The History and Culture of Guadeloupe (Independence, Religion, Resources, and Education)

Guadeloupe of today is a rich blend of culture, from European influences and Afro-Caribbean culture of the majority that lives there. However, the island has always had an incredibly mixed long history, full of discovery, invasions, and occupations.
The History and Culture of Guadeloupe
Table of Contents

From the first Arawaks who have inhabited the island, invaded and eventually decimated by the Kalinago, who have met their own demise in the hands of the French. But, the French never had a placid history of the ruling, thanks to the persistence of the British. However, the French spirit never waned and took the land for the crown, which eventually made Guadeloupe what it is today.

Who Were the First Inhabitants of Guadeloupe?

The first inhabitants of Guadeloupe on record were the native Arawaks or the Taino people, and the Caribs or the Kalinago, who called the island “Karukera” meaning “Island of Beautiful Waters”. If you look at the histories, most of the native or indigenous inhabitants that first lived across the Caribbean are the Arawak and Carib peoples until the colonial powers of the old world came and change the course of history.

The island was later discovered by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in 1493. Eventually, the French got to the island and battled the indigenous people for over a century, which was later defeated and the French finally settled on the island in 1635. By this time, other French-occupied islands were also put under French control, like Martinique.

After the French settlement, Guadeloupe was later annexed by France in 1674 and was controlled by Martinique. Several centuries later, the Transatlantic Slave began and many of the colonial powers who have taken over much of the region participated and used slaves as a means to develop the lands by forced labor.

Many of today’s Guadaloupeans are made ug Afro-Caribbeans that have descended from the many emancipated slaves from the post-colonial years. Along with several ethnicities and races that come from years of immigration, Guadeloupe has a diverse population with a significant population of Afro-Caribbeans.

When Was Guadeloupe Founded?

Visited by Christopher Columbus in 1493, Guadeloupe was mostly ruled by the invading Caribs who have displaced most of the Arawak people, the island’s original inhabitants. The Carib people have managed to stave off the Spanish thrice, in 1515, 1520, and 1523. But was later met with their own demise after the arrival of the French in 1635 which defeated the Caribs in 1640 allowing the settlement to prosper.

Guadeloupe was headed by Pierre Belain who established a trading company, along with two other Frenchmen Leonard de L’Olive and Jean Duplessis d’Ossonville who established the colony. In 1644, the colonies flourished with the slave trade, bringing in workers for the sugar, coffee, and other plantations established on the island.

Several years after, the island of Guadaloupe was passed to the authority of the French crown from the hands of companies that sought to colonize the islands. Guadeloupe then became a dependency of Martinique until 1775.

When Did Guadeloupe Become a Country?

Guadeloupe started off as a French settlement, then a colony, initially ruled by French settlers who have gained power by establishing trading companies until it was passed to the French crown and later was annexed into Martinique as a dependency and was ruled from there.

The islands of Guadaloupe never really become a country at any point in its history, from being a dependency, Guadeloupe broke away from Martinique and officially became an overseas department in 1946. And, such status remains today. This means that the citizens of Guadaloupe are French by citizenship and legality, under the headship of the French government.

When Did Guadeloupe Become French?

Guadeloupe initially became French when it was annexed by the French crown in 1674, which became a dependency of Martinique until 1775. After the second world war, in 1946, Guadaloupe officially became an overseas department of France, and a region at the same time. This granted the citizens full French citizenship, movement within the European Union, and the use of the Euro.

What Is the Year of Independence for Guadeloupe?

Guadeloupe never had true independence from French rule since its conception by the first Frenchmen who have settled and established a colony and plantations on the islands. From being a dependency, Guadeloupe broke away from Martinique after asking for independence and officially became an overseas department in 1946. And, such status remains today. This means that the citizens of Guadaloupe are French by citizenship and legality, under the headship of the French government.

How Did Guadeloupe Become Independent?

Guadeloupe formally seceded from Martinique after pushing for independence and officially became an overseas department in 1946. And, such status remains today. This means that the citizens of Guadaloupe are French by citizenship and legality, under the headship of the French government.

When Did Guadeloupe Abolish Slavery?

Slavery was initially abolished by Victor Hugues who retook the islands from the British and French royalists in 1794. However, under Napoleon I’s rule, he reestablished slavery in the colonies in 1802, which eventually led to a slave revolt that ended up in an explosion by antislavery forces who blew themselves up rather than surrender.

Slavery was finally abolished in 1848, not just in Guadaloupe and other French colonies but also in the entire French empire.

What Type of People Live in Guadeloupe?

Guadeloupe is a rich mix of people from different ethnic and racial backgrounds that have descended from the emancipated slaves and other settlers since the island’s colonial years. After the establishment of the French Republic in the 1800s, there have been many ethnic groups who have immigrated to Guadaloupe as well, resulting in a rich blend of cultures and people groups currently inhabiting the island.

The island’s demographic is predominantly Mulatto, or Creole, a particular mix of Afro-Caribbean and White European that have resulted from years of ethnic mixing, and interracial partnerships. Afro-Caribbeans also dominated the demographic landscape, only second to the Creoles, then the Guadeloupe mestizos, a mix between White Europeans and East Asians, followed by White Europeans, and other Asian ethnicities South Asian, like the Indians.

What Are Guadeloupe People Called?

People from Guadeloupe are called Guadeloupeans. This same term is also used when referring to something of Guadeloupe, like products, food, and other cultural denotations.

What Do Guadeloupe People Do?

The islands still have a heavily agricultural sector that rakes in plenty of the island’s income, which means a lot of the locals are in farming and export like bananas, sugarcane which is considered the island group’s main agricultural export product. Coffee, vanilla, cacao, vegetables, coconuts, and fruits are also grown in Guadeloupe and exported mainly to mainland Europe. This means that a lot of Guadeloupeans are on agriculture as it is one of the island’s main income sources.

Apart from agriculture, a significant portion of the population is employed in the service sector, especially public administration, education, health, and social services – altogether make up the largest source of Guadeloupe’s income and contribution to the GDP. Despite being a heavily agricultural island group, a lot of the locals spend their day in the office as well.

Apart from activities that help boost the economy, Guadeloupeans are still a culturally inclined and nature-loving bunch, spending their time out on their naturally gifted island, getting together, and practicing cultural traditions like the celebration of the Carnival.

How Do Guadeloupe People Dress?

There is no defined dress code for the people in Guadeloupe, however, they do dress according to the weather. Having a tropical climate, Guadeloupeans usually wear casual clothes that keep them cool under the heat of the sun, without having showing too much skin. Guadeloupeans also wear traditional dresses during cultural events to celebrate their roots, and identity that is interestingly mixed together by the Afro-Caribbean culture, Indian and other ethnic and racial groups inhabiting the island.

Do not think too much about what to wear in Guadeloupe, as a casual island-chic look is a go-to look for everyone, tourists and locals alike.

What Is the Culture of Guadeloupe?

With an interesting blend of cultures, Guadeloupe, just like the rest of the European colonized Caribbean is a melting pot. You can expect to see intricate mixes of concepts in different aspects of the island’s culture. From France, Africa, India, and other creole influences from neighboring islands, Guadeloupe is a culture buff’s haven.

Expect to see French-colonial architecture inhabited by mixed people of color, with traditions that take their root from the islands’ creole and mixed population’s origins, from Africa, and other Caribbean islands. Dominated by the Roman Catholic Church just like mainland France, with an Evangelical Protestant minority.

As for the cuisine, an aspect that helps define cultures around the world, Guadeloupe’s is as mixed and interesting as its people. From Creole-style seafood, Indian-influenced dishes, and French staples, Guadeloupe’s gastronomy is not to be missed.

The general attitude of Guadeloupeans is casual and relaxed, and that reflects how they dress as well. Make sure to hit the locals up with your beginner French and they’ll be extra friendly.

What Is the Religion of Guadeloupe?

The island is predominantly Roman Catholic, amounting to somewhere between 80% to 95% of the population adhering to the faith. While other religious denominations remain the island’s minority like Hinduism, Jewish, Islam, Buddhism, and other Christian denominations like the Evangelical Protestant which is the islands’ predominant minority.

What Animals Live in Guadeloupe?

One of the Caribbean’s common traits is the richness of its fauna, Guadeloupe is no different. The islands’ fauna is known to be rich, with a hefty number of endemic species that inhabit the island despite years of extensive hunting over the colonial years.

Imported from the United States in the 19th century, raccoons are fairly common on the island, as well as 13 species of bats, mongoose from India, most likely imported by the Indian migrants, and the endangered agouti. Manatees can also be found in the Grand Cul de Sac Marin natural reservation in 2015, reintroduced after being considered virtually extinct for 100 years.

Birds are also populous on the island, both inhabiting the land and the sea. The “land birds” include the Guadeloupe pecker often called “tapeur”, which is the only sedentary pecker of the Petites Antilles. Hummingbirds can also be spotted along with several species of thrush, pheasant, doves, flycatchers, and warblers. Common sea birds include the le frigate, as well as the brown pelican, and several tern species.

As for insects, mosquitoes are extremely common in Guadeloupe; and the rest of the island’s insect population is exceptionally diverse. Certain insect species like the Sawyer Beetle, Mourning Butterfly, and the stick insect or the Devil’s Horse, can reach nightmarish sizes and length.

One thing that’s characteristic of Guadeloupe’s fauna is its relative absence of snakes despite its neighbors having endemic species. However, the islands have an abundance of iguanas, anoles, and five different species of marine turtles.

Lobsters, spider crabs, land and sea crabs, slipper lobsters can be found in abundance at sea. Large populations of soft water shrimps (ouassous) and soft water crabs in rivers, ponds, and lakes are noticeable as well.

What Is Guadeloupe National Animal?

As a department of France, Guadeloupe has the Gallic Rooster as its national animal. The Gallic Rooster has long been France’s unofficial symbol, and national animal even before the French Revolution and the establishment of the French Republic.

The people of Guadeloupe, with their combined French and Roman Catholic backgrounds, revere the symbolism of the Gallic Rooster as a kind and noble domesticated animal.

What Is the Most Popular Sport in Guadeloupe?

When asking around about Guadeloupe’s most popular sport, people might respond between two major sports, biking and windsurfing. Arguably, two of the most popular sports in Guadeloupe even have their respective international events.

The 10-day Tour de la Guadeloupe is an annual international race held every August. And, many of the world’s windsurfing events are often held on the island, like the Winter Guadeloupe 2020.

Who Are Some Famous People From Guadeloupe?

Guadeloupe has its fair share of well-accomplished and decorated people from different fields of the modern world, but Guadeloupe can be considered a home of champions. Most of Guadeloupe’s most famous have excelled in sports and athletics. Names like Yannick Borel, Wilhelm Belocian, Nathalie Dechy, Yohann Gene, and Jean-Marc Mormeck, have bagged multiple awards and wins in fencing, hurdling, tennis, cycling, and boxing, respectively.

Other notable people in sport are football players who have played for France and other various teams across the world, not just for Guadeloupe, like Ulick Lupede, Loic Nestor, Fritz Emeran, and Patrick Grandel.

How Does Guadeloupe Generate Income?

Despite being in the Caribbean, well-known for being tourist hotspots, the islands still have a heavily agricultural sector that rakes in plenty of the island’s income, which means a lot of the locals are in farming and export like bananas, sugarcane which is considered the island group’s main agricultural export product.

Livestock like bovines (cows, etc.), poultry, goats, pigs makes up cattle farming’s main sources. Coffee, vanilla, cacao, vegetables, coconuts, and fruits are also grown and exported mainly to mainland Europe.

Apart from agriculture, a significant portion of the population is employed in the service sector, especially public administration, education, health, and social services – altogether make up the largest source of Guadeloupe’s income and contribution to the GDP.

Big to small businesses form a significant part of Guadeloupe’s economic development. They also contribute to the population’s enrichment. The business sector has given most of the inhabitants jobs that provide them a stable livelihood while enjoying what their home has to offer.

What Are the Natural Resources of Guadeloupe?

The island’s natural resources are sourced from both the agricultural and aquaculture sector. Because of the island’s natural abundance, the land is teeming with produce like sugar cane and banana, which is Guadeloupe’s leading export product in terms of volume. Other than exports and farming produce, cattle farming is also a large sector contributing to the population’s meat consumption.

Being a group of islands, fishing and aquaculture have also provided many of the island’s natural resources. Fish has a strong demand and is consumed by the population. With its promise and potential, the Guadeloupe Regional Council supports the agricultural and maritime sectors, since they are fundamental, traditional sectors for the territory.

What Are the Main Exports of Guadeloupe?

Guadeloupe’s main exports are sugar cane and bananas. The production of sugar cane also created rum making, which has become one of the island group’s growing export products.

What Is Education Like in Guadeloupe?

The education system in Guadeloupe is the same as in France because it is a department of it, and is thus subject to France’s systems.  Education is compulsory for 10 years from the ages of 6 to 16. Students may enter the preprimary school or the école maternelle (preprimary school) at two years old, and then the primary school or the école primaire at age six. The secondary level begins at age 11 and lasts for 7 years; it is divided into a premier cycle (first cycle) completed in the collège and lasting four years, and a second cycle completed in the lycée and lasting three years. Students can take up a licence or bachelor’s degree after that.

The primary tertiary education provider in Guadeloupe is the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane depicted here. It has schools of economics, law, natural sciences, social sciences, and medicine. Guadeloupe follows the French education model and is taught in French, even though the majority of the population widely speaks Antillean or Guadeloupean Creole.

What Is the Literacy Rate in Guadeloupe?

Guadeloupe proudly reports that it has a 90% literacy rate, thanks to the French educational model it follows, providing quality education for all Guadeloupeans.

Hotels.com is a leading provider of hotel accommodation worldwide. As a Hotels.com Rewards Member you have access secrets travel deals and every 11th night for free. See all the greatest offers for hotels in Guadeloupe.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest