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Sunday 22nd October
Guadeloupe Facts
Guadeloupe belongs to a group of islands known as the Leeward Islands which are part of the Lesser Antilles island chain.

Other Leeward Islands include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, the British Virgin Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Guadeloupe consists of the islands of Basse-Terre, La Desirade, Grande-Terre, Iles de la Petite Terre, Iles des Saintes, Marie-Galante, Saint-Barthelemy, and Saint-Martin (the island of Saint Martin is shared with the Netherlands).

Soufriere, on the island of Basse-Terre, is the highest point (1,484 m) in Guadeloupe.

Soufriere de Guadeloupe is an active volcano. The last eruption lasted for eight months between 1996 and 1997.

Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre are the largest islands in the Department of Guadeloupe.

Early inhabitants of the islands were Arawak and Carib people from South America.

The Amerindian inhabitants called Guadeloupe "Karukera" which means "Island of Beautiful Waters".

Christopher Columbus, in the service of Spain, visited the islands in 1493.

Columbus named Guadeloupe "Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extremadura" after the statue of the Virgin Mary in a Spanish monastery.

Guadeloupe was colonized by the French in the seventeenth century.

Guadeloupe became a dependency of Martinique. In 1775 Guadeloupe and Martinique became separate colonies.

Apart from short periods of British rule, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries - and a brief period of Swedish rule - Guadeloupe has remained a French possession.

Colonists brought slaves from Africa to work on sugar and tobacco plantations.

Victor Schoelcher, the French abolitionist, contributed to the end of slavery in the French colonies in 1848.

On 12 September 1928 Guadeloupe was devastated by a hurricane. It is estimated that over a thousand people died, three and a half thousand were injured, and one hundred and fifty thousand were made homeless.

During the 1980s there was a campaign for secession from France.

Guadeloupe became an Overseas Department of France in 1946. The further status of Region was granted in the 1980s.

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