Guadeloupe has come a long way from its earliest beginnings. From an island much sought after by European powers to one with a colorful personality all its own, this island has undergone an evolution. Guadeloupe's evolution has been economic as well as social.
Guadeloupe is located in the Eastern Caribbean Sea, near Puerto Rico. It is comprised of five islands, which total 687 square miles of total area. The islands were volcanically formed, of which only Basse-Terre is not extinct.
Island history is closely tied to the same forces that shaped Europe, particularly France. When major political upsets occurred in France, they also occurred in Guadeloupe. This new world tie to the old world, however, helped to set the island's leadership position in the region, making it particularly desirable to the British. Further, it led to Guadeloupe's creation as an overseas Department of France. Today, Guadeloupe sends three senators to the French Senate and four deputies to the French National Assembly, but does not run a government of their own separate from the French system.
...a unique melting pot.
French and African cultures came together on this island and combined to create a unique melting pot. Guadeloupe is home to a culture that even names its traditional headdresses and popular jewelry styles with highly descriptive names. Clothing isn't the only popular cultural expression on the island. Music and dance forms are highly original as well, as well as island cuisine.
Economically, the island developed under many of the same conditions of other Caribbean islands. Early agricultural production led to a present mix of both tourism and agriculture, with bananas being Guadeloupe's top trade - even in recent decades.
The island of Guadeloupe has taken the lead in the French Caribbean and has been closely linked to Europe throughout its history. The link is maintained today, and many choose to visit this unique piece of France in the New World.
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