Guadeloupe is an overseas department of France in the Caribbean. It lies north of Dominica and south of Montserrat and Antigua and Barbuda. The archipelago comprises six inhabited islands, namely, Basse-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Desirade, and Grande-Terre, and the two inhabited islands of Iles des Saintes. Formerly, the department also included Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin that were separated from Guadeloupe in 2007.
The key drivers of Guadeloupe’s economy are tourism, services, agriculture, and the light industry. The region is also dependent on France for its important subsidies and imports such as food and manufactured goods.
Guadeloupe’s staple export products are bananas, rum, and sugar. However, banana exports were impacted by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Nevertheless, the nation’s GDP showed a growth of 3.4% in that same year. Other light industry products include solar energy, furniture, clothing, and cement.
Tourism also plays an indispensable role in the economy, with the majority of its visitors being from North America and mainland France.
As an integral part of France and a constituent territory of the European Union, Guadeloupe’s official currency is the euro. Before the euro, the region’s monetary unit was the Guadeloupe franc which was subdivided into 100 centimes. It was launched in 1816 after France recovered the archipelago from Great Britain.
In 1948, the Loan Bank of the Banque de Pret issued banknotes in 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1000 francs. In 1854, the Guadeloupe and Dependencies, Colonial Treasury released a 1 franc Bons de Caisse (certificates of deposit), followed by 2 francs in 1864. In 1884, 50 centimes, 5, and 10 franc denominations were also issued.
The Banque de la Guadeloupe issued banknotes designed by Guillaume Alphonse Cabasson in 1874. Same notes with modified issuer names also circulated in Martinique, French Guiana, Reunion, and Senegal. A 500-franc banknote was released in 1997 which was followed by 50 centimes, 1, 2, 25, and 100 franc banknotes in 1920, and a 5-franc note in 1928.
In 1944, the Caisse Central de la France d’Outre Mer took over the production of notes and in 1963, the Institut d’Emission des Departements d’Outre-Mer was responsible for paper money production.