Famous explorer Christopher Columbus first set foot on the archipelago in 1493 and baptized it 'Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Estremadura', later simplified to Guadeloupe, in reference to a monastery in the land of his sponsors, Spain.
The archipelago became a French possession in 1635. But despite the distance separating it from Europe, Guadeloupe was also the center of many long battles between the French and the English. During the Seven-Years War, for instance, the archipelago was occupied by Great Britain.
In 1794, the abolition of slavery was pronounced in Guadeloupe, but Napoleon Bonaparte then decided to bring it back in 1802. Despite resistance, slavery would only be abolished again in 1848, under France's Second Republic.