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Deshaies  is a charming little fishing village in the Guadeloupe archipelago located in the northwest of Basse-Terre. Its village with its Creole huts is nestled at the bottom of a bay protected by the mountain.

Its known history dates back to the 17th century, at the time of the first settlers. According to the anecdote, the Genoese sailor even stopped in the bay and got his water from the river.

Des hayes was then part of the parish of Grand Cul de Sac which  extended over the current communes of Pointe-Noire, Deshaies, Sainte-Rose, Lamentin and Baie-Mahault. According to the archives of 1671, Deshaies had 24 dwellings, including that of Mr Potherie who had built a mill and a sugar refinery on the site of the current town. The name of Des Hayes would come from a native who gave his name to the river and the cove of the village.

During the sugar crisis of 1686, the economy declined. Faced with frequent attacks by the English, looting by pirates, the place was gradually depopulated. Thus the inhabitants who remained turned to food crops and small livestock. The center of the parish was not at the current location, it was Grande Anse which was the religious and administrative center in the  17th century.

It was not until 1730 that the town settled in Anse de Des Hayes, it was decided to build a church there   which was then easily accessible by canoe.

The 18th century was marked by multiple invasions by corsairs and wars with the English. Faced with these repeated attacks and lootings, the district remained isolated, so the militias were formed and defense points created at Gros Morne, Pointe Batterie and Pointe Ferry. (you can still see the guns of Pointe Batterie and Gros Morne)

At the end of the old regime, the largest mass consisted of 726 slaves against 137 white and 54 free color.

In 1789, it was the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era was on the contrary detrimental to the development of deshaies. From 1803, Deshaies suffered new attacks from the English with the naval battle. The looting that followed the following year   as well as the epidemics and swamp fevers that followed caused_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb5cf58d_a strong population exodus_cc781905-5dun . Thus in 1822, the territory had only 494 souls.

The abolition of slavery in 1848 radically changed social relations. The town experienced some periods of strong tension between owners and workers. The town because of its isolation was particularly marginalized until the 2nd World War. Deshaies was almost exclusively turned towards the sea, transporting the charcoal produced on site to Basse-Terre in a traditional sailing canoe. This situation predisposed her to careers in the sea.

"The grateful leeward coast" is the inscription which will be  carried on the commemorative terminal of the opening of the RN2 in 1957. This RN2 connects Deshaies to its natural and administrative environment. The road opening up was fatal to maritime transport.

Deshaies then found an opportunity to develop promising assets for the future: the tourist economy.

In the 1960s, the current Langley Fort Royal hotel was opened, built on a former defense site at Pointe du bas Vent.

This tourist industry has allowed the creation of multiple complementary activities (nautical base, sport fishing, hiking, scuba diving...) as well as the development of cruise tourism which makes Deshaies a world-famous tourist destination.



Deshaies, "haven of peace"

Deshaies Guadeloupe
Baie de Deshaies by Tropicalsub Diving
Carte de Guadeloupe
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