Geography of Guadeloupe

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Guadeloupe comprises five islands: Basse-Terre Island, Grande-Terre (separated from Basse-Terre by a narrow sea channel called salt river) with the adjacent islands of La Désirade, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante. Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic relief whilst Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains. Guadeloupe was formed from multiple volcanoes, of which only Basse-Terre is not extinct.[1]

Further to the north, Saint-Barthélemy and the French part of Saint Martin come under the jurisdiction of Guadeloupe. On December 7, 2003, both of these areas voted to become an overseas territorial collectivity.[2]



The island was devastated by several hurricanes in modern times:

  • On 12 September, 1928 Okeechobee hurricane caused extensive damage and killed thousands of people.
  • On 22 August 1964, Guadeloupe was ravaged by Hurricane Cleo, which killed 14 people.
  • Two years later, on 27 September 1966, Hurricane Inez caused extensive damage and killed 27 people, mostly in Grande-Terre. Charles De Gaulle visited the island after the hurricanes and declared it a disaster area.
  • On 17 September 1989, Category 4 Hurricane Hugo caused very extensive damage, left more than 35,000 homeless, destroyed 10,000 homes, 100 percent of the banana crops, and 60 percent of the sugar cane crops.
  • From late August to mid September 1995, the island was in the path of three successive cyclones: Tropical Storm Iris on 28 August caused minor damages; Hurricane Luis on 5 September caused moderate damages in north coast of Grande-Terre; Hurricane Marilyn on 15 September caused moderate damages in Basse-Terre.


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