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Guadeloupe (a French overseas region)

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Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the eastern Caribbean Sea with a land area of 1,628 square km (628.6 sq mi). 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. The capital of Guadeloupe is Basse-Terre.

Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic relief while Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains. Further to the north, Saint-Barthélemy and the French part of Saint Martin once came under the jurisdiction of Guadeloupe but on December 7th, 2003, both of these areas voted to become an overseas territorial collectivity, a decision which took effect on February 22nd, 2007.

Guadeloupe is an overseas department of France as well as a region. France has 22 regions plus 4 overseas ones (which are also departments). Hence, Guadeloupe is one of the 26 regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic. As part of France, Guadeloupe is part of the European Union (EU); hence, its currency is the Euro. However, Guadeloupe is not part of the Schengen Agreement.

The economy of Guadeloupe depends heavily on tourism, agriculture, light industry and services. But it especially depends on France for large subsidies and imports.

Tourism is a key industry, with 83.3% of tourists visiting from metropolitan France, 10.8% coming from the rest of Europe, 3.4% coming from the United States, 1.5% coming from Canada, 0.4% coming from South America and 0.6% coming from the rest of the world. An increasingly large number of cruise ships visit the islands.

The traditional sugarcane crop is slowly being replaced by other crops, such as bananas (which now supply about 50% of export earnings), eggplant, guinnep, noni, sapotilla, paroka, pikinga, giraumon squash, yam, gourd, plantain, christophine, monbin, prunecafé, cocoa, jackfruit, pomegranate, and many varieties of flowers. Other vegetables and root crops are cultivated for local consumption, although Guadeloupe is still dependent on imported food, mainly from France.

Light industry features sugar and rum, solar energy, and many industrial productions. Most manufactured goods and fuel are imported. Unemployment is especially high among the youth. Hurricanes periodically devastate the economy.

The volcano “la Soufrière” in Basse-Terre (1467 m) is a constant threat.

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