The World at War

Guadeloupe 1493 - 1946

Guadeloupe Timeline

1493November 2 Christopher Columbus discovers Désirade island 21 days after departing the Canary Islands on his 2nd voyage to America.
November 3 Christopher Columbus discovers the island of Marie Galante. During a landing at Anse Ballet in Grand Bourg, he names the island after his flagship, Maria Galanda.
November 4 Christopher Columbus discovers Guadeloupe which names in honor of the monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe at Estremadura, Spain.
Christopher Columbus discovers the island of Saint Barthelemy.
November 11 Christopher Columbus discovers the island of Saint Martin.
1635June 28 Charles Liévart de L’Olive and Jean Duplessis land at Pointe Allègre near present day Sainte Rose along with 4 Dominican friars and 400 indentured colonists to take possession of Guadeloupe for La Compagnie des Isles d'Amérique.
December 4 Jean Duplessis dies leaving Liévart de L’Olive is sole command of the colony on Guadeloupe.
1636January 26 Liévart de L’Olive declares war on the Carib Indians and begins a 3 year campaign of systematic extermination against the natives of Guadeloupe.
1637Liévart de L’Olive is confirmed as Governor of Guadeloupe by Cardinal Richlieu.
1641Governor d’Aubert concludes a peace treaty with the surviving Carib Indians which calls for their removal to Dominica.
1643May 20 Guadeloupe and its dependencies is sold by the bankrupt Compagnie des Isles d'Amérique to Charles Houel, a former director of the company and now governor of the islands, and Jean de Boisseret d'Herblay.
1644Sugar cane is planted on Guadeloupe.
1648The island of Saint Barthelemy is claimed by France and settled by people from Saint Kitts.
March 23 The Treaty of the Mont des Accords divides Saint Martin between the Netherlands and France. The latter gains control of 3/5ths of the island.
November 8 Governor Charles Houël establishes the first French settlement on Marie Galante with a company of 50 men at a site near Vieux Fort in Saint Louis.
1649September 4 Jacques de Boisseret buys the island of Marie Galante from the La Compagnie des Isles d'Amérique.
1650The first African slaves arrive in Guadeloupe.
1651Saint Barthelemy is sold to the Order of the Knights of Malta.
1653November Carib Indians slaughter the few remaining French colonists on the island of Marie Galante in reprisal for rapes committed on the island of Dominica by sailors on a barge coming from Martinique.
Governor Charles Houël sends a contingent of colonists to settle by a new fort on Marie Galante which he christens Savannah by the Sea and routs the last Caribs from the island.
1654Governor Charles Houël permits Dutch Protestants deported from Catholic Brazil to settle on Guadeloupe. The refugees and their slaves number nearly 900 and quickly master the cultivation and refining of sugar cane.
The town of Grand Terre is established.
1660A peace treaty is signed with the Carib Indian at Basse Terre Chateau which leads to their removal to Dominica and Saint Vincent.
1664Charles Houël sells Guadeloupe to Colbert’s Compagnie des Indes occidentals (West Indies Company and Madame de Boisseret cedes her rights to Marie-Galante to the company.
1666August 22 During the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the English seize the Saintes Isles but a hurricane destroys the fleet before an attack can be mounted against Guadeloupe.
During the Year Carib Indians massacre the entire colony on Saint Barthelemy and post the heads of the deceased on spades along Lorient beach to discourage other visitors.
1674Louis XIV dissolves the West Indies Company. Guadeloupe becomes a possession of the French crown and a dependency of Martinique.
1676During the Third Anglo-Dutch War, Marie Galante is plundered by the Dutch who carry off equipment from the island’s mills and sugar refineries to resell elsewhere in the Caribbean.
1691February English troops under General Christopher Codrington land at Grand Bourg on Marie Galante then move on Guadeloupe. Sugar mills are destroyed and houses burnt but the English are driven off. Codrington blames the expedition’s failure on his naval commander, Captain Wright, who allowed the French ships to escape.
1703English troops under General Christopher Codrington II capture Fort St. Charles and Basse Terre, Guadeloupe before disease and starvation force their withdrawal.
1719A dozen sugar refineries are rebuilt on Marie Galante with slave labor. Slaves account for three quarters of the island’s population.
1727There are 15 sugar refineries on Marie Galante. The number of slaves on the island has increased seven fold in 8 years.
1736An uprising by Marrons (escaped slaves) is crushed.
1752Coffee planting is introduced on Marie Galante.
1759February During the Seven Years War, the British invade Guadeloupe, Basse Terre, Saint François, Sainte Anne and Gosier are burned, plantations are devastated and thousands of slaves are captured and sent to Antigua.
April 23 Guadeloupe surrenders to the British. The British occupy the island for 4 years during which they construct a port at Pointe a Pitre, develop the sugar plantations and import some 18,000 slaves.
1762The seat of government, of the apostolic administration and of the court of appeal is established at Basse Terre.
1763February 10 The Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years War. Guadeloupe is restored to French sovereignty.
During the Year Saint Barthelemy is resettled by sailors from Brittany and Normandy.
1767An Admiralty court is established in Pointe a Pitre allowing the inhabitants and ship captains to conduct business and make declarations without going to Basse Terre.
1770Guadeloupe exports 7 times as much molasses to the British North American colonies as it does to France.
Coffee planting begins on Guadeloupe. The introduction of the labor intensive crop further accelerates the growth of slavery.
1775Guadeloupe is separated from Martinique but it remains under the governor of the French Windward Islands.
Guadeloupe becomes a major exporter of cocoa.
1776Fort Saint Louis is built overlooking the town of Marigot on Saint Martin to defend against British attack.
1780The first windmills are constructed on the island of Marie Galante.
1782April 12 Admiral Sir George Rodney annihilates a French fleet under the Comte de Grasse in the channel between the Saintes Isles and Guadeloupe.
1784France cedes Saint Barthelemy to Sweden which desires a sugar producing colony in exchange for trade privileges in the port of Gothenburg. Cartage, the largest settlement on the island, is renamed Gustavia.
Trade is permitted between Guadeloupe and citizens of the United States.
1785September 7 King Gustav III issues a proclamation declaring Gustavia a freeport.
1787The Swedish Lutheran church is consecrated in Gustavia on Saint Barthelemy.
Guadeloupe is granted a Colonial Assembly with taxation powers.
Guadeloupe is populated by 73,000 slaves and 14,000 Europeans.
1792November 1 Republicans on Marie Galante sever ties with the Royalist regime on Guadeloupe. Pointe a Pitre is renamed Port la Liberté.
1794February 4 The French Convention abolishes slavery.
April 09 British troops under Jarvis attack Guadeloupe and occupy the Saintes isles.
April 12 The British land at Gosier on Guadeloupe and occupy Grande Terre.
April 16 The British attack Basse Terre.
April 20 Gouverneur Victor Collot surrenders Guadeloupe to the British. The island’s Royalist planters ally themselves with the occupiers.
April 23 A fleet of 9 ships carrying 1,100 men is dispatched to Guadeloupe under the command of three generals and two civil commissioners, Pierre Chrétien and Victor Hugues. Hugues is charged with carrying out the Convention’s abolition decree.
June 2 Victor Hugues lands at Salines and seizes Fort Fleur d'Épée.
June 7 Victor Hugues enters Point a Pitre. He declares the emancipation of the slaves. “Citizen, a republican government supports neither chains nor slavery. Citizens you have become equals.”
July 1 Victor Hugues repulses a British counterattack on Pointe a Pitre with the aid of newly emancipated slaves.
October 7 The British force under General Graham, decimated by yellow fever, surrenders. Graham evacuates his 1,400 men and 22 Royalist collaborators. Hugues troops capture 1,200 Royalists. Pointe a Pitre is renamed Port de la Liberté. A guillotine is erected in La Place Sartine, renamed Place de la Victoire. A decivise battle at Morne Savon 865 Royalists are shot and 27 saved for the guillotine.
November Victor Hugues’ Republican forces retake the island of Marie Galante.
December The Victor Hugues completes the conquest of Guadeloupe. The surviving Royalists flee to British held Martinique.
1795Guadeloupe becomes a French department under the constitution of the Year III.
1798November 22 Commissioner Victor Hugues is recalled to Paris following protest from the United States which condemn his excesses. He had forced the planters emancipate the slaves but refused to implement provisions of the constitution which he regarded as too favorable to Blacks.
General Edme Desfourneaux becomes governor. He attempts to restore fiscal order in the colony by raising taxes which sparks tax revolts in Basse Terre and Pointe a Pitre.
1799December 13 The Consulate enacts the Constitution of the Year VIII which decrees that the regime in the French colonies will be governed by special laws. Guadeloupe reverts to the status of a colony and loses its representation in the National Assembly.
1801April 19 A decree of the Consuls stipulates that Guadeloupe shall be governed by 3 magistrates: a captain general, a prefect and civil commissioner.
May 29 Commissioner Lacrosse arrives in Guadeloupe along with his aide de camp Louis Delgrès. They have orders to take charge of the colony and assert government control over the mostly black and mulatto garrison.
August 5 General Béthancourt, commander of the garrison, dies. Commissioner Lacrosse assumes command to the detriment of Magloire Pélage, the ranking officer on Guadeloupe. Black and mulatto officers are arrested.
October 21 Commissioner Lacrosse installs a reactionary regime. Opponents are imprisoned, threatened with deportation or shot. Slaveholders who fled with the British in 1794 are allowed to reclaim their plantations. Basse Terre revolts. Lacrosse declares a state of siege, takes the town and dissolves the municipal council.
October 24 Commissioner Lacrosse, now at Pointe a Pitre, tries but fails to arrest the Black officers including Ignace and garrison commander Magloire Pélage. A Provisional Council of Government is established by Pélage.
November 6 Commissioner Lacrosse, now prisoner, is saved from execution by the War Council by Pélage and put aboard a Danish ship bound for Dominica.
November 9 Magloire Pélage asks the towns of Guadeloupe to join in the formation of a Council of Government.
November 24 Magloire Pélage announces the formation of council constituting, “the government of Guadeloupe and dependencies”.
December 26 Magloire Pélage makes a final request to two representatives of the Consulate to assume their posts in Guadeloupe. The two men, Prefect Lescallier and Commissioner of Justice Coster, refuse.
During the Year The Royal Navy attacks Saint Barthelemy but does not take the island.
1802January 11 Louis Delgrès takes command of the army on Guadeloupe.
Massoteau becomes director of the town of Basse Terre.
Commissioner Lacrosse retakes Marie Galante from the Provisional Council.
April 1 Bonaparte dispatches a task force under General Antoine Richepance to Guadeloupe. The 3,500 man force sails aboard 14 warships, 4 frigates, 4 transports and 4 sloops.
May 6 General Antoine Richepance lands at Pointe a Pitre where he is greeted by Magloire Pélage and the population. Tension is increased by rumors that Richepance is going to reestablish slavery. Emotions flair after Stiwenson’s troops pass in review. Under cover of darkness, Ignace, Massoteau, Cordou, Jacquet leave Port la Liberté with 200 men. 700 black soldiers of the colonial army are arrested and thrown in the holds of Richepance’s ships. May 8
The rebels, accompanied by a large contingent of civilians, arrive in Basse Terre where news of the events in Pointe a Pitre and rumors of the reestablishment of slavery have already surfaced.
May 10 Louis Delgrès publishes a declaration opposing the reestablishment of slavery, "To the entire universe, the last cry of innocence and despair; To live free or die.” Richepance’s frigates appear before Basse Terre and land troops on right bank of the Duplessis River. Richepance loses 250 men in the attack. The rebels lose 100. General Merlen dispatches 600 men under Captain Crabé to the aid of Richepance. They march overland from Pointe a Pitre but are forced to retreat along a line from Morne Soldat to Three Rivers by rebels led by Palermo and Jacquet.
May 11 General Merlen reaches Palmiste, a plateau defended by a small detachment of blacks under the command of Télémaque. The French gather on the right bank of the Rivière des Pères. The Guadeloupe rebels form two defensive lines on the left bank. Meanwhile General Richepance takes the port of Basse Terre and Magloire Pélage moves into the town. The French break through the rebel lines on the Rivière des Pères and Télémaque is killed.
May 12 The rebels counterattack along a front from Bellevue to Belost and another on the banks of the Rivière aux Herbes inflicting heavy casualties on Richepance’s forces. May 14
French troops land at Duplessis and meet others coming overland and by sea from Pointe a Pitre to encircle the forces of Louis Delgrès and Ignace which hold half the town of Basse Terre and Fort St. Charles.
May 18 Delgrès launches a counter offensive. One detachment attacks the French at the Esperance plantation, another at Ducharmoy and a third at battery Delile. Loses are heavy on both sides.
May 21 A deluge of artillery fire falls on the rebels in Fort St. Charles who return the fire.
May 22 Delgrès, Ignace and the other officers leave Fort St. Charles. At Gourbeyre, the rebels are divided into two detachments. Delgrès turns toward Matouba and Ignace towards Dolé which threatens Pointe a Pitre.
May 25 Ignace attempts a diversion at Pointe a Pitre. He establishes a position on Chemin des Petites Abymes. The battle of Baimbridge starts as of 7 a.m.. Magloire Pélage is in the front ranks. The small redoubt comes under heavy fire from French artillery of the French forces. The final attack comes at 6 p.m.. Ignace refuses to surrender. Seven hundred rebels die.
May 28 Louis Delgres along with 600 men and women is surrounded by 1,800 men under General Richepance at the Danglemont plantation at Matouba. Delgres announces his decision to blow up the mansion and invites his followers to join him in the final act of suicide. Most accept. Three hundred perish in the explosion that coincides with the entry of French troops. Afterwards several dozen rebels are executed in the Place de la Victoire and at Fouillole. Richepance frees the members of the Provisional Council of Government and puts them on ships bound for France along with Magloire Pélage. Commissioner Lacrosse is appointed Captain General.
July 16 Napoleon issues a decree annulling the law of 4 February 1794 which abolished slavery.
July 17 General Richepance issues a solemn declaration announcing the restoration of the old colonial regime. Slavery is reestablished. The Code Noir regulates the colony’s affairs.
September 3 General Richepance dies of yellow fever. The population is disarmed, the rebels are hunted down and eliminated. 10,000 Guadeloupeans are killed, deported or flee. Numerous revolts commence on Grande Terre. The fight against the slave regime persists into 1803.
1808The British lay siege to Guadeloupe and take Marie Galante and Désirade islands.
1809The British capture the Saintes, land at Gosier, take Pointe a Pitre then turn on Basse Terre.
February 5 Basse Terre falls to the British.
1810February 6 The British occupy Guadeloupe.
1813Guadeloupe is ceded to Sweden by the treaty but the British occupation continues.
Sweden outlaws the slave trade in its West Indies colony.
1814May 30 The Treaty of Paris restores Guadeloupe to French sovereignty
December 7 The French reclaim Guadeloupe.
1815August 10 The British occupy Guadeloupe once again.
1816July 25 Guadeloupe reverts to French sovereignty.
1825July 26 A hurricane destroys the town of Basse Terre.
1830105 mills, half of them oxen drawn, are operating on Marie Galante.
1837Municipal government is established in Guadeloupe.
1838May 17 Grand Bourg, the capital of Marie Galante, is destroyed by fire.
1843February 8 An earthquake causes near total destruction in Pointe a Pitre. Fire destroys most of what survives. Thousands are killed or injured.
1847Sweden abolishes slavery on Saint Barthelemy.
1848April 28 Slavery is abolished in the French Empire.
May 26 The Pointe a Pitre town council meets in extraordinary session following riots and demonstrations. A resolution is adopted urging the governor to follow the example of the Martinique council and announce the anticipated emancipation of the slaves.
May 27 Governor Jean François Layrle issues a proclamation emancipating Guadeloupe’s slaves.
May 28 The Mayor of Pointe a Pitre, Theodore Antoine Champy, proclaims the abolition of slavery in the city. "All the citizens are equal, from now on they are no longer distinguish but by their virtues, their love of the order and the tranquility. And you, my new fellow citizens, who have just received the baptism of freedom and civilization, I appeal to you. Show yourselves worthy of a so great a benefit, Vive the Republic!".
1849June 24 – 25 Emancipated slaves vote in legislative elections for the first time. Louisy Mathieu is elected as Guadeloupe’s first black deputy. The balloting is marred by a bloody repression of protests against an attempt by wealthy plantation owners to rig the results.
1851The Bank of Guadeloupe is established.
1861Napoleon III grants compensation to former slave owners equal to one third of the value of their former slaves.
The first of 45,000 Indian laborers arrive in Guadeloupe.
1863Crédit Foncier Colonial (The Colonial Building & Loan Association) is established.
1865A hurricane destroys Grand Bourg on Marie Galante.
October A cholera epidemic begins in Point a Pitre. It kills 1304 people (8.3% of the population) over the next 9 months.
1869The Darboussier factory, the largest sugar refinery in the Antilles, opens at Pointe a Pitre. Proprietor Ernest Souques becomes the most influential businessman on Guadeloupe.
1871The Third Republic is established. Guadeloupe is granted elected representation in the National Assembly.
1875Sugar production ends on Saint Martin.
1880Alexandre Isaac proposes a secondary education curriculum to the General Council setting off a long and bitter debate between representatives of the white landholders and the black and mulatto masses eager for an education.
1883The Lycée Carnot is opened the former military hospital at Pointe a Pitre.
1885The Pointe a Pitre town hall opens.
1887Sweden sells Saint Barthelemy back to France. The island is placed under the administration on Guadeloupe.
May 31 Alexis Leger, future diplomat and Nobel Prize winning poet under the nom de plume St. John Perse, is born at Pointe a Pitre.
1891Hégésippe Legitimus founds the Workers Party of Guadeloupe and begins publishing Le Peuple, the island’s first socialist newspaper.
1892Guadeloupe rum exports equal its internal consumption of 36,000 hectoliters.
1897April 29 An earthquake causes serious damage and economic crisis on Guadeloupe. The social and political climate is dangerously degraded, especially for the landowners. Several plantations are burnt and the colonial social order is called into question by the black population.
May Hégésippe Legitimus is elected Deputy and President of the General Council of Guadeloupe. The new regime attacks the quasi-monopoly held by mulattos over local politics to the detriment of Blacks.
July 20 Ernest Souques and the mill owners call for annexation to the United States. Hégésippe Legitimus responds with an editorial in L’Aurore proclaiming his attachment to Republican France. Maxime Gerville Réache of La Verite declares, “We want to remain French”.
1903May Gratien Candace discusses the possibility of establishing banana plantations on Guadeloupe.
During the Year Guadeloupe rum production nearly doubles, reaching 58,280 hectoliters, following the devastation of Martinican distilleries by the eruption of Mont Pelee.
1904Hégésippe Legitimus is elected Mayor of Pointe a Pitre and Deputy for Guadeloupe. A crisis in the sugar market poses serious political and economic problems for the colony. Legitimus is forced to reach an accord with Ernest Souques and the mill owners in order to save the economy. The, “alliance of capital and workers,” causes some to brand him a class traitor. During his time in Paris, Legitimus founds and edits Les Antilles Socialistes, “The Organ of the Colonial Proletariat”.
1906Supporters of Hégésippe Legitimus and Achille René Boisneuf, editor of Le Libéral, scuffle outside Boisneuf’s home. A Legitimus supporter is killed.
1907Alexis Leger writes Images a Crusoe which is published in La Nouvelle Revue Française in 1909.
1910April 25 A mob led by Mayor Garel of Grand Bourg attacks Independent Socialist candidate Gratien Candace and his supporters during a campaign stop in Marie Galant. Newspapers backing the government approved candidate, Gérault Richard, declare that, "since their arrival in Guadeloupe, Monsieurs Candace and Maxime Gerville Réache... have conducted an appalling campaign against the whites... inflaming blacks by warning them of the worst calamities, going so far as to affirm that Parliament is planning to restore slavery". Gérault Richard goes on to win the election.
During the Year Radical Achille René Boisneuf, editor of Le Libéral, defeats Socialist Hégésippe Legitimus in elections for the Chamber of Deputies.
Sugar workers go on strike against the Darboussier refinery. Some 800 strikers from Abymes descend on Pointe a Pitre. The directors of the company take refuge in the Italian consulate before agreeing to negotiate.
Alexis Leger’s first collection of poems, Éloges, appears under the nom de plume Saint Léger Léger. The highly rhythmical poems celebrate Leger’s lost Antillean paradise and draw the attention of André Gide among others.
1911December Gratien Candace withdraws his support for senatorial candidate Joseph Vitalien, a Guadeloupean and onetime physician to the Emperor Ménélik of Ethiopia, in favor of metropolitan radical Henry Bérenger. Bérenger’s agrees to support Candace in the election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Basse Terre deputy Maxime Gérault Richard.
1912February Gratien Candace is elected to the Chamber of Deputies with less than solid support owning to the mistrust of the white Creole employers in the south of Guadeloupe.
Radical Achille René Boisneuf, editor of Le Libéral, defeats Socialist Hégésippe Legitimus to become Mayor of Pointe a Pitre. Legitimus’ supporters charge fraud.
1913Guadeloupe Deputy Gratien Candace votes in favor of legislation extending conscription to citizens of the old colonies of France.
1915The Radical deputy from Guadeloupe, Achille Rene Boisneuf, supports Martinican Socialist Joseph Lagrossilliere in proposing legislation to fully integrate the old colonies as French departments.
1918November 11 World War I ends. Guadeloupe sent 6,603 to the front of whom 1,027 were killed in action.
1919Guadeloupe rum production reaches a record 195,800 hectoliters.
1921February 19 – 21 Guadeloupe deputies Gratien Candace and Achille René-Boisneuf meet with W. E. B. du Bois at the Congress of the Black Race which meets in the Grand Hôtel in Paris under the patronage of Georges Clemenceau.
During the Year Oruno Lara, a slave descendant, writes The History of Guadeloupe to counter Auguste Lacour’s history which he perceives as emanating from the milieu of the slave owners.
East Indians are granted the right to vote in Guadeloupe.
1923The salt works on Saint Martin is closed.
1924Gratien Candace is reelected to the Chamber of Deputies defeating Achilles Rene Boisneuf in balloting marred by obvious fraud. Candace gets 1626 votes in Vieux Habitants, a town with only 80 registered voters run by Candace’s nephew Mayor Amédée Labique.
September 12 – 13 A bomb explodes during the night on the property of Mérovée Clara at Dampierre-Gosier killing four people. Police are unable to determine whether the bombing is the work of Achilles Rene-Boisneuf’s supporters or a provocation aimed at discrediting him. Boisneuf, Chathuant, Mérovée Clara and his wife are arrested.
November 4 Gratien Candace denounces the, "criminal attacks on the Guadeloupe" in a speech before the Chamber of Deputies.
December Achilles Rene-Boisneuf and his supporters are released from jail.
During the Year Alexis Leger’s epic poem Anabase is published in the Nouvelle Revue Française under the nom de plume Saint John Perse. The work is later translated into English by T. S. Eliot. Saint John Perse’s poem Amitié du Prince is published in the inaugural issue of Commerce.
1925Six workers are killed during a strike against the sugar cane planters at the Duval mill.
1927March The first issue of La Voix des Negres (Voice of the Negros) appears with an editorial by Narcisse Danae calling for an independent federation of the Antilles. The movement led by Danae and Stephane Rosso is supported by Comintern and the French Communist Party.
1928September 12 The first hurricane in the Atlantic basin ever to reach Category 5 intensity, the highest possible rating on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, passes over Guadeloupe. Barometric pressure drops to 27.76 inches and winds reach 120mph. An estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people are killed and 90% of the houses in Pointe a Pitre are destroyed.
During the Year Maurice Satineau publishes A History of Guadeloupe under the Old Regime.
1932Narcisse Danae is expelled from the French Communist Party and turns towards the asimilationist camp.
1933Alexis Leger becomes Secretary General of the French Foreign Ministry.
1935Deputy Candace Gratien supports the Laval government’s efforts to form an alliance with Italy in opposition to Hitler and announces his approval of the Italian conquest of Ethiopia as a work of civilization to further that end. 1936
May Massive fraud mars the legislative elections. Maurice Satineau, an ally of conservative Candace Gratien, wins a seat in the Chamber of Deputies over Roland René-Boisneuf by a margin of 5, 584 to 97. The Mayor of Anse Bertrand, implicated in several scandals, is saved from prosecution through the intervention of Candace. The Mayor of Saint François allows Candace’s supporters to empty the polls before the votes are counted. The Mayor of Sainte Rose, Joseph Reymonenq, defies Governor Louis Bouge’s instructions to rig the results in favor of the conservatives. The gendarmes report the mayor for reportedly exclaiming, “I sh.t on the Governor, Candace and the Captain of the Gendarmes,” in the town polling chambers.
September The Mayor of Capesterre, Raphaël Jerpan, an opponent of Deputy Gratien, is suspended on charges of forgery, fraud and conflict of interest. Supporters of Jerpan riot when the gendarmes attempt to install an administrative delegation appointed by the Governor. The gendarmes kill two people in the process of repressing the demonstrators.
October 25 Governor Bouge is recalled by Paris. Félix Eboué becomes Governor of Guadeloupe, the first Black governor of a West Indian Island.
1937Paul Valentino and several Socialists-SFIO are elected to the General Council. Tirolien, Bade and Jerpan return to their seats. Socialists-SFIO and Radicals do not get along but the former support Bérenger in his bid for the senate seat and the later are against Candace.
1938January 11 Gratien Candace is narrowly elected Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies with the support of the Right.
July 26 The Minister for Colonies, Georges Mandel, transfers Governor Felix Eboué to Chad.
October 23 Gratien Candace is defeated in his bid for the senate by Bérenger due to the opposition in the General Council from Radical Socialists whose election was validated under Governor Eboué and the Socialist SFIO elected under Eboué.
During the Year Metropolitan France buys 97% of Guadeloupe's exports. France supplies 63% of the colony's imports and the United States 17%.
1939September 14 The Governor of Guadeloupe is subordinated to the High Commissioner for the Republic in the Antilles and Commander in Chief for the Western Atlantic Theater, Admiral Georges Robert.
1940March 2 Deputy Maurice Satineu responds to criticism in an American newspaper with a lengthy panegyric published in La Voix du Peuple (The Voice of the People) in which he explains the attachment of, “Blacks who live under the glorious flag of the republic,” to France and the rights they have acquired.
April 30 Constant Sorin becomes Governor of Guadeloupe.
June 17 Govenor Sorin learns of Marshal Pétain’s intention to engage the Germans in armistice negotiations and delivers a speech to the General Council emphasizing that he has no desire to collaborate with the enemy. The discourse is poorly received by his superior, Admiral Robert, who dispatches Admiral Rouyer and the cruiser Jeanne d’Arc to Pointe à Pitre to keep an eye on things. Robert has other leverage in the situation, the Jewish ancestry of Sorin’s wife who is still living in France with the couple’s son. The Governor soon knuckles under.
June 19 Guadeloupe deputies Gratien Candace and Maurice Satineau, write President Lebrun to urging him to continue the war from North Africa.
The General Council of Guadeloupe meets in extraordinary session and approves a resolution in favor of rallying to Free France. Council President Paul Valentino cites the Tréveneuc Law of 1872 granting power to the departmental councils at such time as the National Assembly is unable to freely exercise it as the legal basis for ignoring Marshal Petain’s directives.
June Alexis Leger is dismissed as Secretary General of the French Foreign Ministry, refuses to accept an ambassadorship in Washington and goes into exile in New York. Vichy later strips him of his citizenship and property.
Chomereau Lamotte, a Guadeloupean opponent of the armistice, dies under mysterious circumstances. Admiral Rouyer declares, “He drank a bad cup of coffee.” July 7
Deputy Gratien Candace urges President Lebrun to cede his office to Marshal Petain to avoid revision of the constitutional order.
July 10 Deputies Maurice Satineau and Gratien Candace vote in favor of granting full powers to Marshal Petain. Candace retains his position as Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies.
July 11 Governor Sorin issues a decree prohibiting the cutting down of fruit trees in the colony. It is the first of many decrees aimed at making the population more aware of the necessity and possibilities for increased self-sufficiency. The colony produces practically nothing that it consumes. The economy rests almost entirely on the export of sugar and bananas.
July 21 The President of the General Council, Paul Valentino, is arrested and deported a penal colony on the Iles du Salut in Guiana after deliver a speech at the Schoelcher Museum comparing the prevailing situation to the reimposition of slavery by Napoleon in 1802.
August 19 Vichy laws banning secret societies are applied in Guadeloupe. The Masonic lodges are disbanded and their properties sequestered.
October 11 Marshal Pétain unveils the “National Revolution” declaring the abolition of the, “illusion of equality of men”, in favor of new values, “Work, Family, Fatherland”. Thereafter, Govenor Sorin devotes himself to a “cleansing” of the administration. Most elected officials, especially Blacks, are forced to make way for collaborators. Recalcitrants are interned at Fort Napoleon or in the holds of the Jeanne d’Arc on which they are transported to the penal colony in Guiana.
October The United States imposes a blockade on Guadeloupe citing its strategic position on the shipping routes and the threat to the Panama Canal. Supplies can no longer reach the colony from Metropolitan France. Gasoline and other vital supplies quickly disappear. Guadelopeans are forced to improvise. “Carburant antillais”, a mixture of hydrocarbons and sugar cane alcohol is developed to stretch supplies of gasoline.
1941July 15 -19 Empire Week festivities are staged in the “Robert Stadium” which was constructed in 1937 under the administration of Governor Eboue and commonly referred to as the “Eboue Stadium” before Vichy.
November 10 Colonial Inspector Devouton notes tense relations between Governor Sorin and Admiral Rouyer in a cable to the Secretary of State for Colonies Admiral Platon, “The stability of command in Guadeloupe suffers from difficult relations between the head of the local administration and a general officer his subordinate as head of the security services, censorship, when his grade and his character play a preponderant role...”
During the Year Gratien Candace accepts an appointment to the National Council, a rump parliament established to give Vichy an air of legitimacy.
Alexis Leger accepts an offer from Archibald MacLeish of a position as literary councilor to the Library of Congress. As St. John Perse he writes Exil which he dedicates to Archibald MacLeish and is published in French in the American review Poetry and in Marseille in Cahiers du Sud.
1942February Crucifixes are ceremoniously placed in town halls throughout the colony in place of the busts and statues of the Republican icon Marianne.
April 18 Captain Louis Charles Vidil is appointed commander of the Jeanne d’Arc the request of Colonial Inspector Devouton. British agents in Pointe a Pitre believe the move reinforces Admiral Robert’s authority in Guadeloupe. Robert placates Governor Sorin by promoting Admiral Rouyer who continues to play a role as head of the security services. April 27
Gratien Candace appears with Admiral Platon, the Secretary of State for Colonies and virulent collaborationist, at the Quinzaine Coloniale soirée.
May 1 Governor Sorin launches a, “fight against vagabondage” and requires all Guadeloupeans to carry a labor passbook.
May 15 The Bishop of Guadeloupe, Pierre Louis Genoud, chaplain of the cruiser Jeanne d’Arc, participates in a ceremonial reinstallation of a crucifix in the Pointe a Pitre town hall.
During the Year Governor Sorin organizes an expositon in Basse Terre to publicise a program of self-sufficiency he titles the, “Guadeloupean Effort”. Sorin delivers speeches in Creole extolling the virtuous labor and Christian piety of the little peasant farmers and calls on the proprietors of the best cultivatable lands and the processing plants to convert at least 20% of their holdings from sugar cane to food stuffs. The call falls on deaf ears. Alexis Leger delivers an address in honor of Aristide Briand in New York and his alter ego St. John Perse drafts a poem entitled L’ Etrangère (The Stranger) which is published in Hémisphères, a review founded in New York by Yvan Goll. 1943
March 17 Guiana rallies to Free France. Paul Valentino is released from prison on the Iles du Salut and secretly returns to Guadeloupe where he organizes resistance to the Sorin administration.
March Jean Gay is consecrated as assistant Bishop of Guadeloupe after Admiral Rouyer alleges that Bishop Genoud is senile and has surrounded himself with an entourage of Jews, Free Masons, Protestants, anti-clericals and persons of doubtful political allegiances.
April 30 Paul Valentino organizes an attack on the Port Louis police station by 60 to 80 people.
May 2 Police fire on crowd demonstrating in favor of Free France at Basse Terre. Serge Balguy, a 17 year old youth is killed. The Municipal Council appointed by Governor Sorin resigns in protest.
June 4 A Free French coup attempt lead by Paul Valentino fails.
July Bishop Jean Gay meets with Free French emissaries Rene Massigli and Rene Pleven during a stopover in Lisbon while en route to Guadeloupe and wins their approval.
July 15 Admiral Robert yields the reins of power to Free French representative Henri Hoppenot and departs Martinique for Puerto Rico. Hoppenot dispatches a small force to Guadeloupe. Governor Sorin departs for North Africa where he attempts to rally to the Gaullists.
November Paul Valentino travels to Algiers to represent Guadeloupe on the Committee of National Liberation.
During the Year St. John Perse writes Pluies (Rain)
1944St. John Perse’s Neiges (Snow) is published by Roger Caillois in the Buenos Aires review Lettres Françaises.
1945Paul Valentino is elected Mayor of Pointe a Pitre.
St. John Perse writes Vents (Wind).
1946March 19 Guadeloupe becomes an overseas department of France comprising the islands of Grande Terre, Basse Terre, Marie Galante, Saint Martin , Saint Barthelemy, Terre de Haut, Terre de Bas and Desirade.

UP - Homepage - Timeline Index