Guadeloupe History

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Guadeloupe was discovered in 1493 but it wasn't until 1635 when the island was settled by the French. Most of the indigenous Carib Indians fled the island or were killed in skirmishes with the French.

Guadeloupe remained a French colony until 1946 when it became an Overseas Department of the French Republic. The islands of St. Martin and St. Barthelemy are also included with Guadeloupe.


1493 - Christopher Columbus landed on Guadeloupe, while seeking fresh water
1674 - Guadeloupe was annexed to the kingdom of France
1759 - The British captured Guadeloupe
1763 - The British government decided that Canada was strategically more important and kept Canada while returning Guadeloupe to France in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years War
1810 - The British seized the island and continued to occupy it until 1816. 1813 - Britain ceded Guadeloupe to Sweden for a brief period of 15 months. During this time, the British administration remained in place and British governors continued to govern the island
1815 - The Treaty of Vienna definitively acknowledged French control of Guadeloupe
1843 - An earthquake caused the La Soufrière volcano to erupt and killed over 5000 people
1865-1866 - Guadeloupe lost 12,000 of its 150,000 residents in a cholera epidemic
1946 - The colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France
1974 - Guadeloupe became an administrative center and its deputies sit in the French National Assembly in Paris
2007 - The island communes of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy were officially detached from Guadeloupe and became two separate French overseas collectivities with their own local administration
2009 - French Caribbean general strikes exposed deep ethnic, racial, and class tensions and disparities within Guadeloupe