Just like other Antilles islands, Guadeloupe was probably occupied by pre-ceramic Amerindian groups from 3,000 BC, as indicated by the recent discovery of traces of slash and burn agriculture on the Marie-Galante island. Around the beginning of the first millennium groups of agro-ceramic Amerindians, the Arawaks, migrated from the north of Venezuela towards the Antilles. Later, probably around the XVth century, people migrated from the Guyana plateau towards the Antilles. The people were named the island Caribbean or Kalinago and were described by Spanish chroniclers, when they arrived in the Petites Antilles.
The late period shows evidence of contacts with the Taïnos from the Grandes Antilles. Based on a controversial theory, the Arawaks would have been massacred by the Caribbean immigrants, described by the Spanish chroniclers as aggressive and practising cannibalism..
The Caribbean immigrants christened the island Karukera (the island of beautiful waters in Caribbean language); they were the main inhabitants of the islands until the middle of the XVIIth century, up to the arrival of the French in 1635, but long after the first Europeans settled
Modern history starts in November1493 for Guadeloupe, when Christopher Columbus sights La Désirade and then Marie-Galante during his second voyage and sets foot on the island of Basse-Terre on November 4. He takes note of the presence of fresh water, especially the Carbet waterfalls. He names the island Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Estremadura in memory of a Spanish monastery where Christopher Columbus made a pilgrimage after his first expedition to the New World in 1492 to show gratitude for his discovery. From 1502, the archipelago of Guadeloupe is indicated precisely (all five islands) on Cantino’s planisphere, indicating its importance as well as the European navigators’ thorough knowledge of the islands. At the time, Guadeloupe was populated by Caribbeans, an Amerindian population, present on the island since the VIIIth century.
The war between settlers and Caribbeans ended in 1641 with the Caribbeans, whose ranks were depleted by disease and previous conflicts with the Spanish, being deported to the Dominican islands.
In 1671 all French ports are open to slave trade. European religious rituals, based on military practices, are considered as more regulated and ordered than those of the Amerindians. Soldiers are sent to Guadeloupe for 36 months to strengthen the island and receive land once their service is completed. The rich coffee, cotton and sugar cane planters were looking for cheaper labour, based on the Barbade sugar cane planters’ success.
Choosing black people as slaves was connected with geographical factors, the climate, for example, but mainly religious, such as the Pope’s agreement. In order to maintain their level of prosperity, planters needed slavery to become an institution. Sugar production, divided between the British and the French, yielded large profits and taxes in the British and French kingdoms. Fortification work took place under Louis XIV’s rule with Vauban as a surveyor and British backing.
A rich and hierarchical society, based on military and religious principles developed and thrived.
Black slaves, of various origins had to contend with language and cultural problems which led to the development of Creole culture and language
Source : Wikipedia