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A view from the ship arriving from Les Trois-Îlets
Location of the commune (in red) within Martinique
|Overseas region and department||Martinique|
|Intercommunality||CA Centre de la Martinique|
|• Mayor (2014–2020)||Didier Laguerre|
|44.21 km2 (17.07 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,800/km2 (4,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−04:00 (AST)|
97209 /97200 and 97234 (Quartier de Balata)
|Elevation||0–1,070 m (0–3,510 ft)|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries. 2 Population without double counting : residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.|
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.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
The Caribbean is a region of The Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
Martinique 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.
In 1638, Jacques Dyel du Parquet (1606–1658), nephew of Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc and first governor of Martinique, decided to have Fort Saint Louis built to protect the city against enemy attacks. The fort was soon destroyed, and rebuilt in 1669, when Louis XIV appointed the Marquis of Baas as governor general. Under his orders and those of his successors, particularly the Count of Blénac, the fort was built with a Vauban design.
Jacques Dyel du Parquet was a French soldier who was one of the first governors of Martinique. He was appointed governor of the island for the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique in 1636, a year after the first French settlement had been established. In 1650 he purchased Martinique, Grenada and Saint Lucia. He did much to develop Martinique as a colony, including introduction of sugarcane.
Pierre Belain, Sieur d'Esnambuc (1585–1636) was a French trader and adventurer in the Caribbean, who established the first permanent French colony, Saint-Pierre, on the island of Martinique in 1635.
Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power.
Originally named Fort-Royal, the administrative capital of Martinique was over-shadowed by Saint-Pierre, the oldest city in the island, which was renowned for its commercial and cultural vibrancy as "The Paris of the Caribbean".
Saint-Pierre is a town and commune of France's Caribbean overseas department of Martinique, founded in 1635 by Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc. Before the total destruction of Saint-Pierre in 1902 by a volcanic eruption, it was the most important city of Martinique culturally and economically, being known as "the Paris of the Caribbean". While Fort-de-France was the official administrative capital, Saint-Pierre was the cultural capital of Martinique. After the disaster, Fort-de-France grew in economic importance.
The name of Fort-Royal was changed to a short-lived "Fort-La-Republique" during the French Revolution, and finally settled as Fort-de-France sometime in the 19th century. The old name of Fort-Royal is still used today familiarly in its Creole language form of "Foyal", with the inhabitants of the city being "Foyalais".
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
The city had its share of disasters, being captured by a British expedition in 1762,partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1839 and devastated by fire in 1890. At the turn of the 20th century, however, Fort-de-France became economically important after the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre in 1902.
Mount Pelée 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.
Until 1918, when its commercial growth began, Fort-de-France had an inadequate water supply, was partly surrounded by swamps, and was notorious for yellow fever. Now the swamps are drained to make room for extensive suburbs.
Yellow fever is a viral disease of typically short duration. In most cases, symptoms include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches. Symptoms typically improve within five days. In about 15% of people, within a day of improving the fever comes back, abdominal pain occurs, and liver damage begins causing yellow skin. If this occurs, the risk of bleeding and kidney problems is also increased.
Fort-de-France, also known as the Fort of France, lies on Martinique's west coast at the northern entrance to the large Fort-de-France Bay, at the mouth of the Madame River. The city occupies a narrow plain between the hills and the sea but is accessible by road from all parts of the island.
Fort-de-France has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen Af), characterised by very warm to hot and humid weather year-round. The wettest months are from July to November when hurricanes are a frequent threat, although substantial rainfall occurs in all months.
|Climate data for Fort-de-France (1981–2010 averages, extremes 1932–present)|
|Record high °C (°F)||31.5|
|Average high °C (°F)||27.5|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.7|
|Average low °C (°F)||21.9|
|Record low °C (°F)||17.8|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||119.5|
|Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)||18.93||13.60||12.77||11.50||12.70||16.43||20.00||19.57||17.90||18.17||19.00||17.60||198.17|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||203.6||198.5||223.8||211.3||208.1||191.0||200.7||224.5||206.1||182.9||184.4||201.8||2,436.8|
|Source: Météo France|
Fort Saint Louis in Fort-de-France is a French naval base, as is Dégrad des Cannes (French Guiana).
In addition to Fort Saint Louis, there are three other forts:
Other sites of interest include:
A statue commemorating Martinique-born Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon, is in the gardens of La Savane. It was vandalized in the 1990s, presumably by individuals who blamed her for supporting the reestablishment of slavery on the island. They removed the head and splashed the body with red paint.
Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport is located in a suburb outside Fort-de-France and is accessible via the A1 autoroute.
Joséphine was the first wife of Napoleon, and thus the first Empress of the French.
Château de Malmaison is a French château near the western bank of the Seine about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) west of the centre of Paris in Rueil-Malmaison.
This is a page on the history of the island of Martinique.
The term French West Indies or French Antilles refers to the seven territories currently under French sovereignty in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean:
Pointe-à-Pitre is the largest city of Guadeloupe, an overseas région and département of France located in the Lesser Antilles, of which it is a sous-préfecture, being the seat of the Arrondissement of Pointe-à-Pitre.
Alexandre François Marie, Viscount of Beauharnais was a French political figure and general during the French Revolution. He was the first husband of Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie, who later married Napoleon Bonaparte and became Empress of the First Empire.
Pierre Cartellier was a French sculptor.
La Savane is a 12½ acre park located on the Fort-de-France Bay in Martinique. It was formerly known as Jardin du Roi and its first purpose is said to have been to harbour scientific experiments on plants that were new to the colony at that time.
Le Lamentin is a town, located in the Outre-Mer department of Martinique, in the French West Indies. With its 62,32 km², it is the town with the largest area of Martinique. Le Lamentin, with near to 40 000 inhabitants, is the second most populated town of Martinique, after Fort-de-France. It is also the first industrial town and the heart of the island's economy.
St. Louis Cathedral is a Catholic cathedral located in Martinique, an overseas department of France. It was built in the late 19th-century in the Romanesque Revival style and serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Fort-de-France. The church is situated in the downtown area of the capital Fort-de-France, at the intersection of rue Victor Schoelcher and rue Blénac.
Louis Charles Antoine Desaix was a French general and military leader. According to the usage of the time, he took the name Louis Charles Antoine Desaix de Veygoux.
Tropical Storm Cindy was a weak but unusually wet Atlantic tropical cyclone that caused disastrous floods and mudslides across Martinique in August 1993. Cindy formed east of the island and became the annual hurricane season's third named storm on August 14. Due to unfavorable atmospheric conditions, Cindy remained disorganized throughout its journey across the northeastern Caribbean Sea. After attaining maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 km/h), the storm began to weaken from an interaction with the high terrain of Hispaniola. It made landfall in the Dominican Republic as a tropical depression on August 16, and dissipated over the territory the following day.
Tropical Storm Dorothy was the deadliest tropical cyclone of the 1970 Atlantic hurricane season. The fourth named storm and fifth tropical storm or hurricane of the season, Dorothy developed on August 17 from a tropical wave to the east of the Lesser Antilles. It tracked west-northwestward throughout its entire duration, and despite forecasts of attaining hurricane status, Dorothy reached peak winds of 70 mph (110 km/) – slightly below hurricane status. The storm struck Martinique on August 20, and subsequently began a gradual weakening trend in the Caribbean Sea. On August 23, Dorothy dissipated south of Hispaniola.
Fort Saint Louis is a seaside fortress in Fort-de-France, Martinique. The present-day fort has evolved from earlier strongholds that were erected on the site as early as 1638, and has been known in previous incarnations as Fort Royal and Fort de la Republique. The modern-day Fort Saint Louis is both an active naval base and a listed historic site of France. There are daily tours of the fort, though the portion that is still a naval base is off-limits.
Fort Desaix is a Vauban fort and one of four forts that protect Fort-de-France, the capital of Martinique. The fort was built from 1768 to 1772 and sits on a hill, Morne Garnier, overlooking what was then Fort Royal. Fort Desaix was built in response to the successful British attack on Fort Royal in 1762 and was intended to prevent any future attacker from using Morne Garnier to site cannon that could then bombard Fort Royal from above.
Articles related to the French overseas department of Martinique include:
The invasion of Martinique of 1809 was a successful British amphibious operation against the French West Indian island of Martinique that took place between 30 January and 24 February 1809 during the West Indies Campaign 1804–1810 of the Napoleonic Wars. Martinique, like nearby Guadeloupe, was a major threat to British trade in the Caribbean, providing a sheltered base from which privateers and French Navy warships could raid British shipping and disrupt the trade routes that maintained the British economy. The islands also provided a focus for larger scale French operations in the region and in the autumn of 1808, following the Spanish alliance with Britain, the Admiralty decided to order a British squadron to neutralise the threat, beginning with Martinique.
Charles de Courbon, comte de Blénac was governor general of the French Antilles three times in the 17th century. He was an experienced soldier and fought for the king during the Fronde before becoming a naval captain. Towards the end of the Franco-Dutch War he led the land forces that took Tobago from the Dutch before taking command of the French Antilles. During the Nine Years' War he was active in the struggle with the English and Dutch in the Windward Islands. He captured Sint Eustatius and Saint Kitts, and defended Martinique against a large English expedition in 1693.
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