Facts about Guadeloupe

World Facts Index

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.

Geography of Guadeloupe

Location:
Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Puerto Rico
Coordinates:
16 15 N, 61 35 W
Area:
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
Area comparative:
10 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 10.2 km
border countries: Netherlands Antilles (Sint Maarten) 10.2 km
Coastline:
306 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate:
subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity
Terrain:
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
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

Population of Guadeloupe

Population:
452,776 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.6% (male 54,725/female 52,348)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 150,934/female 153,094)
65 years and over: 9.2% (male 17,353/female 24,322)
Median age:
32.2 years
Growth rate:
0.88%
Infant mortality:
8.41 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.06 years
male: 74.91 years
female: 81.37 years
Fertility rate:
1.9 children born/woman
Nationality:
noun: Guadeloupian(s)
adjective: Guadeloupe
Ethnic groups:
black or mulatto 90%, white 5%, East Indian, Lebanese, Chinese less than 5%
Religions:
Roman Catholic 95%, Hindu and pagan African 4%, Protestant 1%
Languages:
French (official) 99%, Creole patois
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90%

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Department of Guadeloupe
local long form: Departement de la Guadeloupe
Dependency status:
overseas department of France
Capital:
Basse-Terre
National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Constitution:
28 September 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:
French legal system
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France
Legislative branch:
unicameral General Council or Conseil General (42 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the unicameral Regional Council or Conseil Regional (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel with jurisdiction over Guadeloupe, French Guiana, and Martinique

Economy

This 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:
$3.513 billion (2003 est.)
GDP per capita:
purchasing power parity - $8,000 (1997 est.)
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 15%
industry: 17%
services: 68% (1997 est.)
Labor force:
125,900 (1997)
Unemployment:
27.8% (1998)
Budget:
revenues: $225 million
expenditures: $390 million, including capital expenditures of $105 million (1996)
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Industries:
construction, cement, rum, sugar, tourism
Agriculture:
bananas, sugarcane, tropical fruits and vegetables; cattle, pigs, goats
Exports:
bananas, sugar, rum
Export partners:
France 60%, Martinique 18%, US 4% (2004)
Imports:
foodstuffs, fuels, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods, construction materials
Import partners:
France 63%, Germany 4%, US 3%, Japan 2%, Netherlands Antilles 2% (2004)
Currency:
euro (EUR); French franc (FRF)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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