Guadeloupe Fund

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King Charles XIV
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King Charles XIV

The Guadeloupe Fund (Swedish: Guadeloupefonden) was established by Sweden's Riksdag of the Estates in 1815 for the benefit of Crown Prince and Regent Charles XIV of Sweden, also known as Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, and his heirs.

On March 3, 1813, the island of Guadeloupe was ceded by Britain to "His Royal Majesty the King of Sweden, and his successor to the Swedish throne according to the Act of Succession of September 26, 1810" in order to keep the Crown Prince "at least partially compensated for the donations and other property, which he had lost as a since being called to the succession of the Swedish throne" and as a consequence of Sweden's involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. Crown Prince Charles, or Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, had been one of the most successful soldiers in Napoleonic France. He was a Empire Marshal of France, a former minister of war and had been created Prince of Ponte Corvo by Napoleon, before accepting the election as heir to the Swedish throne. Under the powerless King Charles XIII of Sweden, his adoptive father, the Crown Prince was effectively the regent of the country, and when Sweden sided with Napoleon's enemies, Bernadotte came to be seen as a traitor to his native France. Upon Sweden's accession to the Sixth Coalition, the offer of a West Indies island by Britain was an attempt to in some way compensate for this. Guadeloupe was conveniently located in proximity to the Swedish colony of Saint-Barthélemy.

After France had been defeated and Napoleon exiled to Elba, the Treaty of Paris of 1814 settled the terms of the peace, in which Guadeloupe, having earlier been a French possession, was returned to France. On August 13, 1814, a settlement of 24 million francs was reached with Britain as a replacement for the intended compensation.

The Crown Prince, acting as regent, used about half of the sum to pay off Government debts; the rest went to various projects of public benefit. In recognition of this, the Riksdag of 1815 instituted that the Crown Prince and his heirs would receive an annual installment of 300,000 Riksdaler, which was to be paid out in perpetuity.

In the middle of the 20th century the scheme came under close scrutiny and, following a settlement between the Crown and the House of Bernadotte, the last payment of the fund was made in 1983.

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