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Background: Guadeloupe has been a French possession since 1635. The island of Saint-Martin is divided with the Netherlands (whose southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles).
Dependency status: overseas department of France
Capital: Basse-Terre
Currency: 1 French franc (F) = 100 centimes

Geography of Guadeloupe

Location: Caribbean, islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates: 16 15 N, 61 35 W
total: 1,780 sq. km
land: 1,706 sq. km
water: 74 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
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 1,467 m
Natural resources: cultivable land, beaches and climate that foster tourism
Land use:
arable land: 14%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 14%
forests and woodland: 39%
other: 29% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 30 sq. km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (June to October); Soufriere 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.

People of Guadeloupe

Population: 448,713 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  24.99% 
15-64 years:  66.22%
65 years and over:  8.79%
Population growth rate: 1.07% 
Birth rate: 16.91 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 6.02 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 9.53 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  77.16 years
male:  74.01 years
female:  80.48 
Total fertility rate: 1.93 children born/woman 
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
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90%
male: 90%
female: 90% (1982 est.)

Guadeloupe Economy

Economy – 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.

GDP: purchasing power parity – $3.7 billion (1997 est.)
GDP – per capita: purchasing power parity – $9,000 (1997 est.)
GDP – composition by sector:
agriculture:  15%
industry:  17%
services:  68% (1997 est.)
Labor force: 125,900 (1997)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture 15%, industry 17%, services 68% (1997)
Unemployment rate: 27.8% (1998)
revenues: $225 million
expenditures: $390 million, including capital expenditures of $105 million (1996)
Industries: construction, cement, rum, sugar, tourism
Electricity – production: 1.3 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity – production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)
Agriculture – products: bananas, sugarcane, tropical fruits and vegetables; cattle, pigs, goats
Exports: $140 million (f.o.b., 1997)
Exports – commodities: bananas, sugar, rum
Exports – partners: France 60%, Martinique 18%, US 4% (1997)
Imports: $1.7 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
Imports – commodities: foodstuffs, fuels, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods, construction materials
Imports – partners: France 63%, Germany 4%, US 3%, Japan 2%, Netherlands Antilles 2% (1997)
Economic aid – recipient: substantial annual French subsidies
Currency: French franc (FRF); euro (EUR)

Map of Guadeloupe