Guadeloupe


Guadeloupe
/gwahd'l oohp"/, n.
two islands (Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre) separated by a narrow channel in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies: together with five dependencies they form an overseas department of France. 334,900; 687 sq. mi. (1179 sq. km). Cap.: Basse-Terre.

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Guadeloupe

Introduction Guadeloupe -
Background: Guadeloupe has been a French possession since 1635. The island of Saint Martin is shared with the Netherlands; its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles and its northern portion is named Saint- Martin and is part of Guadeloupe Geography Guadeloupe
Location: Caribbean, islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea, southeast of Puerto Rico
Geographic coordinates: 16 15 N, 61 35 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 1,780 sq km note: Guadeloupe is an archipelago of nine inhabited islands, including Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie- Galante, La Desirade, Iles des Saintes (2), Saint-Barthelemy, Iles de la Petite Terre, and Saint-Martin (French part of the island of Saint Martin) water: 74 sq km land: 1,706 sq km
Area - comparative: 10 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: total: 10.2 km border countries: Netherlands Antilles (Sint Maarten) 10.2 km
Coastline: 306 km
Maritime claims: exclusive economic zone: 200 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
Climate: subtropical tempered by trade winds; moderately high humidity
Terrain: Basse-Terre is volcanic in origin with interior mountains; Grande- Terre is low limestone formation; most of the seven other islands are volcanic in origin
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m highest point: Soufriere 1,484 m
Natural resources: cultivable land, beaches and climate that foster tourism
Land use: arable land: 10.65% permanent crops: 4.14% other: 85.21% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (June to October); Soufriere de Guadeloupe is an active volcano Environment - current issues: NA
Geography - note: a narrow channel, the Riviere Salee, divides Guadeloupe proper into two islands: the larger, western Basse- Terre and the smaller, eastern Grande-Terre People Guadeloupe -
Population: 435,739 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 24.9% (male 55,393; female 53,047) 15-64 years: 66.2% (male 142,945; female 145,757) 65 years and over: 8.9% (male 16,168; female 22,429) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.04% (2002 est.)
Birth rate: 16.53 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate: 6.03 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/ female total population: 0.97 male(s)/ female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate: 9.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 77.35 years female: 80.66 years (2002 est.) male: 74.19 years
Total fertility rate: 1.92 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Guadeloupian(s) adjective: Guadeloupe
Ethnic groups: black or mulatto 90%, white 5%, East Indian, Lebanese, Chinese less than 5%
Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Hindu and pagan African 4%, Protestant 1%
Languages: French (official) 99%, Creole patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 90% male: 90% female: 90% (1982 est.) Government Guadeloupe -
Country name: conventional long form: Department of Guadeloupe conventional short form: Guadeloupe local short form: Guadeloupe local long form: Departement de la Guadeloupe
Dependency status: overseas department of France
Government type: NA
Capital: Basse-Terre Administrative divisions: none (overseas department of France)
Independence: none (overseas department of France)
National holiday: Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system: French legal system
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France (since 17 May 1995), represented by Prefect Jean- Francois CARENCO (since NA July 1999) election results: NA elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; the presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by the members of those councils head of government: President of the General Council Jacques GILLOT (since 23 March 2001); President of the Regional Council Lucette MICHAUX-CHEVRY (since 22 March 1992) cabinet: NA
Legislative branch: unicameral General Council or Conseil General (42 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the unicameral Regional Council or Conseil Regional (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) elections: General Council - last held 22 March 1998 (next to be held by NA 2004); Regional Council - last held 15 March 1998 (next to be held NA 2004) note: Guadeloupe elects two representatives to the French Senate; elections last held NA September 1995 (next to be held NA September 2004); percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - RPR 1, FGPS 1; Guadeloupe elects four representatives to the French National Assembly; elections last held 9 June-16 June 2002 (next to be held NA 2002); percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA election results: General Council - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - diverse left parties 11, PS 8, RPR 8, PPDG 6, diverse right parties 5, PCG 3, UDF 1; Regional Council - percent of vote by party - RPR 48.03%, PS/PPDG/ diverse left parties 24.49%, PCG 5.29%, diverse right parties 5.73%; seats by party - RPR 25, PS/PPDG/ diverse left parties 12, PCG 2, diverse right parties 2
Judicial branch: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel with jurisdiction over Guadeloupe, French Guiana, and Martinique Political parties and leaders: Communist Party of Guadeloupe or PCG [Christian CELESTE]; FGPS [Dominique LARIFLA]; Progressive Democratic Party or PPDG [Henri BANGOU]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Aldo BLAISE]; Socialist Party or PS [Georges LOUISOR]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Marcel ESDRAS] Political pressure groups and Christian Movement for the
leaders: Liberation of Guadeloupe or KLPG; General Federation of Guadeloupe Workers or CGT-G; General Union of Guadeloupe Workers or UGTG; Movement for Independent Guadeloupe or MPGI International organization FZ, WCL, WFTU
participation: Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas department of France) Diplomatic representation from the none (overseas department of France)
US:
Flag description: the flag of France is used Economy Guadeloupe
Economy - overview: The economy depends on agriculture, tourism, light industry, and services. It also depends on France for large subsidies and imports. Tourism is a key industry, with most tourists from the US; an increasingly large number of cruise ships visit the islands. The traditional sugarcane crop is slowly being replaced by other crops, such as bananas (which now supply about 50% of export earnings), eggplant, and flowers. Other vegetables and root crops are cultivated for local consumption, although Guadeloupe is still dependent on imported food, mainly from France. Light industry features sugar and rum production. Most manufactured goods and fuel are imported. Unemployment is especially high among the young. Hurricanes periodically devastate the economy.
GDP: purchasing power parity - $3.7 billion (1997 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: NA%
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $9,000 (1997 est.) GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 15% industry: 17% services: 68% (1997 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%
Labor force: 125,900 (1997) Labor force - by occupation: NA
Unemployment rate: 27.8% (1998)
Budget: revenues: $225 million expenditures: $390 million, including capital expenditures of $105 million (1996)
Industries: construction, cement, rum, sugar, tourism Industrial production growth rate: NA% Electricity - production: 1.39 billion kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 1.293 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: bananas, sugarcane, tropical fruits and vegetables; cattle, pigs, goats
Exports: $140 million (f.o.b., 1997)
Exports - commodities: bananas, sugar, rum
Exports - partners: France 60%, Martinique 18%, US 4% (1997)
Imports: $1.7 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, fuels, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods, construction materials
Imports - partners: France 63%, Germany 4%, US 3%, Japan 2%, Netherlands Antilles 2% (1997)
Debt - external: $NA Economic aid - recipient: $NA; note - substantial annual French subsidies
Currency: euro (EUR); French franc (FRF)
Currency code: EUR; FRF
Exchange rates: Euros per US dollar - 1.1324 (January 2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar - 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997)
Fiscal year: calendar year Communications Guadeloupe - Telephones - main lines in use: 171,000 (1996) Telephones - mobile cellular: NA
Telephone system: general assessment: domestic facilities inadequate domestic: NA international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); microwave radio relay to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and Martinique Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 17, shortwave 0 (1998)
Radios: 113,000 (1997) Television broadcast stations: 5 (plus several low-power repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 118,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .gp Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2000)
Internet users: 4,000 (2000) Transportation Guadeloupe -
Railways: total: NA km; privately owned, narrow-gauge plantation lines
Highways: total: 2,560 km paved: 965 km unpaved: 1,595 km (1996)
Waterways: none
Ports and harbors: Basse-Terre, Gustavia (on Saint Barthelemy), Marigot, Pointe-a-Pitre
Merchant marine: total: 1 ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,240 GRT/109 DWT ships by type: passenger 1 note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: France 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 9 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 8 over 3,047 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 2 under 914 m: 5 (2001) Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 1 under 914 m: 1 (2001) Military Guadeloupe -
Military branches: no regular indigenous military forces; French Forces, Gendarmerie
Military - note: defense is the responsibility of France Transnational Issues Guadeloupe - Disputes - international: none

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Overseas department of France (pop., 2002 est.: 432,000), eastern West Indies.

Consisting of the islands of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre and several smaller islands, its land area is 658 sq mi (1,705 sq km); the capital is Basse-Terre. Saint-Barthélemy and the northern two-thirds of Saint-Martin are dependencies, lying 150 mi (240 km) northwest of it. Forests and tree crops such as coffee abound on the mountains of Basse-Terre, while sugarcane is cultivated on Grande-Terre. The Carib Indians held off the Spanish and French for a number of years before the islands became part of France in 1674. The British occupied Guadeloupe for short periods in the 18th–19th centuries; the islands became officially French in 1815. In 1946 it was made a department of France. Tourism has benefited the economy in recent decades.

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▪ overseas department, France
Introduction
officially  Department of Guadeloupe,  French  Département de la Guadeloupe 
  overseas département of France consisting of a group of islands in the Lesser Antilles chain in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The nearest neighbours of the principal islands are the British overseas territory of Montserrat to the northwest and the republic of Dominica to the south. The island of Martinique, also a French overseas département, lies about 74 miles (120 km) to the south. The main territory of Guadeloupe consists of the twin islands of Basse-Terre to the west and Grande-Terre to the east, the two being separated by a narrow channel, the Salée River; other islands in the group are Marie-Galante to the southeast, La Désirade (Désirade, La) to the east, and the Saintes Islands (Terre d'en Haut and Terre d'en Bas) to the south. Two French overseas collectivities— Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, the French-administered part of the island of Saint Martin (the southern third of which is administered by The Netherlands as Sint Maarten)—were part of Guadeloupe until 2007. They are situated about 150 miles (240 km) to the northwest, lying to the northwest of the outer arc of the Lesser Antilles. Basse-Terre, on the island of the same name, is the seat of government. The largest urban area, however, centres around Pointe-à-Pitre on Grande-Terre, the chief port and economic hub of Guadeloupe.

Land

Relief (Guadeloupe) and drainage
 Basse-Terre, which accounts for more than half of Guadeloupe's land area, has a chain of mountains running north to south and culminating in Soufrière, a volcano rising to 4,813 feet (1,467 metres) above sea level; it erupted in 1797, 1837, and 1976–77 and is now a source of hot springs and sulfur springs. Other summits of note are Mount Sans Toucher, at 4,442 feet (1,354 metres), and Grande Découverte, at 4,143 feet (1,263 metres). The mountain chain forms a watershed from which rivers run down to the sea. The principal river on the island is the Goyaves; other streams are the Grande Plaine, the Petite Plaine, the Moustique, the Lézarde, and the Rose. Basse-Terre's coastline is indented with bays and fringed with picturesque beaches. Grande-Terre has an area of 220 square miles (570 square km) and is generally low-lying; it has only a few bluffs higher than 490 feet (150 metres).

Climate
      The tropical climate is tempered by the northeast trade winds. The temperature on the coast varies between 77 and 82 °F (25 and 28 °C), with extremes of 68 and 93 °F (20 and 34 °C). In the mountains above 1,900 feet (580 metres) the temperature may drop to 61 °F (16 °C), and at the summit of Soufrière to 39 °F (4 °C). There are two distinct seasons—the “Creole Lent,” or dry season (December to April), and winter, or rainy season (July to September–October). Precipitation varies with elevation and orientation. Grande-Terre receives approximately 40 inches (990 mm) of rain a year, while the mountainous parts of Basse-Terre receive more than 100 inches (2,540 mm). Hurricanes occur occasionally, in most cases coming from the south.

Plant and animal life
      The heat, rainfall, and fertility of the volcanic soils produce a luxuriant vegetation diversified according to elevation. About two-fifths of the islands' area, most of it on Basse-Terre, is covered by forests. Extensive mangrove swamps cover the banks of the Salée River. Dense forest grows in the mountainous regions of Basse-Terre, beginning almost at sea level on the windward slopes and at elevations of about 750 to 3,000 feet (230 to 900 metres) or more on the leeward side. There chestnut trees and bracken are found, as well as such hardwoods as mahogany and ironwood. On the highest peaks some flooded basins are covered with grasses and sedges. Grande-Terre, cleared of most of its original forests, has only a few patches of woodland. The smaller islands, such as La Désirade, have a different type of vegetation, consisting primarily of dry forest with groves of latania (a kind of fan palm) and cactus.

      Animal life has been modified since colonial times. Raccoons are plentiful and are sought for their fur. Agoutis (short-haired, short-eared, rabbitlike rodents), mongooses, and Guadeloupe woodpeckers inhabit the highlands of the island of Basse-Terre. In some regions, wild ducks, waterfowl, and teal are found.

      The warm waters around the islands support a rich variety of marine life, including lobsters, crabs, octopuses, tarpons, snooks (a basslike kind of fish), hogfishes, snappers, parrot fishes, and many species of rays.

People (Guadeloupe)
 The population is composed principally of Creoles (Creole) (i.e., persons born in the islands), most of whom are of mixed African (black) and European (white) ancestry. The largest minorities in Guadeloupe are the black and French Amerindian groups. The white population greatly declined during the period of the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century; today whites make up only a tiny minority. On the smaller islands, whites are mostly descended from 17th-century Norman and Breton settlers. French is the official language, and a local creole (creole languages) is also widely spoken. Some four-fifths of the people are Roman Catholic; there are also smaller proportions of Jehovah's Witnesses and Protestants.

      Guadeloupe's population has a low rate of natural increase compared with other West Indian islands. Its birth and death rates are lower than the Caribbean average but about the same as those of its French counterpart, Martinique. The vast majority of the population resides on the two largest islands; Marie-Galante is the next most populous island, followed by Saintes Islands and La Désirade.

Economy
      Government services are central to the island's economy, which is primarily sustained by the salaries of officials and by French aid in the form of allocations and grants. Tourism, which has grown in importance, is the main source of foreign exchange. Manufacturing and agriculture account for few jobs. The islanders' standard of living is among the highest in the eastern Caribbean.

Agriculture and fishing
      Bananas and sugarcane are the principal cash crops. Coffee, vanilla, cacao, vegetables, coconuts, and fruits are also grown. Eggplants and flowers are chiefly grown for export. Most of the small fish catch is exported.

Manufacturing and services
      An industrial zone and a free port have been developed at Jarry, near Pointe-à-Pitre. The major products include cement, sugar, rum, clothing, wooden furniture, and metalware. The service sector—notably, public administration, education, and health and social services—is the largest single source of employment and makes the greatest contribution to gross domestic product. Tourism is another important activity for the economy.

Trade
      Guadeloupe has a chronically large annual deficit in the balance of external trade, with the value of imports vastly outstripping that of exports. The bulk of trade is with France; Martinique, Germany, and the United States are lesser trading partners. Most imports consist of food and agricultural products, machinery and equipment, and vehicles and parts. Most of the banana crop and raw sugar are exported to France. Other fruits and vegetables, rum, and flowers are also exported.

Transportation
      Guadeloupe maintains regular air and sea links with France and with the North American continent. The port of Pointe-à-Pitre is equipped to handle cargoes of minerals, sugar, and cereals. The port of Basse-Terre specializes in the banana export trade. Guadeloupe's international airport is located north of Pointe-à-Pitre. There are also airports on the smaller islands, including Marie-Galante and La Désirade.

      Local steamers connect Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre with the other islands of Guadeloupe. The road system on the main islands is kept in excellent condition. Except for some privately owned plantation lines, there are no railways in Guadeloupe.

Government and society
      The French government is represented in the département by an appointed prefect and two subprefects. Executive authority lies with the presidents of the 42-member General Council and the 41-member Regional Council. The two councils, whose members are popularly elected for six-year terms, form the legislative branch. Guadeloupe sends representatives to the French National Assembly, the French Senate, and the European Parliament. Since 1974 Guadeloupe has had the status of a full région of France. The territory of Guadeloupe is divided into two arrondissements (Basse-Terre and Pointe-à-Pitre), which are in turn divided into cantons and communes, each administered by an elected municipal council.

Justice
      Guadeloupe's judicial system follows the French model. There are a court of appeal at Basse-Terre, two higher courts (tribunaux de grande instance), and four lower courts (tribunaux d'instance). Justices of the peace are established in each of the cantons.

Education
      French is the medium of instruction. As it is in metropolitan France, education is compulsory from age 6 to 16. In addition to the 5-year primary schools, there are lycées and collèges (upper and lower secondary schools, respectively) as well as a teacher-training college. A school of humanities, a law and economics school, a school of medicine, and a school of science at Pointe-à-Pitre are part of the University of the Antilles and Guiana.

Health and welfare
      The same social legislation is in effect as in metropolitan France. There is a general hospital at Pointe-à-Pitre, where there is also a research facility of the Pasteur Institute. There are also a number of other hospitals and clinics. The life expectancy in Guadeloupe is among the highest in the region.

Cultural life
      Folk culture is of considerable significance, and colourful native costumes, including the unique madras et foulard (an outfit of a headdress and shawl, made up of scarves), may still be seen on holidays. Celebrations, particularly the annual pre-Lenten Carnival, feature Creole music and folk dances, such as the beguine (a rumbalike ballroom dance). Several museums, including the Victor Schoelcher Museum in Pointe-à-Pitre, are located in urban areas, and Pointe-à-Pitre also has a performing arts centre. Several newspapers are printed on the islands.

History (Guadeloupe)
      Visited in November 1493 by Christopher Columbus (Columbus, Christopher), the two main islands—then together known as Karukera (“Island of Beautiful Waters”)—were peopled by Caribs (Carib), who had displaced the original Arawak inhabitants. Columbus consecrated the territory to Our Lady of Guadalupe of Extremadura in Spain, from whom it takes its name.

French rule
      The Caribs repulsed Spanish troops and settlers in 1515, 1520, and 1523. In 1626 the Spanish, who had established themselves on the coast, were driven away by Pierre Bélain, sieur d'Esnambuc (Bélain, Pierre, sieur d'Esnambuc), a Frenchman who established a trading company. In 1635 two other Frenchmen, Léonard de L'Olive and Jean Duplessis d'Ossonville, landed and established a colony. Until 1640 the colonists fought against the Carib Indians, but thereafter the colony grew. In 1644 the slave trade first brought workers for the sugar, coffee, and other plantations that the colonists established, and slavery became institutionalized. In 1674 Guadeloupe passed from the hands of chartered companies, which had been ruined in successive attempts to colonize the islands, to the authority of the French crown. It became a dependency of Martinique, which it remained until 1775. Guadeloupe benefited from the influence of Jean-Baptiste Labat, a strong leader who was the effective founder of the Basse-Terre colony and who in 1703 armed the island's African slaves to fight against the English; he also established the first sugar refineries, thereby laying the foundation for the economic prosperity that followed.

      In 1759 Guadeloupe was occupied by the British for four years but was restored to France in 1763. In 1794 it was again occupied by British troops, allied with French royalists, but the French revolutionary official Victor Hugues recaptured it, abolished slavery, and had several hundred white planters massacred. When Napoleon I's government reestablished slavery in the French colonies in 1802, a slave revolt occurred. It culminated as antislavery forces blew themselves up rather than surrender when threatened at Matouba by French forces under the command of Gen. Antoine Richepanse. The British occupied Guadeloupe in 1810; however, after some changes in status, it was restored to France in 1816.

      The final abolition of slavery in 1848 was the most significant 19th-century development in the territory. Universal suffrage was abolished during the reign of Napoleon III of France, but in 1870 colonial representation in the French Parliament was restored. In 1940 Guadeloupe gave its allegiance to the Vichy (Vichy France) government of Nazi-occupied France during World War II (1939–45), but in 1943 it adhered to Gen. Charles de Gaulle's Free French forces. In 1946 it was given the status of a French département, and in 1974 it became a région of France.

Political and economic changes since 1950
      Several independence movements emerged on Guadeloupe after the war, but the charismatic appeals of de Gaulle, who visited the island in 1956, 1960, and 1964, managed to sidestep the separatists and convince the majority to stay within the French union. More local control was granted the island, but as progress on autonomy talks slowed to a standstill in the 1970s, separatist groups became increasingly violent. Several bombings on the islands and in Paris were attributed to Caribbean independence groups. Despite further acts of violence in the 1980s by these groups and their gains in local government, the French government reiterated its determination to maintain département status for Guadeloupe. The lack of economic improvement, however, provided some stimulus to those seeking independence. The status of Guadeloupean products, especially bananas, in the new European market became a key concern as Guadeloupe and other overseas départements joined the European Union. In 2000 the French Parliament approved several institutional reforms proposed by the leaders of the Caribbean départements, transferring to the local assemblies many responsibilities previously reserved to France, including international relations. In a 2003 referendum, the populations of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy voted for secession from Guadeloupe, and in 2007 the two former arrondissements became overseas collectivities of France.

Robert Cornevin Ed.

Additional Reading
Guy Lasserre, La Guadeloupe: Étude géographique, 3 vol. (1978), is a detailed geography. Travel guides include Pascale Couture, Guadeloupe, 5th ed. (2005); and Lynne M. Sullivan, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, & St. Lucia Alive! (2002). Jean Benoist (ed.), L'Archipel inachevé: culture et société aux Antilles françaises (1972), is an anthropological study of the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, La Désirade, Marie-Galante, and Saint-Barthélemy. Albert L. Gastmann, Historical Dictionary of the French and Netherlands Antilles (1978), is a useful reference, though dated. Marion Goslinga (compiler), Guadeloupe (2000), is a bibliographic guide. Ed.

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Universalium. 2010.

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