Like an oddly shaped butterfly, Guadeloupe spreads its wings in the Caribbean Sea about 370 miles (590 kilometers) north of Venezuela. These tropical islands were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Originally occupied by the Arawak and then the Carib Indians, Guadeloupe has been conquered by the Spanish, English and French. The French, who first settled here in 1635, gained final possession. Guadeloupe was made a department (large administrative district) of France in 1946. The culture is distinctly French. Most of the people are of a mixed black and white origin.
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