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Guadeloupe, Carribean, May 2016

+ The place


+ My feelings and historical part

The Guadeloupe is very disturbing. You have two large islands connected by two bridges: Basse Terre and Grande Terre. These two islands are completely different. On one side, Grande-Terre, a vast urbanized area but rather flat. And on the other, Basse Terre, less urbanized, with a large dense forest comparable to the jungle and especially the volcano La Soufrière. The crossing of this jungle is disconcerting. I crossed it very early, around 6:30 in the morning. Alone on the road, I could appreciate the freshness of this area and especially enjoy without a sound of the Crayfish Waterfall.
My pleasure is to take the small roads, off the beaten track and away from the city noise, enjoy the sound of animals when you turn off the engine of the car. By these side roads, to see all these multicolored houses is a feast for the eyes. It is also to appreciate the rest of the cows and admire the flight of the birds. Before going diving, I went for a walk on the Saint-Anne market to stock up on fresh fruit, a pure treat.Of course, I absolutely had to go on a kayak trip in the mangroves, the nursery where a lot of fish grow up.
I recommend going to Guadeloupe but do not just beaches of fine sand. You have to take time to enjoy the people and the beauty of the island. I am lucky to have a Guadeloupian friend, Kiko, whom I thank, as well as his grandmother and all his family, for their welcome. Kiko made me to visit her island, much better than anything tour guides can tell you. I had also tasted the fabrications of the family business, punches, rum Darboussier and rum cream. A bottle was waiting for me elsewhere in my bed and breakfast.
Historical part
Guadeloupe (“Gwadloup” in Creole) consists of islands and islets, two inhabited major: the “Grande-Terre” and “Basse-Terre” forming Guadeloupe proper. Several neighboring lands, Marie-Galante, the archipelago of Saintes (Terre-de-Haut and Terre-de-Bas) and La Désirade are administratively attached to this territory. Guadeloupe and its dependencies unveil landscapes as varied as contrasted on a set composed of 628km2 (628mi2) of land. the “continental Guadeloupe” is made up of two distinct lands separated by a fine stretch of sea not exceeding 200m (656ft) wide, called the “Salt River”. Basse-Terre in the west is mountainous and covered with a dense tropical forest from north to south, where many rivers and waterfalls abound. Grande-Terre to the east consists of a plain bordered by a mangrove swamp to the southwest, an irregular succession of hills called the Grands Fonds in the center, and an arid plateau serrated with rocky and wild coasts. North. It is on the southern shore of the Great-Earth, dotted with white sand beaches sheltered from coral reefs, that are concentrated the major seaside resorts. Then we have La Désirade, a vast plateau inclined to the northwest. The Great Mountain, which reaches 275m (902ft) above sea level, is its culminating point, Marie-Galante nicknamed the “Grande Galette or the island of a hundred mills”, Les Saintes a small archipelago of 9 arid and steep islands. There are two seasons: the dry season called “Lent” and the wet season called “Wintering” but it is also subject to the passage of hurricanes from May to November.
The modern history of Guadeloupe begins in November 1493, when Christopher Columbus sees, during his second trip, Dominica, then Marie-Galante where he disembarks. The archipelago of Guadeloupe was a Spanish colony for about 130 years, until 1635. From 1635, Charles Liénard of L’Olive and Jean du Plessis of Ossonville take possession of Guadeloupe on behalf of the Compagnie des îles of America. This is the beginning of the colonization of the archipelago. Land is given to senior officers who are encouraged to import slaves to exploit sugar cane. The rise of slavery in Guadeloupe is, however, slower than in Martinique. After unsuccessful attempts in 1666, 1691 and 1703, the British first seized Guadeloupe in 1759. They will keep it only four years, until 1763 (Treaty of Paris). In April 1794, taking advantage of the troubles caused by the French Revolution, the British briefly took possession of the island. Victor Hugues, French revolutionary, appointed National Commissioner in Guadeloupe, hunt the English in May 1794. He announced in June 1794, the abolition of slavery but this abolition was only temporary. The English do not want to feel defeated and take back the island in 1808, which they will cede to Sweden, in compensation for the war effort that Sweden must provide to defeat Napoleon. But finally the island returns to the French by treaty of peace. For the record, Great Britain compensated Sweden for these reversals of situation with a sum of 24 million francs to the Swedish treasure, paid in the form of a life annuity to the Swedish monarchs (Guadeloupefonden, in Swedish), which was closed in 1983, after agreement between the Swedish King and the Swedish Parliament.
In 1848, under the Second Republic, slavery was finally abolished. Many Indians land on the island from 1854 to fill the labor deficit caused by the abolition of slavery. St. Barthelemy, who remained Swedish, was again ceded to the French in 1878. In March 1946, the former colonies of the French Empire gave way to the French Union, but that of the French West Indies moved closer to the status of the metropolis and became departments. Overseas: Guadeloupe and Martinique. The department of Guadeloupe will also include Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin in a special district.


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