Located as the southernmost of the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe comprises two main islands: Basse-Terre Island, Grande-Terre (separated from Basse-Terre by a narrow sea channel called Salt River). The adjacent french islands of La Désirade, Les Saintes and Marie-Galante come under jurisdiction of Guadeloupe.
Western Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic relief while eastern Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains.
Further to the north, Saint-Barthélemy and the northern French part of Saint Martin once came under the jurisdiction of Guadeloupe but on 7 December 2003, both of these areas voted to become an overseas territorial collectivity, a decision which took effect on 22 February 2007.
Guadeloupe is located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres (629 sq. mi) and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe is also one of the 27 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; hence, as for most EU countries, its currency is the euro. However, Guadeloupe is not part of the Schengen Area. The prefecture and the capital of Guadeloupe is Basse-Terre. Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Guadalupe in 1493 after the Virgin Mary, venerated in the Spanish town of Guadalupe, in Extremadura.
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