 5.2% (1982). Literacy; literate
population aged 15 or over 225,400 or 90.1% (1982).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1991: In 1946 France granted Guadeloupe
departmental status. In 1974 the islands became a region of France and
in 1982 were granted greater autonomy due to France's decentralization
legislation. A trend for greater autonomy continued until the General Council
elections in 1988 and in February the Communist Party of Guadeloupe announced
that it would be pursuing independence for Guadeloupe rather than greater
autonomy. In July 1985 after the detention of a member of one of the small
pro independence parties, a general strike and rioting broke out. In 1991
riot police from Guadeloupe were sent to the French island of La Desirade
after the Mayor was killed in an ambush in October.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the French Franc (F) divided
into 100 Centimes.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $1,160,000,000 (1990). Public
Debt; USD $58,000,000 (1990). Imports; F 8,539,962,000 (1994). Exports;
F 847,130,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $370,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; F -7,693,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 181,000
or 44.0% of total population (1992). Unemployed; 26.1% (1993).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are France,
Italy and Martinique.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Aubergines, Bananas, Pineapples, Sugar Cane,
Sweet Potatoes, Tropical Fruits and Vegetables.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Construction, Light Industry,
Sugar Refining, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Bananas, Rum, Sugar.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 2,093 km (1,301 mi)
(1988). Vehicles; cars 95,962 (1985), trucks and buses 28,134 (1985). Merchant
Marine; vessels 13 (1990), deadweight tonnage N/A. Air Transport; N/A.
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 1 with a circulation
of 25,000 (1993). Radio; receivers 100,000 (1993). Television; receivers
150,000 (1993). Telephones; units 148,700 (1993).
MILITARY: 535 (1994) total active French duty personnel.