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Pointe-à-Pitre (Municipality, Guadeloupe, France


Last modified: 2023-05-13 by olivier touzeau
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Flag of Pointe-à-Pitre - Image by Olivier Touzeau, 17 March 2023

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Presentation of Pointe-à-Pitre

Pointe-à-Pitre (Antillean Creole: Pwentapit, or simply Lapwent) is a commune of Guadeloupe in the urban unit Pointe-à-Pitre–Les Abymes (251,000 inhabitants), and located at the junction of Guadeloupe's two main 'island' districts, Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre. There are 15,200 inhabitants on 2.66 km².

The name Pointe-à-Pitre (headland of Pitre) could derive from a Dutch fisherman called "Pieter", who settled in the 17th century on a promontory facing the Îlet à Cochon ("Hogs Islet"), just to the south of today's downtown Pointe-à-Pitre.

French colonial authorities attempted several times to establish a city on the current location of Pointe-à-Pitre around 1713-1730, but failed due to the insalubrious swampy ground. During the British occupation of Guadeloupe (1759–1763) a settlement appeared on a hill overlooking the swamps. After the return of Guadeloupe to France in 1763, the city of Pointe-à-Pitre was officially founded under governor Gabriel de Clieu in 1764 by royal edict, and the swamps were drained in the following years. The development of the city was relatively rapid, partly thanks to the corsairs. In 1780, however, a great fire entirely destroyed Pointe-à-Pitre. In 1843, it was again destroyed by an earthquake. The history of Pointe-à-Pitre is marked by many disasters: the fires of 1850, 1871 and 1931, the earthquakes of 1851 and 1897 and the hurricanes of 1865 and 1928. The city also experienced several epidemics of cholera. Its location and large sheltered port have nonetheless allowed Pointe-à-Pitre to become Guadeloupe's economic capital.

Olivier Touzeau, 17 March 2023

Flag of Pointe-à-Pitre

Tha flag of Pointe-à-Pitre (photo from this page) is white with the coat of arms and the name of the commune.

Olivier Touzeau, 17 March 2023