Guadeloupe, group of islands, overseas department of France, in the French West Indies, off the northwestern coast of South America, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The two principal islands—separated by the Salee River, a narrow arm of the Caribbean Sea—are Basse-Terre on the west and Grande-Terre on the east. Nearby island dependencies are Marie-Galante, La Desirade, and Les Saintes; the other dependencies, Saint-Barthelemy and Saint Martin, are located 250 km (155 mi) to the northwest. Basse-Terre is the most mountainous of the islands and contains the highest point, La Soufriere (1,467 m/ 4,813 ft), an active volcano. The climate of the islands, though hot and humid, is tempered by the surrounding waters; the mean annual temperature is 26° C (78° F). The area of the department is 1,780 sq km (687 sq mi).
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