Arrondissements of Guadeloupe

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Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, previously united as one arrondissement of Guadeloupe, have become two separate overseas collectivities of France. This is the result of a law enacted by the French Parliament on 2007-02-21, following a referendum held on 2003-12-07. The law took effect on 2007-07-15 with the installation of the first elected councils. The U.N. Secretariat has listed them as separate countries, and ISO has issued country codes for them.

The French Overseas Ministry (source [1]) explains that France's overseas possessions can be governed by Article 73 or Article 74 of the French Constitution. Article 73 applies to overseas departments and regions (every overseas department is also a region). The principle of Article 73 is legislative assimilation: the collectivity is governed by the same law as the mother country. Article 74 applies to overseas collectivities. Its principle is legislative specificity: the collectivity is subject to laws addressing its peculiar situation.

The 2003 referendum asked residents of Martinique and Guadeloupe whether either of those monodepartmental regions should become a territorial collectivity, although still remaining under Article 73. They voted for the status quo, although by a narrow margin in Martinique. It asked residents of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy whether those islands should remain communes of Guadeloupe, or become overseas collectivities under Article 74. Both islands voted overwhelmingly for the change.

Country overview: 

ISO codeGP
LanguageFrench (fr)
Time zone-4


Guadeloupe, formerly a French colony, became an overseas department of France on 1946-03-19. Its status is theoretically on a par with the European French departments. Guadeloupe has a NUTS code of FR91 (as a region, or FR910 as a department), a department code of 971, and postal codes of the form 971xx, all of which are extensions of the French system. Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin voted in 2003 to separate from Guadeloupe, and they became overseas collectivities of France in their own right on 2007-02-21.

Other names of country: 

  1. English: Department of Guadeloupe (formal)
  2. French: Guadeloupe f
  3. Icelandic: Gvadeloupe
  4. Italian: Guadalupa
  5. Portuguese: Guadalupe n (f in Brazil)
  6. Russian: Гваделупа
  7. Spanish: Guadalupe
  8. Turkish: Guadalup

Origin of name: 

Named by Christopher Columbus for the monastery Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Estremadura.

Primary subdivisions: 

Guadeloupe is divided into two arrondissements.

Basse-TerreGP.BT971 1196,072881369Basse-Terre
Pointe-à-PitreGP.PP971 2213,833748289Pointe-à-Pitre
4 divisions409,9051,629658


Note: total populations include Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin, which were part of Guadeloupe at that time.

Further subdivisions:

See the Communes of Guadeloupe page.

As of 2006, the territory was further subdivided into 34 communes, which were in turn divided into 42 cantons. With the fission of Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin, there are now 32 communes.

Territorial extent: 

  1. The main island of Guadeloupe is split into two parts by a channel called Rivière Salée (Salty River). These parts are called Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre (French for Big-Land and Low-Land). Ironically, Basse-Terre is bigger than Grande-Terre, and Grande-Terre is lower than Basse-Terre.
  2. Pointe-à-Pitre arrondissement consists of Grande-Terre in Guadeloupe, La Désirade, Marie-Galante Island, and Îles de la Petite Terre.
  3. Basse-Terre arrondissement consists of Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe, and the Îles des Saintes.

The UN LOCODE page  for Guadeloupe lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Change history: 

  1. 1946-03-19: Guadeloupe became a département d'outre-mer (overseas department) of France.
  2. 1963-02-01: Saint-Martin et Saint-Barthélemy annexed to Guadeloupe as a third arrondissement.
  3. 1973-03-02: Guadeloupe became a region of France (remaining, also, an overseas department).
  4. 2007-07-15: The arrondissement of Saint-Martin et Saint-Barthélemy (former HASC code GP.SS, capital Marigot) split into two overseas collectivities: Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy. They no longer form part of either the department or the region of Guadeloupe.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Pointe-à-Pitre: Grande-Terre (obsolete)

Population history:

Saint Martin & Saint Barthelemy8,9299,1175,4457,0008,68211,13133,55635,930


In 1936, Pointe-à-Pitre is combined with Basse-Terre.


  1. [1] French Overseas Ministry website, retrieved 2003-12-10 from (still active, but the information on it has changed).
  2. [2] Masson, Jean-Louis. Provinces, Départements, Régions. Paris: Éditions Fernand Lanore, 1984.
  3. [3] Demographic Yearbook , 7th Ed. Statistical Office of the United Nations, New York, 1955 (retrieved 2011-08-20).
  4. [4] 1967 population figures from Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th Edition, Chicago, 1984 (rounded). 1967 total is from the INSEE  website (retrieved 2011-11-20).
  5. [5] Populations légales ... . Insee (retrieved 2013-05-04).
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