Guadeloupe (Antillean Creole: Gwadloup) 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 km2 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, and 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 virtually the entire population except recent arrivals from metropolitan France. The island is called "Gwadada" by the locals.
The island was called "Karukera" (or "The Island of Beautiful Waters") 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.