In 1635, when it was part of Saint Kitts and Nevis, an expedition was seeking a place of lasting presence in Guadeloupe. The operation was entrusted to Charles Liénard de l'Olive and Jean du Plessis d'Ossonville together with 4 missionaries and 550 colonists. The landing took place on 28 June 1635, at Pointe Allègre, far from Basse-Terre. Famine pushed the party to the south near the present town of Vieux-Fort in early 1636. The relationship between Native Americans and colonists degraded quickly; Liénard then began a bloody war against the locals. In 1660 a treaty forced him to retreat to Dominica and Saint Vincent. The war forced him to build a fort, today Fort Olive at Vieux Fort. In 1640 Aubert succeeded Liénard as the government of the island and he soon left the site to settle on the left bank of the Galion, which is the current Gourbeyre marina. In 1643 Charles Houël du Petit Pré replaced Aubert and, in 1649, he left the marina site for the right bank of the Galion and built a fort. Some religious built the first church, now the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, shortly afterwards and the city was organized around the chapel and from the fort to the river of Herbs. This was the beginning of Basse-Terre.
Around 1680 on the right bank of the river of Herbs the Capuchins build a chapel dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi where the present Guadaloupe Cathedral is located and a second centre of population grew around this place of worship. The River of Herbs separated the two distinct villages: Basse-Terre and Saint Francis. In reality, people flocked to the new town because of attacks by the English who burned the town of Basse-Terre in 1691 and again in 1703. Following these raids the people thought that the fort was attracting the invaders and consequently moved to Saint Francis. A stone bridge was built in 1739 replacing a ford and a wooden bridge across the river of Herbs.
On 23 January 1759 the island was taken over by the British who devastated the island. The island was occupied by the British until 10 February 1763. The colony was experiencing a resurgence of activity despite the founding of Pointe-à-Pitre in 1764
a town in a better position for the ocean swell
and despite a fire in September 1782. The town was partially redesigned around 1787.
The French Revolution reached the island and therefore Basse-Terre in September 1789. The English passed the town to Governor Collot and Victor Hugues on 22 April 1789. Colot and Hugues were sent by the National Convention in Paris to take the colony in hand and abolish slavery. They dislodged the cannon in December 1794 and installed a guillotine. The city was the scene of military operations conducted by General Richepanse, who was sent by Napoleon to reestablish slavery, against Louis Delgrès in 1802. Delgrès retreated to the fort on 20 May 1802 and abandoned it on 22 May.