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Pointe-à-Pitre

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Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadaloupe is the French Nation's Caribbean capital.


Pointe-à-Pitre
French Flag
Nation: France
Region: Antilles
Info: Unconquerable Port

This port has a RAH

Resources: None
NPC Level: Unknown
Minimap
Zoe Franche

SummaryEdit

As the capital Pointe-à-Pitre holds the Naval Headquarters for Naval Officers, the Fortune Club for Privateers and the Tradehouse for Freetraders. These offices have pennant and commendation missions for their respective classes. The Academie Nationale offers faction missions from here. In version 1.4 Point-a-Pitre was reworked resulting in a very large and maze-like city. With the revision new mission threads were added, one for the theatre and the other for the culinary school.

Pointe-à-Pitre is situated on the southwest portion of the island of Grande-Terre, facing the Caribbean Sea and is an ideal place in the center of Guadeloupe and is near the Rivière Salée ("Salt River"), which separates Grande-Terre from Basse-Terre Island. The town of Pointe-à-Pitre is surrounded by the communes of Les Abymes, Baie-Mahault and Le Gosier. Pointe-à-Pitre is on a limestone plateau, which was a factor for the construction of the city. The bay, Petit Cul-de-Sac Marin, offers a sheltered port.

HistoryEdit

The name Pointe-à-Pitre, literally the "headland of Pitre", is often said to derive from a Dutch or Jewish sailor/fisherman named Peter 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. The promontory came to be called "Pointe-à-Peter" (the "headland of Peter") and later Pointe-à-Pitre.

This explanation, however, is nowadays contested. A map from 1667 by Engineer François Blondel shows near today's downtown Pointe-à-Pitre a morne de Pitre ("Pitre hill") and a marigot de pitre ("Pitre swamp"). Other maps from the end of the 17th century show a îlet à Pitre ("Pitre islet") and a rivière à Pitre ("Pitre river") in the same area. It is unlikely that a Dutch or Jew called Peter would have settled at the same time on a promontory, on a hill, on an islet, near a swamp and along a river.

It seems more likely that the name "Pitre" comes from Spanish pitera meaning "agave" or "sisal", whose very resistant fibers were used to make ropes. Agave or sisal are also known as pita in Spanish, and the word was borrowed in French creole where it is known as pite (particularly in Haiti). It is thus possible that pitera grew on the islets, the headlands and around the swamps, and that it gave its name to the area. The headland named after the pitera plant then later gave its name to the city of Pointe-à-Pitre.

Pre-ColumbianEdit

The earliest settlers on Guadeloupe arrived around 300 BC and developed agriculture on the island. They were removed by the more warlike Caribs. It was the Caribs who called the island "Karukera," which is roughly translated as "island with beautiful waters." They were also the tribe to meet all of the later settlers to the island.

ColonizationEdit

Columbus' second journey brought him to this island on November 14, 1493. He named it for an image in a Spanish monastery he had visited: Santa María de Guadalupe de Extremadura, an image of the Virgin Mary venerated at Villuercas, in Guadalupe, Extremadura.

No settlements were established on the island for many years but it was used as a trading post by Europeans. However, in 1635 the French Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique sent explorers to take control of the island. They succeeded, but nearly wiped out the Caribs in doing so. It was not annexed to the Kingdom of France until 1674.

Idealy located at the junction of Guadeloupe's two main islands (Basse-Terre Island and Grande Terre), French colonial authorities had long thought about establishing a city on the current location of Pointe-à-Pitre, but several attempts around 1713-1730 failed due to the insalubrious swampy ground.

From 1759 through 1763, as a part of the Seven Years' War, the British took control of the island. It is only during the English occupation of Guadeloupe (1759-1763) that a settlement appeared on a hill overlooking the swamps. Proof of the island's importance came in 1763 when in the Treaty of Paris the French traded their territory in Canada to Britain in return for control of Guadeloupe. After the return of Guadeloupe to France in 1763, the city of Pointe-à-Pitre was officially founded in 1764 by a royal edict and the swamps where downtown Pointe-à-Pitre stands today were drained in the following years, thus allowing the urban development of the city.

The development of the city was important and relatively rapid. Unfortunately, in 1780, a great fire entirely destroyed Pointe-à-Pitre. The French Revolution also caused political turmoil, and control of Guadeloupe changed hands several times including 1789 and 1792. Slavery was abolished during this tumultuous time and within the year Britain had again occupied the island. Guadeloupe experienced the effects of the Reign of Terror from 1794 to 1798.

Meanwhile Louis Delgrès, a mulatto officer, led an uprising in 1802. He and 300 rebels chose to die rather than submit to the French army. Napoleon reinstated slavery when the French retook the island from the rebels. The British again held the island for three years beginning in 1810. It was ceded to Sweden in 1813 after the Napoleonic Wars. However, the Treaty of Paris in 1814 left the island to France again, though the British and Swedish did not fully acknowledge the secession. French control of the island was recognized in the Treaty of Vienna in 1815.

Sixty three years after the first great fire, in 1843, Pointe-à-Pitre was again destroyed. This time 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 ideal location and large sheltered port have nonetheless allowed Pointe-à-Pitre to become Guadeloupe's largest city and economic capital.

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