|General background: 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.
10 times the size of Washington, DC
Subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately
is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande-Terre
is low limestone formation; most of the seven other
islands are volcanic in origin.
Population: 435,739 (July 2002 est.)
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%
Language: French (official) 99%, Creole patois
Government type: NA
Legal system: French legal system
Economic overview: The 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.
Communication/Telephone system: Facilities inadequate.
Places of interest: