La Soufriere of Guadeloupe is a dangerous volcano characterized over the last decade by moderate seismic and fumarolic unrest. In the last 15,000 years it has experienced phreatic and magmatic eruptions and unusually numerous flank collapse events sometimes associated with a magmatic eruption. We propose a new age of 1530 A.D. and a new eruptive scenario for the last magmatic eruption on the basis of a novel statistical analysis of radiocarbon age dates, and new field and geochemical data. This eruption is the only magmatic eruption likely to have occurred in Guadeloupe during the last 1400 years. The eruption mainly involved an andesitic magma which, in the first phase of the eruption, partially mixed with a slightly more differentiated magma stored in a small and shallow magma chamber. Ascent of magma to the surface generated a partial collapse of the hydrothermally altered edifice that increased the magma discharge and led to a sub-plinian phase with scoria fallout and column-collapse pyroclastic flows followed by near-vent pyroclastic scoria fountains. The eruption ended with growth of a lava dome. Our revised interpretation of the last magmatic eruption of La Soufriere constitutes the most likely key to a future magmatic eruption scenario for this volcano which displays strong evidence of unrest since 1992. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.