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Guadeloupe, History

Christopher Columbus first landed on the island of Guadeloupe on November 3, 1493, and named it for the monastery of Santa Maria de Guadelupe in Extremadura, Spain. Colonists of the French Company of the Islands of America established settlements in 1635, and gradually conquered the indigenous Carib people. After the failure of four chartered companies to colonize the island permanently, it was annexed by France in 1674 and made a dependency of Martinique. During the latter half of the 17th century the French colonists resisted a series of attacks by the British, who finally captured the island in 1759, retaining it until 1763, when it again passed to France. In 1775 Guadeloupe and Martinique became separate colonies. The British repossessed Guadeloupe in 1794 and again in 1810, the latter occupation lasting for six years. Slavery was abolished in 1848. Guadeloupe was made an overseas department of France in 1946. A movement for independence was active in the 1980s; following a series of bombings in 1984, French authorities outlawed the Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance, a militant autonomist organization.

 
 

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