Battle of Martinique (1794)

Last updated
Invasion of Martinique
Part of the French Revolutionary Wars
Capture of Fort Louis, Martinique, 1794.jpg
'The Capture of Fort Saint Louis, Martinique, 20 March 1794' painting by William Anderson
DateFebruary 5 - March 24 1794

British victory

  • Occupation of Martinique until 1802
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom Flag of France.svg French Empire
Commanders and leaders
John Jervis
Charles Grey
Vicomte de Rochambeau   White flag icon.svg
6,000 men
3 ships of the line
5 Frigates
900 troops or militia

The Battle of Martinique was a successful British month and a half invasion from February 5th to March 24th of 1794 of the French held island of Martinique in the West Indies, during the French Revolutionary Wars.



During 1794 the British were in negotiations with a French planter, Louis-François Dubuc, who wished to gain British protection, as the then French Constitutional Assembly of the 1st Republic was busy passing a law abolishing slavery, which had actually took place in Paris on 4 February of 1794. However the Whitehall Accord of 19 February, 1794, between counter-revolutionary French colonists and Great Britain, which allowed colonial French slave-owners to maintain slavery, was not signed until after the British had landed.


Thus on 5 February, the day after slavery was abolished in Paris, in what just might be one of world history's greatest feats of precognition, a British fleet under the command of Royal Navy Admiral Sir John Jervis landed troops under the command of General Charles Grey in a campaign which would last six weeks. [1]

By 20 March only Fort Bourbon and Fort Royal still held out. Jervis ordered the fourth rate ship of the line HMS Asia (64 guns), and the sloop, HMS Zebra to take Fort Saint Louis. [2] Asia was unable to get close, Zebra went in alone, with her captain, Richard Faulknor. Despite facing heavy fire, Faulknor ran Zebra close under the walls. He and his ship's company then used Zebra's boats to land. The British stormed the fort and captured it. Zebra lost only her pilot killed and four men wounded. Meanwhile the boats of the British fleet captured Fort Royal and two days later Fort Bourbon capitulated. [1]


The Governor General of Martinique at the time was Donatien Marie Joseph de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau who surrendered to Grey.

The British then occupied Martinique until the Treaty of Amiens returned the island to the French in 1802.

Related Research Articles

This is a page on the history of the island of Martinique.

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  1. 1 2 "No. 13643". The London Gazette . 22 April 1794. pp. 353–359.
  2. James (1837), Vol. 1, p.218

Coordinates: 14°40′N61°0′W / 14.667°N 61.000°W / 14.667; -61.000