- Continental region – North America
- Currency symbol of Martinique –Euro
- Capital City – Fort-de-France
- Official languages – French
- Population – 376,480 (2016)
- Country dialling code – (+ 596)
- Official website – Martinique
- Top 3 biggest industries – Construction, rum, cement, oil refining, and tourism
- Google Maps link –Martinique
- Where is it? –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 and south of Dominica.
Martinique In Pictures
- How did the country get its first name? – The local indigenous Carib population called the island Madiana (“Island of Flowers”).
- How did the country get its current name? – The name Martinique is probably a corruption of the local name, as reputedly told to Christopher Columbus by the Caribs in 1502.
- When and by whom the country was first discovered? – The island was occupied by the Arawaks from around the 1st century AD. Christopher Columbus was the first European to chart the island in 1493.
- Who were the first Inhabitants? – The island was originally inhabited by Arawak and Carib peoples. Circa 130 AD, the first Arawaks are believed to have arrived from South America. In 295 A.D, an eruption of Mount Pelée resulted in the decimation of the island’s population. Around 400 A.D, the Arawaks returned and repopulated the island.
- When it was first recognized as a country? – It is a French overseas territory.
- Who was the first leader of the country? –Camille Petit 1974, 1983
Five Significant Events
- 1720: French Captain Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu (33) was posted to Martinique. In 1723 he obtained coffee while traveling back to Paris and planted them on his return to Martinique. In 1725 he reaped almost 2 pounds and sowed them on his estate and those of some friends. (http://www.timelinesdb.com/listevents.php?subjid=335&title=Martinique)
- 1790 Jun 9: Civil war broke out in Martinique. (http://www.timelinesdb.com/listevents.php?subjid=335&title=Martinique)
- 1902: On the French Island of Martinique in the east W. Indies, the Mt. Pelee volcano blew its top and wiped out the town of St. Pierre. A pyroclastic flow killed over 29,000 people. (http://www.timelinesdb.com/listevents.php?subjid=335&title=Martinique)
- 2003 Dec 7: Voters on the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique rejected reforms to their legislatures that opponents had criticized as a step toward independence from France. (http://www.timelinesdb.com/listevents.php?subjid=335&title=Martinique)
- 2009 Mar: 14 In Martinique health officials declared a dengue epidemic following the report of over 1,000 suspected cases in the last month. (http://www.timelinesdb.com/listevents.php?subjid=335&title=Martinique)
Five Places to Visit in Martinique
- Balata Botanical Garden: Created by a passionate horticulturalist, the Balata Botanical Garden (Jardin de Balata) near Fort-de-France, features more than 3,000 species of tropical plants and flowers that cascade down a hillside, past ponds punctuated with water lilies and lotus blossoms. Raised wooden rope bridges suspended amid the treetops give an aerial view over the lush gardens while hummingbirds buzz in the fragrant air. Plenty of benches are tucked amid the foliage to relax and admire the beautiful mountain views framed by the gardens. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/martinique-mtq.htm)
- Les Salines: A short distance south of Sainte-Anne, Les Salines is perhaps the most beautiful and popular of the many beaches on Martinique. Named for the nearby salt pond, this one-kilometre stretch of coast at the southern tip of Martinique is a postcard picture of classic Caribbean scenery with calm waters and soft, white sand. Arching coconut palms frame views of the sea and provide perfect patches of shade where you can spread a towel and bask in all the beauty. Les Salines can be crowded with families on the weekend, but tends to be a little more tranquil during the week. Vendors sell lunch and drinks behind the beach. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/martinique-mtq.htm)
- Fort-de-France: Although it’s not brimming with tourist attractions itself, bustling Fort-de-France is the capital of Martinique, the main port, and a launching point for island adventures. The centre is laid out alongside Place de la Savane, where there’s a statue of Napoleon’s Empress Josephine, an island native. The statue has been vandalized so often in protest of her influence in preserving the slave trade on Martinique that the city has stopped attempting repairs, and she remains headless. Ironically, it faces the colourful and intricately decorated Bibliothèque Schoelcher, named for Victor Schoelcher, an activist for the abolition of slavery in the French colonies. The building was constructed in Paris and shown in the 1889 World Exposition before being disassembled and shipped to Martinique. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/martinique-mtq.htm)
- Les Trois-Ilets: On the opposite side of the bay, South of Fort-de-France, Les Trois-Ilets is a popular tourist area, with hotels, restaurants, and several attractions that illustrate the island’s history and culture. Two of these centre around former industries: sugarcane and pottery. Village de la Poterie des Trois-Ilets is a large complex housed in a former pottery yard where roof tiles were made. Today, the buildings house craft studios and shops, along with restaurants and a sports centre where you can take kayak tours. Small boutiques sell clothing, locally made soaps, art, and local crafts. Among the crafts people are jewellery makers, potters, and an artist who creates contemporary sand paintings using the many colours of local earth and stone. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/martinique-mtq.htm)
- Saint-Pierre: With dramatic views of volcanic Mount Pelée, Saint-Pierre is built among the ruins of old Saint-Pierre. The town was once Martinique’s main city and port, a beautiful city once known as the Pearl of the West Indies until Mount Pelée erupted in 1902. The volcanic blast destroyed the town and killed all 30,000 residents, with the exception of a prisoner, who was protected by his thick cell walls. Today, you can walk among some of the stone ruins, including the survivor’s prison cell, the old theatre, and the ruins of Le Figuier – a group of single-story houses. Consider taking the tourist train from the port as Saint-Pierre sits on a steep hillside, and it’s a long, hot climb between ruins. Stop at the tourist office for a helpful map. (https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/martinique-mtq.htm)