Martinique (French pronunciation: [maʁtiˈnik]) is an insular region of France located in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 square kilometres (436 sq mi) and a population of 376,480 inhabitants as of January 2016. Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. One of the Windward Islands, it is directly north of Saint Lucia, southeast of Greater Antilles, northwest of Barbados, and south of Dominica.
As with the other overseas departments, Martinique is one of the eighteen regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the French Republic. As part of France, Martinique is part of the European Union, and its currency is the euro. The official language is French, and virtually the entire population also speaks Antillean Creole (Créole Martiniquais).
|• President of Executive Council||Alfred Marie-Jeanne|
|• Total||1,128 km2 (436 sq mi)|
|• Density||330/km2 (860/sq mi)|
Martiniquais (m) / Martiniquaise (f)
|Time zone||UTC-04 (ECT)|
|ISO 3166 code||MQ|
|GDP (2012)||Ranked 23rd|
|Total||€8.35 billion (US$10.7 bn)|
|Per capita||€21,527 (US$27,688)|
|Website||Prefecture, Territorial collectivity|
The island was then called "Jouanacaëra-Matinino", which came from a mythical island described by the Taínos of Hispaniola. According to historian Sydney Daney, the island was called "Jouanacaëra" by the Caribs, which means "the island of iguanas".
When Columbus landed on the island in 1502, he christened the island as Martinica; through the influence of the neighboring island of Dominica (La Dominique), it came to be known as Martinique.
The island is called "Madinina" by the locals.
The island was occupied first by Arawaks, then by Caribs. The Carib people had migrated from the mainland to the islands about 1201 CE, according to carbon dating of artifacts. They were largely displaced, exterminated and assimilated by the Taino, who were resident on the island in the 1490s.
Martinique was charted by Columbus in 1493, but Spain had little interest in the territory.
On 15 September 1635, Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc, French governor of the island of St. Kitts, landed in the harbor of St. Pierre with 150 French settlers after being driven off St. Kitts by the English. D'Esnambuc claimed Martinique for the French King Louis XIII and the French "Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique" (Company of the American Islands), and established the first European settlement at Fort Saint-Pierre (now St. Pierre). D'Esnambuc died in 1636, leaving the company and Martinique in the hands of his nephew, Jacques Dyel du Parquet, who in 1637, became governor of the island.
In 1636, the indigenous Caribs rose against the settlers to drive them off the island in the first of many skirmishes. The French successfully repelled the natives and forced them to retreat to the eastern part of the island, on the Caravelle Peninsula in the region then known as the Capesterre. When the Carib revolted against French rule in 1658, the Governor Charles Houël du Petit Pré retaliated with war against them. Many were killed; those who survived were taken captive and expelled from the island. Some Carib had fled to Dominica or St. Vincent, where the French agreed to leave them at peace.
Because there were few Catholic priests in the French Antilles, many of the earliest French settlers were Huguenots who sought greater religious freedom than what they could experience in mainland France. They were quite industrious and became quite prosperous. Although edicts from King Louis XIV's court regularly came to the islands to suppress the Protestant "heretics", these were mostly ignored by island authorities until Louis XIV's Edict of Revocation in 1685.
From September 1686 to early 1688, the French crown used Martinique as a threat and a dumping ground for mainland Huguenots who refused to reconvert to Catholicism. Over 1,000 Huguenots were transported to Martinique during this period, usually under miserable and crowded ship conditions that caused many of them to die en route. Those that survived the trip were distributed to the island planters as Engagés (Indentured servants) under the system of serf peonage that prevailed in the French Antilles at the time.
As many of the planters on Martinique were themselves Huguenot, and who were sharing in the suffering under the harsh strictures of the Revocation, they began plotting to emigrate from Martinique with many of their recently arrived brethren. Many of them were encouraged by their Catholic brethren who looked forward to the departure of the heretics and seizing their property for themselves. By 1688, nearly all of Martinique's French Protestant population had escaped to the British American colonies or Protestant countries back home. The policy decimated the population of Martinique and the rest of the French Antilles and set back their colonization by decades, causing the French king to relax his policies in the islands yet leaving the islands susceptible to British occupation over the next century.
Under Governor of the Antilles Charles de Courbon, comte de Blénac, Martinique served as a home port for French pirates including Captain Crapeau, Etienne de Montauban, and Mathurin Desmarestz. In later years pirate Bartholomew Roberts styled his jolly roger as a black flag depicting a pirate standing on two skulls labeled "ABH" and "AMH" for "A Barbadian's Head" and "A Martinican's Head", after Governors of those two islands sent warships to capture Roberts.
Martinique was occupied several times by the British including once during the Seven Years' War and twice during the Napoleonic Wars. Excepting a period from 1802–1809 following signing of the Treaty of Amiens, Britain controlled the island for most of the time from 1794–1815, when it was traded back to France at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars. Martinique has remained a French possession since then.
On 8 May 1902, Mont Pelée erupted and completely destroyed St. Pierre, killing 30,000 people. Due to the eruption refugees from Martinique arrived in boats to the southern villages of Dominica with some remaining permanently on the island. In Martinique the only survivor in the town of Saint-Pierre, Auguste Cyparis, was saved by the thick walls of his prison cell. Shortly thereafter the capital shifted to Fort-de-France, where it remains today.
During WWII, the Vichy government controlled Martinique and Guadeloupe. German U-boats used Martinique for refueling and re-supply during the Battle of the Caribbean. In 1942, 182 ships were sunk in the Caribbean, dropping to 45 in 1943, and 5 in 1944. Free French forces took over on the island on Bastille Day, 14 July 1943, as Admiral Robert fled.
Together with Guadeloupe, La Réunion, Mayotte and French Guiana, Martinique is one of the Overseas Departments of France. It is also an outermost region of the European Union. The inhabitants of Martinique are French citizens with full political and legal rights. Martinique sends four deputies to the French National Assembly and two senators to the French Senate.
On January 24, 2010, during a referendum, the inhabitants of Martinique approved by 68.4% the passage in a "unique (only) community" within the framework of article 73 of the French Constitution. This replaces and exercises the skills of the General Council and the regional council.
Part of the archipelago of the Antilles, Martinique is located in the Caribbean Sea about 450 km (280 mi) northeast of the coast of South America and about 700 km (435 mi) southeast of the Dominican Republic. It is directly north of St. Lucia, northwest of Barbados, southeast of both Cuba and Hispaniola and south of Dominica.
The total area of Martinique is 1,100 square kilometres (420 sq mi), of which 40 square kilometres (15 sq mi) is water and the rest land. Martinique is the 3rd largest island in The Lesser Antilles after Trinidad and Guadeloupe. It stretches 70 km (43 mi) in length and 30 km (19 mi) in width. The highest point is the volcano of Mont Pelée at 1,397 metres (4,583 ft) above sea level.
The island is volcanic in origin, lying along the subduction fault where the South American Plate slides beneath the Caribbean Plate. Martinique has eight different centers of volcanic activity. The oldest rocks are andesitic lavas dated to about 24 million years ago, mixed with tholeiitic magma containing iron and magnesium. Mont Pelée, the island's most dramatic feature, formed about 400,000 years ago. Pelée erupted in 1792, 1851, and twice in 1902. The eruption of 8 May 1902, destroyed Saint-Pierre and killed 28,000 people in 2 minutes; that of 30 August 1902 caused nearly 1,100 deaths, mostly in Morne-Red and Ajoupa-Bouillon. 
The Atlantic, or "windward" coast of Martinique is difficult for navigation by ships. A combination of coastal cliffs, shallow coral reefs and cays, and strong winds make the area a notoriously hazardous zone for sea traffic. The peninsula of Caravelle clearly separates the north Atlantic and south Atlantic coast.
The Caribbean, or "leeward" coast of Martinique is much more favorable to sea traffic. In addition to waters off of the leeward coast being shielded from the harsh Atlantic trade winds by the island, the sea bed itself descends steeply from the shore. This ensures that most potential hazards are too deep underwater to be an issue, and it also prevents the growth of corals that could otherwise pose a threat to passing ships.
The north of the island is mountainous. It features four ensembles of pitons (volcanoes) and mornes (mountains): the Piton Conil on the extreme North, which dominates the Dominica Channel; Mont Pelée, an active volcano; the Morne Jacob; and the Pitons du Carbet, an ensemble of five extinct volcanoes covered with rainforest and dominating the Bay of Fort de France at 1,196 metres (3,924 ft). Mont Pelée's volcanic ash has created gray and black sand beaches in the north (in particular between Anse Ceron and Anse des Gallets), contrasting markedly from the white sands of Les Salines in the south.
The south is more easily traversed, though it still features some impressive geographic features. Because it is easier to travel and because of the many beaches and food facilities throughout this region, the south receives the bulk of the tourist traffic. The beaches from Pointe de Bout, through Diamant (which features right off the coast of Roche de Diamant), St. Luce, the department of St. Anne and down to Les Salines are popular.
The northern end of the island catches most of the rainfall and is heavily forested, featuring species such as bamboo, mahogany, rosewood and locust. The south is drier and dominated by savanna-like brush, including cacti, Copaiba balsam, logwood and acacia.
Anole lizards and fer-de-lance snakes are native to the island. Mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus), introduced in the 1800s to control the snake population, have become a particularly cumbersome introduced species as they prey upon bird eggs and have exterminated or endangered a number of native birds, including the Martinique trembler, white-breasted trembler and white-breasted thrasher.
In 2003, Martinique had a total GDP of 5.496 billion euros. In 2000 its per capita GDP was 14,283 euros. In that year services constituted 82.2% of GDP, while industry represented 8.6% and agriculture 3.5%. In 2002, the island exported 26 million euros-worth of goods, primarily fruit, beverages and refined petroleum products. It imported 486 million euros-worth of goods, including vehicles, furniture, medicine and raw petroleum (used in the island's refinery).
Historically, Martinique's economy relied on agriculture, but by the beginning of the 21st century this sector had dwindled considerably. Sugar production has declined, with most of the sugarcane now used for the production of rum. Banana exports are increasing, going mostly to mainland France. The bulk of meat, vegetable and grain requirements must be imported. This contributes to a chronic trade deficit that requires large annual transfers of aid from mainland France.
All goods entering Martinique are charged a variable "sea toll" which may reach 30% of the value of the cargo and provides 40% of the island's total revenue. Additionally the government charges an "annual due" of 1–2.5% and a value added tax of 2.2–8.5%.
Tourism has become more important than agricultural exports as a source of foreign exchange. In 2000, the island hosted 500,000 tourists, and the tourism industry employed 7% of the total workforce. Roughly 16% of the total businesses on the island (some 6,000 companies) provide tourist-related services.
Martinique's main and only airport with commercial flights is Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport. It serves flights to and from Europe, the Caribbean, Venezuela, the United States, and Canada. See List of airports in Martinique.
Fort-de-France is the major harbor. The island has regular ferry service to Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Lucia, Les Saintes and Marie Galante. There are also several local ferry companies that connect Fort-de-France with Pointe du Bout.
The road network is extensive and well-maintained, with freeways in the area around Fort-de-France. Buses run frequently between the capital and St. Pierre.
The country code top-level domain for Martinique is .mq, but .fr is often used instead. The country code for international dialling is 596. The entire island uses a single area code (also 596) for landline phones and 696 for cell phones. (596 would be dialled twice if calling a Martinique landline from another country.)
Martinique had a population of 385,551 as of January 2013. There are an estimated 260,000 people of Martinican origin living in mainland France, most of them in the Paris region. Emigration was highest in the 1970s, causing population growth to almost stop, but it is comparatively light today.
|Official figures from past censuses and INSEE estimates|
The population of Martinique is mainly of African descent generally mixed with French, Amerindian (Carib), Indo-Martiniquais (descendants of 19th-century immigrants from India), Lebanese or Chinese. Martinique also has a small Syro-Lebanese community, a small but increasing Chinese community, and the Béké community, descendants of the first French and Spanish settlers, who still dominate parts of the agricultural and trade sectors of the economy. Whites in total represent 5% of the population of Martinique.
The Béké population (which totals around 1% of Martinique's population, most of them being of aristocratic origin by birth or after buying the title) generally live in mansions on the Atlantic coast of the island (mostly in the François – Cap Est district). In addition to the island population, the island hosts a metropolitan French community, most of which lives on the island on a temporary basis (generally from 3 to 5 years).
The official language is French, which is spoken by virtually the entire population. In addition, most residents can also speak Martiniquan Creole, a form of Antillean Creole closely related to the varieties spoken in neighboring English-speaking islands of Saint Lucia and Dominica. Martiniquan Creole is based on French, Carib and African languages with elements of English, Spanish, and Portuguese. It continues to be used in oral storytelling traditions and other forms of speech and to a lesser extent in writing.
There was a time when the use of Creole was forbidden in schools and even within families. French was the only language accepted. Considered as little distinguished, even insulting, many martiniquan grew up not speaking Creole.
Nowadays, use of Creole is predominant among friends and close family. Though it is normally not used in professional situations, members of the media and politicians have begun to use it more frequently as a way to redeem national identity and prevent cultural assimilation by mainland France. Indeed, unlike other varieties of French creole such as Mauritian Creole, Martinican Creole is not readily understood by speakers of Standard French due to significant differences in grammar, syntax, vocabulary and pronunciation, though over the years it has progressively adapted features of Standard French.
As an overseas département of France, Martinique's culture blends French and Caribbean influences. The city of Saint-Pierre (destroyed by a volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée), was often referred to as the "Paris of the Lesser Antilles". Following traditional French custom, many businesses close at midday to allow a lengthy lunch, then reopen later in the afternoon.
Today, Martinique has a higher standard of living than most other Caribbean countries. French products are easily available, from Chanel fashions to Limoges porcelain. Studying in the métropole (mainland France, especially Paris) is common for young adults. Martinique has been a vacation hotspot for many years, attracting both upper-class French and more budget-conscious travelers.
Martinique has a hybrid cuisine, mixing elements of African, French, Carib Amerindian and Indian subcontinental traditions. One of its most famous dishes is the Colombo (compare Tamil word kuzhambu for gravy or broth), a unique curry of chicken (curry chicken), meat or fish with vegetables, spiced with a distinctive masala of Tamil origins, sparked with tamarind, and often containing wine, coconut milk, cassava and rum. A strong tradition of Martiniquan desserts and cakes incorporate pineapple, rum, and a wide range of local ingredients.
Martinique has a large popular music industry, which gained in international renown after the success of zouk music in the later 20th century. Zouk's popularity was particularly intense in France, where the genre became an important symbol of identity for Martinique and Guadeloupe. Zouk's origins are in the folk music of Martinique and Guadeloupe, especially Martinican chouval bwa, and Guadeloupan gwo ka. There's also notable influence of the pan-Caribbean calypso tradition and Haitian kompa.
|url=(help) (5th ed.), Lonely Planet
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|url=(help), 66 (1714), 1902
The Coupe de la Martinique is the top knockout tournament of Martinique football. It was created in 1953.Fort-de-France
Fort-de-France (French pronunciation: [fɔʁ də fʁɑ̃s]) is the capital of France's Caribbean overseas department of Martinique. It is also one of the major cities in the Caribbean. Exports include sugar, rum, tinned fruit, and cacao.French Parliament
The French Parliament (French: Parlement français) is the bicameral legislature of the French Republic, consisting of the Senate (Sénat) and the National Assembly (Assemblée nationale). Each assembly conducts legislative sessions at a separate location in Paris: the Palais du Luxembourg for the Senate and the Palais Bourbon for the National Assembly.
Each house has its own regulations and rules of procedure. However, they may occasionally meet as a single house, the French Congress (Congrès du Parlement français), convened at the Palace of Versailles, to revise and amend the Constitution of France.French West Indies
The term French West Indies or French Antilles (French: Antilles françaises) refers to the seven territories currently under French sovereignty in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean:
The two overseas departments of:
Guadeloupe, including the islands of Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Les Saintes, Marie-Galante, and La Désirade.
The two overseas collectivities of:
Saint BarthélemyDue to its proximity, French Guiana is often associated with the French West Indies.Grenada
Grenada ( (listen) grih-NAY-də) is a country in the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea at the southern end of the Grenadines island chain. Grenada consists of the island of Grenada itself plus six smaller islands which lie to the north of the main island. It is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Its size is 348.5 square kilometres (134.6 sq mi), and it had an estimated population of 107,317 in 2016. Its capital is St. George's. Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" due to its production of nutmeg and mace crops, of which it is one of the world's largest exporters. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada dove.
Before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, Grenada was inhabited by the indigenous Arawaks and later by the Island Caribs. Christopher Columbus sighted Grenada in 1498 during his third voyage to the Americas. Although it was deemed the property of the King of Spain, there are no records to suggest the Spanish ever landed or settled on the island. Following several unsuccessful attempts by Europeans to colonise the island due to resistance from the Island Caribs, French settlement and colonisation began in 1650 and continued for the next century. On 10 February 1763, Grenada was ceded to the British under the Treaty of Paris. British rule continued, except for a period of French rule between 1779 and 1783, until 1974. From 1958 to 1962, Grenada was part of the Federation of the West Indies, a short-lived federation of British West Indian colonies. On 3 March 1967, Grenada was granted full autonomy over its internal affairs as an Associated State. Herbert Blaize was the first Premier of the Associated State of Grenada from March to August 1967. Eric Gairy served as Premier from August 1967 until February 1974.
Independence was granted on 7 February 1974, without breaking formal ties with the Commonwealth, under the leadership of Eric Gairy, who became the first Prime Minister of Grenada, with Queen Elizabeth as Head of State. In March 1979, the Marxist–Leninist New Jewel Movement overthrew Gairy's government in a coup d'état and established the People's Revolutionary Government (PRG), headed by Maurice Bishop as Prime Minister. On 19 October 1983, hard-line Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and his wife Phyllis, backed by the Grenadian Army, led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop and placed Bishop under house arrest. Bishop was later freed by popular demonstration and attempted to resume power, but he was captured and executed by soldiers, and replaced with a military council chaired by Hudson Austin. On 25 October 1983, forces from the United States and the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) invaded Grenada in a U.S.-led operation code-named Operation Urgent Fury. The invasion was highly criticised by the governments of Britain, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada, along with the United Nations General Assembly. Elections were held in December 1984 and were won by the Grenada National Party under Herbert Blaize, who served as Prime Minister until his death in December 1989.Ligue des Antilles
Ligue des Antilles (or Antillean League) is a football cup tournament contested by teams from Guadeloupe and Martinique.List of Caribbean islands
A list of islands in the Caribbean Sea, in alphabetical order by country of ownership and/or those with full independence and autonomy.Martinique's 1st constituency
The 1st constituency of Martinique is a French legislative constituency in the Martinique département.Martinique's 2nd constituency
The 2nd constituency of Martinique is a French legislative constituency in the Martinique département.Martinique's 3rd constituency
The 3rd constituency of Martinique is a French legislative constituency in the Martinique département.Martinique's 4th constituency
The 4th constituency of Martinique is a French legislative constituency in the Martinique département, currently represented by Jean-Philippe Nilor of the Martinican Independence Movement, which is part of the Regionalism in France
grouping in the national assembly.Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport
Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport, French: Aéroport International Martinique Aimé Césaire (IATA: FDF, ICAO: TFFF), is the international airport of Martinique in the French West Indies. Located in Le Lamentin, a suburb of the capital Fort-de-France, it was opened in 1950 and renamed in 2007, after author and politician Aimé Césaire.Martinique Championnat National
Martinique Championnat National is the top association football league in Martinique.
It was created in 1919 and is headed by the Ligue de Football de Martinique. 14 Teams participate in this league.
Despite being a league competition in CONCACAF since 2002 any of the Martinique teams ever played in CFU Club Championship or CONCACAF Champions' Cup.
The last 4 placed teams are relegated to the Martinique Promotion d'Honneur.Martinique Queens
Martinique Queens is a national beauty pageant responsible for selecting Martinique's representatives to the International pageants. This pageant is not related to Miss Martinique where the winner traditionally competes at Miss France contest.Martinique national football team
The Martinique national football team (French: Équipe de la Martinique de football) represents the French overseas department and region of Martinique in international football. The team is controlled by the Ligue de Football de la Martinique (English: Martinique Football League), a local branch of French Football Federation (French: Fédération Française de Football). On 7 August 2010, the national team adopted the nickname Les Matinino, which pays tribute to the history of the island.Martinique national rugby union team
The Martinique national rugby union team represents Martinique at the sport of rugby. Martinique has been playing international rugby since 1991 but has never qualified for a Rugby World Cup.
They have played mainly against Caribbean sides, i.e. Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and Barbados.Martinique women's national football team
The Martinique women's national football team (French: Équipe de la Martinique de football) represents the French overseas department and region of Martinique in international football. The team is controlled by the Ligue de football de la Martinique (English: Martinique Football League), a local branch of French Football Federation (French: Fédération Française de Football).
As an overseas department of the French Republic, Martinique is not a member of FIFA and is therefore not eligible to enter the FIFA Women's World Cup or any competition organized first-hand by the organization. Martiniquais, being French citizens, are eligible to play for the France national football team. Martinique is, however, a member of CONCACAF and CFU and is eligible for all competitions organized by both organizations. Indeed, according to the status of the FFF (article 34, paragraph 6): "[...]Under the control of related continental confederations, and with the agreement of the FFF, those leagues can organize international sport events at a regional level or set up teams in order to participate to them." A special rule of the CONCACAF Gold Cup only allows players to join the team if they have not played for France during the past five years. On the other side, any player joining Martinique is allowed to join the France national team after-wards without any time limit.Mount Pelée
Mount Pelée (pronounced ; French: Montagne Pelée meaning "bald mountain" or "peeled" mountain") is a volcano at the northern end of Martinique, an island and French overseas department in the Lesser Antilles island arc of the Caribbean. Its volcanic cone is composed of stratified layers of hardened ash and solidified lava. The volcano is currently in a quiescent state, which means it is not active, but still registering minor activity.The stratovolcano is famous for its eruption in 1902 and the complete destruction that resulted, dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the early 20th century. The eruption killed about 30,000 people. Most deaths were caused by pyroclastic flows which destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre (at that time, the largest city on the island), within minutes of the eruption.The main eruption, on 8 May 1902, left only two survivors in the direct path of the blast flow: Louis-Auguste Cyparis survived because he was in a poorly ventilated, dungeon-like jail cell; Léon Compère-Léandre, living on the edge of the city, escaped with severe burns. Havivra Da Ifrile, a young girl, reportedly escaped with injuries during the eruption by taking a small boat to a cave down the shore, and was later found adrift 3 km (1.9 mi) from the island, unconscious. The event marked the only major volcanic disaster in the history of France and its overseas territories.
Outlying territories of European countries
Territories under European sovereignty but closer to or on continents other than Europe (see inclusion criteria for further information).