Guadeloupe is an insular region of France located in the Leeward Islands, part of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Administratively, it is an overseas region consisting of a single overseas department. With a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and an estimated population of 400,132 as of January 2015, it is the largest and most populous European Union territory in North America. Guadeloupe's main islands are Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, the Îles des Saintes. Guadeloupe, like the other overseas departments, is an integral part of France; as a constituent territory of the European Union and the Eurozone, the euro is its official currency and any European Union citizen is free to settle and work there indefinitely. As an overseas department, however, it is not part of the Schengen Area; the official language is French, but Antillean Creole is spoken by the entire population except recent arrivals from metropolitan France. The island is called "Gwadada" by the locals.
The island was called "Karukera" by the Arawak people, who settled on there in the year 300. Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Guadalupe in 1493 after the Virgin Mary, venerated in the Spanish town of Guadalupe. Upon becoming a French colony, the Spanish name was retained though altered to French orthography and phonology. Archaeological evidence indicates that between 800 and 1000 AD drought led to a period with no habitation. Gradual resettlement occurred after 1000 AD. Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1493. During the 17th century, the Caribs repelled Spanish settlers; the French Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique delegated Charles Liènard de l'Olive and Jean du Plessis d'Ossonville to colonize one or any of the region's islands, Martinique, or Dominica. They settled in Guadeloupe in 1635, took possession of the island, wiped out many of the natives crushing them in 1641. Tobacco cultivation in the early 1600s was sustained by European laborers. In 1654 80% of the population of Guadeloupe was of European origin.
In the 1600s African slaves were brought in, by 1671 13%. Of the population was of European origin. Guadeloupe produced more sugar than all the British islands combined, worth about £6 million a year; the British captured Guadeloupe in 1759. Britain had seized Canada in the war, debate took place in both Britain and France as to, more valuable, Canada or Guadeloupe. Britain decided Canada, although expensive to maintain, was of greater strategic value and returned Guadeloupe to France in the Treaty of Paris. In 1790, following the French Revolution, monarchists refused to obey the new laws of equal rights for the free people of color and declared independence in 1791. In 1793, a slave rebellion broke out, which made the upper classes turn to the British and ask them to occupy the island. Britain seized Guadeloupe in April 1794. In December 1794, republican governor Victor Hugues used military force, helped by the slave population, to force the British to surrender. Hugues ended slavery, but in 1802, Napoleon I of France restored it, sending a force to recapture the island.
In 1810 the British again seized the island. In the Treaty of Paris of 1814, Sweden ceded Guadeloupe to France, giving rise to the Guadeloupe Fund; the Treaty of Vienna definitively acknowledged French control of Guadeloupe. In 1848, slavery was abolished. Slaves were replaced by indentured servants imported from India to work in the sugar fields. An earthquake in 1843 caused the La Soufrière volcano to erupt. Guadeloupe lost 12,000 of its 150,000 residents in the cholera epidemic of 1865–66. In 1925, after the trial of Henry Sidambarom French nationality and the vote was granted to Indian citizens. In 1946, the colony of Guadeloupe became an overseas department of France. In 2007 the island communes of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy were detached from Guadeloupe and became two separate French overseas collectivities with their own local administration. In January 2009, labour unions and others known as the Liyannaj Kont Pwofitasyon went on strike for more pay; the strike lasted 44 days. Tourism suffered during this time and affected the 2010 tourist season as well.
The 2009 French Caribbean general strikes exposed deep ethnic and class tensions and disparities within Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe is an archipelago of more than 12 islands, as well as islets and rocks situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean, it is in the Leeward Islands, in the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, an island arc a volcanic arc. Most of the inhabitants live on a pair of islands, Basse-Terre Island and Grande-Terre, which form a butterfly shape, viewed from above, the two wings of which are separated by a narrow sea channel, the Salée River. More than half of Guadeloupe's land surface is on Basse-Terre. Western Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic relief while eastern Grande-Terre features rolling hills and flat plains. La Grande Soufrière is the highest mountain peak in the Lesser Antilles, with an elevation of 1,467 metres; the adjacent islands of La Désirade, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante are under jurisdiction of Guadeloupe. The Lesser Antilles are at the outer edge of the Caribbean Plate.
Many of the islands were formed as a result of the subduction of oceanic crust of the Atlantic Plate under the Caribbean Plate in the Lesser Antilles subduction zone. This process is responsible for volcanic and earthquake activity in the region. Guadeloupe was formed from multiple volcanoes. There is an act
Collectivity of Saint Martin
The Collectivity of Saint Martin known as Saint Martin, is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies in the Caribbean. With a population of 36,286 on an area of 53.2 square kilometres, it encompasses the northern 60% of the divided island of Saint Martin, some neighbouring islets, the largest of, Île Tintamarre. The southern 40% of the island of Saint Martin constitutes Sint Maarten, since 2010 a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; this marks the only place in the world. Before 2007, the French part of Saint Martin formed a part of the French overseas région and département of Guadeloupe. Saint Martin is separated from the island of Anguilla by the Anguilla Channel, its capital is Marigot. Hurricane Irma hit the island on 6–7 September 2017 with Category 5 winds causing widespread and significant damage to buildings and infrastructure; as of 10 September, reports indicated that ten deaths were attributed to the storm on this island and on Saint Barthelemy and that seven people were still missing.
Saint Martin was for many years a French commune, forming part of Guadeloupe, an overseas région and département of France. In 2003 the population of the French part of the island voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity of France. On 9 February 2007, the French Parliament passed a bill granting COM status to both the French part of Saint Martin and the neighbouring Saint Barthélemy; the new status took effect on 15 July 2007, once the local assemblies were elected, with the second leg of the vote occurring on 15 July 2007. Saint Martin remains part of the European Union; the new governance structure befitting an overseas collectivity took effect on 15 July 2007 with the first session of the Territorial Council and the election of Louis-Constant Fleming as president of the Territorial Council. On 25 July 2008 Fleming resigned after being sanctioned by the Conseil d'État for one year over problems with his 2007 election campaign. On 7 August, Frantz Gumbs was elected as President of the Territorial Council.
However, his election was declared invalid on 10 April 2009 and Daniel Gibbs appointed as Acting President of the Territorial Council on 14 April 2009. Gumbs was reelected on 5 May 2009. Before 2007, Saint Martin was coded as GP in ISO 3166-1. In October 2007, it received the ISO 3166-1 code MF, MAF, 663; the coat of arms features a ship, a palm and a sun, reads "Collectivité de Saint Martin". The commune that existed until 22 February 2007, used similar arms but with the legend "Ville de Saint Martin"; the French part of the island has a land area of 53.2 square kilometres. A local English-based dialect is spoken in informal situations on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. At the January 2011 French census, the population in the French part of the island was 36,286, which means a population density of 682 inhabitants per square kilometre in 2011. During the 1980s, the population more than tripled. By 2000 the territory had over 7,000 Haitians; the official currency of Saint Martin is the euro, though the US dollar is widely accepted.
Tourism is the main economic activity. INSEE estimated that the total GDP of Saint Martin amounted to 421 million euros in 1999. In that same year the GDP per capita of Saint Martin was 14,500 euros, 39% lower than the average GDP per capita of metropolitan France in 1999. In comparison, the GDP per capita on the Dutch side of the island, Sint Maarten, was 14,430 euros in 2004; the collectivity has the following public preschool and elementary schools: Preschools: Jean Anselme, Jérôme Beaupère, Elaine Clarke, Evelina Halley, Ghyslaine Rogers, Trott Simeone Primary schools: Omer Arrondell, Emile Choisy, Nina Duverly, Elie Gibs, Aline Hanson, Emile Larmonnie, Marie-Amélie Ledee, Clair Saint-Maximin, Hervé Williams Ecole élémentaire M-Antoinette RichardThere are three junior high schools and one senior high school: Junior highs: #1 Des Accords, #2 Soualiga, #3 Quartier d'Orleans Lycée des Îles Nord Cité Scolaire Robert Weinum is a joint public junior-senior high school in Saint Martin Grand Case-Espérance Airport has regional flights.
The Dutch side airport Princess Juliana International Airport has long haul flights serving the collectivity. Hurricane Irma hit Saint Martin on 6 of September, 2017. France's Minister of the Interior said on 8 September. In addition to damage caused by high winds, there were reports of serious flood damage to businesses in the village of Marigot. Looting was a serious problem. France sent aid as well as additional emergency personnel to the island. 95 % of the structures on the French side had been destroyed. Looting or "pillaging" was a problem initially. On 10 September, France announced that it was sending additional emergency supplies, including water and electrical equipment to help restore the power supply to St. Martin as an early step to helping the residents to survive and to rebuild. By 11 September, President Emmanuel Macron was flying to the area to view the damage and to assure resi
Saint Kitts known more formally as Saint Christopher Island, is an island in the West Indies. The west side of the island borders the Caribbean Sea, the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. Saint Kitts and the neighbouring island of Nevis constitute one country: the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. Saint Kitts and Nevis are separated by a shallow 3-kilometre channel known as "The Narrows". Saint Kitts became home to French colonies in the mid-1620s. Along with the island nation of Nevis, Saint Kitts was a member of the British West Indies until gaining independence on September 19, 1983; the island is one of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. It is situated about 2,100 km southeast of Florida; the land area of St. Kitts is about 168 km2, being 29 km long and on average about 8 km across. Saint Kitts has the majority of whom are of African descent; the primary language is English, with a literacy rate of 98%. Residents call. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest fortress built in the Eastern Caribbean.
The island of Saint Kitts is home to the Warner Park Cricket Stadium, used to host 2007 Cricket World Cup matches. This made St. Kitts and Nevis the smallest nation to host a World Cup event. Saint Kitts is home to several institutions of higher education, including Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Windsor University School of Medicine, the University of Medicine and Health Sciences; the capital of the two-island nation, its largest port, is the town of Basseterre on Saint Kitts. There is a modern facility for handling large cruise ships there. A ring road goes around the perimeter of the island with smaller roads branching off it. Saint Kitts is 10 km away from Sint Eustatius to 3 km from Nevis to the south. St. Kitts has three distinct groups of volcanic peaks: Mount Misery Range; the highest peak is Mount Liamuiga Mount Misery, a dormant volcano 1,156 m high. The youngest volcanic center is Mt. Liamuiga, 5 km in diameter and rising to an elevation of 1155 m, its last eruption was 1620 years ago, corresponding with the Steel Dust series of pyroclastic deposits on the western flank.
The Mansion Series of pyroclastic deposits and andesite with basalt layers occur on the northern flank, along with mudflows. This volcano has a crater 900 m wide and 244 m deep, plus two distinct parasitic domes consisting of andesite, Brimstone Hill and Sandy Point Hill, coalesced with Farm Flat. Brimstone Hill is noted for having limestone on its flanks, dragged upward with the formation of the dome 44,400 years ago. Mt. Liamuiga overlays the Middle Range to the southeast; this Middle Range is another stratovolcano 976 m in height with a small summit crater containing a lake. Next in line is the 900 m South East Range, 1 Myr in age, consisting of four peaks. Ottley's dome and Monkey Hill dome are on the flanks, while the older volcanoes represented by Canada Hills, Conaree Hills lie past the airport and Bassaterre on the southeast flank; the Salt Dome Peninsula contains the oldest volcanic deposits, 2.3-2.77 Myr in age, consisting of at least nine Pelean domes rising up to 319 m in height, which includes Williams Hill and St. Anthony's Peaks.
During the last Ice Age, the sea level was up to 300 feet lower and St. Kitts and Nevis were one island along with Saba and Sint Eustatius. St. Kitts was settled by pre-agricultural, pre-ceramic "Archaic people", who migrated south down the archipelago from Florida. In a few hundred years they disappeared, to be replaced by the ceramic-using and agriculturalist Saladoid people around 100 BC, who migrated to St. Kitts north up the archipelago from the banks of the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Around 800 AD, they were replaced by members of the Arawak group. Around 1300, the Kalinago, or Carib people arrived on the islands; these agriculturalists dispersed the Igneri, forced them northwards to the Greater Antilles. They named Saint Kitts "Liamuiga" meaning "fertile island", would have expanded further north if not for the arrival of Europeans. A Spanish expedition under Christopher Columbus arrived and claimed the island for Spain in 1493; the first English colony was established in 1623, followed by a French colony in 1625.
The English and French united to massacre the local Kalinago, partitioned the island, with the English colonists in the middle and the French on either end. In 1629, a Spanish force sent to clear the islands of foreign settlement seized St. Kitts; the English settlement was rebuilt following the 1630 peace between Spain. The island alternated between English and French control during the 17th and 18th centuries, as one power took the whole island, only to have it switch hands due to treaties or military action. Parts of the island were fortified, as exemplified by the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Brimstone Hill and the now-crumbling Fort Charles. Since 1783, St. Kitts has been affiliated with the Kingdom of Great Britain, which became the United Kingdom; the island produced tobacco. The labour-intensive cultivation of sugar cane was the reason for the large-scale importation of African slaves; the importation began immediately upon the arrival of Europeans to the region. The purchasing o
Saint Barthélemy the Territorial collectivity of Saint-Barthélemy, called Ouanalao by the indigenous people, is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies. Abbreviated to St-Barth in French, St. Barths or St. Barts in English, the island lies about 35 kilometres southeast of St. Martin and north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is 240 kilometres to the west in the Greater Antilles. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, an overseas region and department of France. In 2003, the island voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity of France; the collectivity is one of four territories among the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean that comprise the French West Indies, along with Saint Martin and Martinique. Saint Barthélemy, a volcanic island encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 25 square kilometres and a population of 9,625, its capital is Gustavia, which contains the main harbour to the island.
It is the only Caribbean island, a Swedish colony for any significant length of time. Symbolism from the Swedish national arms, the Three Crowns, still appears in the island's coat of arms; the language and culture, are distinctly French. The island is a popular tourist destination during the winter holiday season for the rich and famous during the Christmas and New Year period. Before European contact the island was frequented by Eastern Caribbean Taíno people. Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter the island in 1493, he named it after his brother Bartolomeo. Sporadic visits continued for the next hundred years. By 1648, the island was settled from St. Christopher, but the settlement was attacked and destroyed by Caribs six years later; these first French settlers had been encouraged by Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, the lieutenant-governor of the French West India Company and comprised about 50 to 60 settlers. Led by Jacques Gentes, the new arrivals began cultivating cacao, until the Carib attack forced them to retreat.
De Poincy was a member of the Order of Saint John. He facilitated the transfer of ownership from the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique to the Order, he continued to rule the island until his death in 1660. Five years it was bought by the French West India Company along with the Order's other possessions in the Caribbean. By 1674, the company was dissolved and the islands became part of the French Kingdom. There was a brief takeover by the British in 1758; the island was given to Sweden in 1784 in exchange for trade rights in Gothenburg. It was only after 1784, when King Louis XVI traded the island to Sweden, that the island's fortunes changed for the better; this change of control saw progress and prosperity as the Swedes declared Gustavia a free port, convenient for trading by the Europeans for goods, including contraband material. Slavery was practiced in St. Barthélemy under the "Ordinance concerning the Police of Slaves and free Coloured People" of 1787; the last legally-owned slaves in the Swedish colony of St. Barthélemy were granted their freedom by the state on 9 October 1847.
Since the island was not a plantation area, the freed slaves suffered economic hardships due to lack of opportunities for employment. In 1852, a devastating hurricane hit this was followed by a fire. Following a referendum in 1877, Sweden gave the island back to France in 1878, after which it was administered as part of Guadeloupe. On 19 March 1946, the people of the island became French citizens with full rights. Many men from St. Barthélemy took jobs on Saint Thomas to support their families; the island received electricity circa 1961. Organised tourism and hotels began in earnest the 1960s and developed in the 1970s onwards after the building of the island's landing strip that can accommodate mid-sized aircraft; the coves and beach-side hotels attract catered and self-catered honeymooners. The capital attracts cruise liners. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, an overseas region and department of France. Through a referendum in 2003, island residents sought separation from the administrative jurisdiction of Guadeloupe, it was accomplished in 2007.
The island of Saint Barthélemy became an Overseas Collectivity. A governing territorial council was elected for its administration, which has provided the island with a certain degree of autonomy; the Hotel de Ville, the town hall, is now the Hotel de la Collectivité. A senator represents the island in Paris. St. Barthélemy has retained its free port status. Saint Barthélemy ceased being an outermost region and left the EU, to become an OCT, on 1 January 2012; the island sustained damage from Hurricane Irma in September 2017 but by March 2018, the airport was handling daily flights and the ferry between St. Martin and St. Barts was operating. Electricity and water had been restored; some hotels were not yet open but most were expected to be operating by the fall of the year. The cruise ship port in Gustavia was operational. Located 250 kilometres east of Puerto Rico and the nearer Virgin Islands, St. Barthélemy lies sou
For the largest city on the island of Basse-Terre and capital of Guadeloupe, see Basse-Terre. For the capital of Saint Kitts and Nevis see Basseterre. Basse-Terre Island is the name of the western-half of Guadeloupe proper, in the Lesser Antilles. To the South lies Les Saintes and Dominica. In the North-East, it is separated from the other half of Guadeloupe proper, Grande-Terre, by a narrow sea channel called the Rivière Salée. Basse-Terre Island has a land area of 847.8 km2. At the 2006 census the population of Basse-Terre Island was 186,661 inhabitants living in 16 communes; the population density was 220 inhabitants per square kilometre. The largest city on Basse-Terre Island is the city of Basse-Terre which had 37,455 inhabitants in its urban area at the 2006 census; the city of Basse-Terre is the prefecture of Guadeloupe. Despite its name, Basse-Terre Island is the highest island of Guadeloupe, rising to 1,467 metres above sea level at the Soufrière volcano; the name of the island is the result of French terminology used in the Caribbean in the 17th century.
In the Caribbean, the prevailing winds blow from the northeast, thus the western side of the Caribbean islands, the leeward side, protected from the trade winds, was called the Basse-Terre in 17th-century French because it is situated downwind compared to the eastern side of the Caribbean islands, the windward side, exposed to the trade winds and was called the Cabesterre. This distinction between a Basse-Terre and a Cabesterre was used in several Caribbean islands colonized by France; the capital of Saint Kitts and Nevis, for example, was named Basseterre because it is located on the western side of the island of Saint Kitts. Basse-Terre Island was called "Guadeloupe" and as in other French Caribbean islands its western side was called Basse-Terre while its eastern side was called Cabesterre; the capital and main settlement of Guadeloupe was established on the Basse-Terre side of the island in the 17th century and was called the city of Basse-Terre. In the 18th century, the entire island came to be known as Basse-Terre Island under the influence of its largest settlement the city of Basse-Terre, the name Guadeloupe was used for the combined islands of Basse-Terre Island and Grande-Terre.
La Grande Soufrière, the tallest mountain in the Lesser Antilles, is located on the island. It is an active volcano; the surrounding area of Basse-Terre has a rough volcanic relief fertile land. The surrounding areas of Basse-Terre consists of forest and sugar, coffee and cocoa plantations; the island has a land area of 847.8 km2. The eastern coast of Basse-Terre Island, known as the Windward Coast, is exposed to the trade winds and receives a lot of rain, whereas the western coast of the island, known as the Leeward Coast is protected from the winds by the Soufrière volcano and is thus much drier; the most populated communes on the island are, in descending order of population, Baie-Mahault, Petit-Bourg, Capesterre-Belle-Eau, Sainte-Rose, Basse-Terre, Saint-Claude. Above the city of Basse-Terre on a mountain road, is the village of Saint-Claude, at the base of the Soufrière volcano; the village is noted for stately homes. Tours to ascend the Soufrière can be arranged; the starting point is at Saint-Claude.
The volcano is dormant. About three miles east, is the village of Gourbeyre where Fort Louis Delgres was built in 1650 by Charles Houël; this fort guarded the approach to the city of Basse-Terre and served in several battles against the British. About eight miles south-south-east is the village of Trois-Rivières, a fishing community rich in ancient settlements of the peaceful Arawaks. Near the village is an archaeological park which features sculpted and engraved rocks and relics left by the Arawaks in a grotto deep in the forest. A few beaches are located along the coast and south of the city of Basse-Terre. There are fishing areas
Antillean Creole is a French-based creole, spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and vocabulary include elements of African languages. Antillean Creole has a number of distinctive features; the language was more spoken in the Lesser Antilles, but its number of speakers is declining in Trinidad and Tobago, St. Vincent and The Grenadines and Grenada. While the islands of Dominica and Saint Lucia are English-speaking, there are efforts to preserve the use of Antillean Creole, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago and its neighbour, Venezuela. In recent decades, Creole has gone from being seen as a sign of lower socio-economic status, banned in school playgrounds, to a mark of national pride. Since the 1970s, there has been a literary revival of Creole in the French-speaking islands of the Lesser Antilles, with writers such as Raphaël Confiant and Monchoachi employing the language. Édouard Glissant has written poetically about its significance and its history. Antillean Creole is spoken natively, to varying degrees, in Dominica, Guadeloupe, Îles des Saintes, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, French Guiana and Tobago and Venezuela.
Dominican, Grenadian, St. Lucian, Trinidadian and Venezuelan speakers of Antillean Creole call the language patois, it is spoken in various Creole-speaking immigrant communities in the United States Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, the island of Saint Martin. Antillean Creole has 1 million speakers and is a means of communication for migrant populations traveling between neighbouring English- and French-speaking territories. Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc was a French trader and adventurer in the Caribbean who established the first permanent French colony, Saint-Pierre, on the island of Martinique in 1635. Belain sailed to the Caribbean in 1625, hoping to establish a French settlement on the island of St. Christopher. In 1626, he returned to France, where he won the support of Cardinal Richelieu to establish French colonies in the region. Richelieu became a shareholder in the Compagnie de Saint-Christophe, created to accomplish that with d'Esnambuc at its head; the company was not successful, Richelieu had it reorganised as the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique.
In 1635, d'Esnambuc sailed to Martinique with 100 French settlers to clear land for sugarcane plantations. After six months on Martinique, d'Esnambuc returned to St. Christopher, where he soon died prematurely in 1636, leaving the company and Martinique in the hands of his nephew, Du Parquet, his nephew, Jacques Dyel du Parquet, inherited d'Esnambuc's authority over the French settlements in the Caribbean. Dyel du Parquet became governor of the island, he did not concern himself with the other islands. The French permanently settled on Martinique and Guadeloupe after being driven off Saint Kitts and Nevis by the British. Fort Royal on Martinique was a major port for French battle ships in the region from which the French were able to explore the region. In 1638, Dyel du Parquet decided to have Fort Saint Louis built to protect the city against enemy attacks. From Fort Royal, Martinique, Du Parquet proceeded south in search for new territories, established the first settlement in Saint Lucia in 1643 and headed an expedition that established a French settlement in Grenada in 1649.
Despite the long history of British rule, Grenada's French heritage is still evident by the number of French loanwords in Grenadian Creole and the French-style buildings and placenames In 1642, the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique received a 20-year extension of its charter. The king would name the governor general of the company, the company would name the governors of the various islands. However, by the late 1640s, Cardinal Mazarin had little interest in colonial affairs, the company languished. In 1651, it dissolved itself; the Du Paquet family bought Martinique and Saint Lucia for 60,000 livres. The sieur d'Houël bought Marie-Galante, La Desirade and the Saintes; the Knights of Malta bought Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin and sold them in 1665 to the Compagnie des Indes occidentales, formed one year earlier. Dominica is a former French and British colony in the Eastern Caribbean, about halfway between the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Christopher Columbus named the island after the day of the week on which he spotted it, a Sunday, on 3 November 1493.
In the 100 years after Columbus's landing, Dominica remained isolated. At the time, it was inhabited by the Island Kalinago people. Over time, more settled there after they had been driven from surrounding islands, as European powers entered the region. In 1690, French woodcutters from Martinique and Guadeloupe begin to set up timber camps to supply the French islands with wood and become permanent settlers. France had a colony for several years and imported slaves from West Africa and Guadeloupe to work on its plantations; the Antillean Creole language developed. France formally ceded possession of Dominica to Great Britain in 1763; the latter established a small colony on the island in 1805. As a result, Dominica uses English as an official language, but Antillean Creole is still spoken as a secondary language because of Dominica's location between the French-speaking departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique. In Trinida
West Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha; the population of West Africa is estimated at about 362 million people as of 2016, at 381,981,000 as of 2017, to which 189,672,000 are female, 192,309,000 male. Studies of human mitochondrial DNA suggest that all humans share common ancestors from Africa, originated in the southwestern regions near the coastal border of Namibia and Angola at the approximate coordinates 12.5° E, 17.5°S with a divergence in the migration path around 37.5°E, 22.5°N near the Red Sea. A particular haplogroup of DNA, haplogroup L2, evolved between 87,000 and 107,000 years ago or approx. 90,000 YBP. Its age and widespread distribution and diversity across the continent makes its exact origin point within Africa difficult to trace with any confidence, however an origin for several L2 groups in West or Central Africa seems with the highest diversity in West Africa.
Most of its subclades are confined to West and western-Central Africa. Because of the large numbers of West Africans enslaved in the Atlantic slave trade, most African Americans are to have mixed ancestry from different regions of western Africa; the history of West Africa can be divided into five major periods: first, its prehistory, in which the first human settlers arrived, developed agriculture, made contact with peoples to the north. Early human settlers from northern Holocene societies arrived in West Africa around 12,000 B. C. At Gobero, the Kiffian, who were hunters of tall stature, lived during the green Sahara between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago; the Tenerian, who were a more built people that hunted and herded cattle, lived during the latter part of the green Sahara 7,000 to 4,500 years ago. Sedentary farming began in, or around the fifth millennium B. C, as well as the domestication of cattle. By 1500 B. C, ironworking technology allowed an expansion of agricultural productivity, the first city-states formed.
Northern tribes developed walled settlements and non-walled settlements that numbered at 400. In the forest region, Iron Age cultures began to flourish, an inter-region trade began to appear; the desertification of the Sahara and the climatic change of the coast cause trade with upper Mediterranean peoples to be seen. The domestication of the camel allowed the development of a trans-Saharan trade with cultures across the Sahara, including Carthage and the Berbers. Local leather and gold contributed to the abundance of prosperity for many of the following empires; the development of the region's economy allowed more centralized states and civilizations to form, beginning with Dhar Tichitt that began in 1600 B. C. followed by Djenné-Djenno beginning in 300 B. C; this was succeeded by the Ghana Empire that first flourished between the 9th and 12th centuries, which gave way to the Mali Empire. In current-day Mauritania, there exist archaeological sites in the towns of Tichit and Oualata that were constructed around 2000 B.
C. and were found to have originated from the Soninke branch of the Mandé peoples, according to their tradition, originate from Aswan, Egypt. Based on the archaeology of city of Kumbi Saleh in modern-day Mauritania, the Mali empire came to dominate much of the region until its defeat by Almoravid invaders in 1052. Three great kingdoms were identified in Bilad al-Sudan by the ninth century, they included Ghana and Kanem. The Sosso Empire sought to fill the void, but was defeated by the Mandinka forces of Sundiata Keita, founder of the new Mali Empire; the Mali Empire continued to flourish for several centuries, most under Sundiata's grandnephew Musa I, before a succession of weak rulers led to its collapse under Mossi and Songhai invaders. In the 15th century, the Songhai would form a new dominant state based on Gao, in the Songhai Empire, under the leadership of Sonni Ali and Askia Mohammed. Meanwhile, south of the Sudan, strong city states arose in Igboland, such as the 10th-century Kingdom of Nri, which helped birth the arts and customs of the Igbo people, Bono in the 12th century, which culminated in the formation the all-powerful Akan Empire of Ashanti, while Ife rose to prominence around the 14th century.
Further east, Oyo arose as the dominant Yoruba state and the Aro Confederacy as a dominant Igbo state in modern-day Nigeria. The Kingdom of Nri was a West African medieval state in the present-day southeastern Nigeria and a subgroup of the Igbo people; the Kingdom of Nri was unusual in the history of world government in that its leader exercised no military power over his subjects. The kingdom existed as a sphere of religious and political influence over a third of Igboland and was administered by a priest-king called as an Eze Nri; the Eze Nri managed trade and diplomacy on behalf of the Nri people and possessed divine authority in religious matters. The Oyo Empire was a Yoruba empire of what is today Western and North c