Guadeloupe is a Caribbean island, located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It is the southernmost of the Leward Islands and comprises two islands namely, Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre Island. Located to the southeast of Puerto Rico, it covers a total area of 1,705 sq. km. It stretches a coastline of 3,427 km, it lies between the 16° 15’ N latitude and 61° 35’ W longitude. The natural resources include gold deposits, petroleum, kaolin, niobium, tantalum and clay.
The islands of Guadeloupe comprise the country’s boundaries and affect its land and climatic conditions. The island Basse-Terre is originally volcanic in its interior. On the other hand, Grande-Terre, though volcanic, helps in the formation of limestone. On an average, the island of Guadeloupe is vulnerable to devastating cyclones every eight years on an average. The climate is subtropical, which is tempered by the trade winds, having high moderate humidity. The rainfall is from June to September.
Being a tropical country, comparatively, Guadeloupe has a limited variety of flora and fauna. The land has no poisonous or dangerous animal. The ‘Lamentin’, which is a sweetwater sea lion, had disappeared completely from its rivers. Birds include Colibris, sugarbirds having yellow bellies, cow herons, blackbirds, black woodpecker, ducks and seagulls. A peculiar speciality of Guadeloupe is the ‘Ti-racoon’, which is a mascot. However, Guadeloupe is blessed with impressive flora due to the fertile soil, the climate and the proximity of the sea. It includes the woods of Mangroves at the coast, coconut trees and the Manchioneel tree. The land is enriched with fruits such as pineapples, bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, royal palm trees, etc. Beautiful flowers are Bougainvillea, Alamanda, Hibiscus, Torch Ginger, Birds of Paradise, etc.
Being a French counterpart, Guadeloupe’s food habits are influenced by the Amerindian, African, East Indian and French. One such example is the Creole cooking that uses hot peppers and spices which is influenced by the French cooking. Manioc flour, root crops, breadfruit, avocado, green bananas, peas and beans, okra, curried meats, salted codfish, etc form the traditional diet. Ceremonial occasions have cuisines like pork, blood sausage, pigeon peas, rum punches and cakes and chaudeau.
The island is socially differentiated based on education, professional orientation, culture and wealth. One can see male domination in the workforce but women are generally the heads of the households. There are many nuclear families in the island. Hospitality is what the Guadeloupeans are known for. They emphasize on food, drink, music and dancing. Their style of greeting each other is by kissing or by shaking hands.
The dominant and organised religion in Guadeloupe is the Catholic Church. However, despite the African cosmology, myths and theological systems that did not survive, many people still believe in the forces of the good and the evil, spirits and supernatural creatures with powers.
As Guadeloupe is a French possession, it depends on it for the subsidies and imports. The economy of Guadeloupe heavily depends on Tourism, agriculture, light industry and services. Tourism in the island depends on the visitors from the United States, Canada, South America and other parts of the world. As bananas contributed to more than 50% of the export earnings, it is replaced by the traditional crop – sugarcane. Sugar and rum, solar energy, and many industrial productions feature the light industry. The imports include mostly manufactured goods and fuel.