At the heart of the West Indies
At the heart of the archipelago of the West Indies, Guadeloupe is located at the junction of two chains of islands from which it is composed: La Grande Terre, flat and with limestone in the east, and La Basse Terre, volcanic and mountainous in the west.
La Basse Terre, is the mountainous, wooded and volcanic part of Guadeloupe, abounding with many rivers and waterfalls. The highest summit is the active volcano of La Soufrière, at 1467 meters. It also has numerous beaches of black sand and red sand.
La Grande Terre, is much flatter than La Basse Terre, bordered by a mangrove in the south west, hills and by an arid jagged plateau with rocky and wild shores to the north.
In the south, from Gosier to Saint-François, the coast is called the Riviera, and aligns seaside health resorts and beautiful beaches of white sand.
During his second voyage on the 4 November 1493 Christopher Columbus landed on the island called by the Carib natives, “Karukera” (“the island of beautiful waters”). He would call this island “Guadelupe” after the name of the royal monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Spain.
The island became a French possession on the 28 June 1635 and would be devoted to the production of tropical commodities through the plantation system. Conditions of life and of work were difficult; the settlers began the slave trade in order to essentially grow sugar cane, coffee and cocoa. In 1642, slavery began when Louis XIII authorised the deportation of African slaves to the West Indies.
On the 27 May 1848 slavery was abolished on Guadeloupe.
On the 19 March 1946, thanks to Aimé Césaire, Guadeloupe became an Overseas French Department.