Martinique

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Martinique

Matinik / Matnik
Territorial Collectivity of Martinique
Collectivité territoriale de Martinique  (French)
Martinique in France 2016.svg
Coordinates: 14°40′N61°00′W / 14.667°N 61.000°W / 14.667; -61.000 Coordinates: 14°40′N61°00′W / 14.667°N 61.000°W / 14.667; -61.000
Overseas territory France
Prefecture Fort-de-France
Departments 1
Government
   President of Executive Council Alfred Marie-Jeanne [1] (MIM)
Area
  Total1,128 km2 (436 sq mi)
Area rank17th region
Highest elevation1,397 m (4,583 ft)
Population
 (2021) [2]
  Total375,053
  Density354/km2 (920/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Martinican (English)
Martiniquais (m)/Martiniquaise (f) (French)
Time zone UTC-04:00 (ECT)
ISO 3166 code
GDP  (2015) [3] Ranked 23rd
Total€9.069 billion
Per capita€23,900
NUTS Region FRA
Website Prefecture, Territorial collectivity

Martinique ( /ˌmɑːrtɪˈnk/ MAR-tin-EEK, French:  [maʁtinik] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Martinican Creole : Matinik or Matnik; [4] Kalinago: Madinina or Madiana) is an island and an Overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France, and therefore an integral part of the French Republic, [5] 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. One of the Windward Islands, it is directly north of Saint Lucia, northwest of Barbados and south of Dominica. Martinique is also an Outermost Region (OMR) of the European Union and a special territory of the European Union; the currency in use is the euro. Virtually the entire population speaks both French (the sole official language) and Martinican Creole. [6]

Contents

The Cape Saint Martin cliffs and the Dominica channel, as seen from Grand Riviere at the northern tip of the island Cape Saint Martin, Grand Riviere .jpg
The Cape Saint Martin cliffs and the Dominica channel, as seen from Grand Rivière at the northern tip of the island
Salines Beach, St Anne peninsula Salines Beach.jpg
Salines Beach, St Anne peninsula
Anses d'Arlet and its churchside beach, a landmark of Martinique Anses d'Arlet cove.jpg
Anses d'Arlet and its churchside beach, a landmark of Martinique
Diamant beach, and Diamond Rock, as seen from Dizac beach Diamant Beach.jpg
Diamant beach, and Diamond Rock, as seen from Dizac beach

Etymology

It is thought that Martinique is a corruption of the Taïno name for the island (Madiana/Madinina, meaning 'island of flowers', or Matinino, "island of women"), as relayed to Christopher Columbus when he visited the island in 1502. [7] According to historian Sydney Daney, the island was called "Jouanacaëra" or "Wanakaera" by the Caribs, which means "the island of iguanas". [8]

History

Saint-Pierre. 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". Saint Pierre and Mount Pelee.jpg
Saint-Pierre. 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".

Pre-European contact

The island was occupied first by Arawaks, then by Caribs. The Arawaks were described as gentle timorous Indians and the Caribs as ferocious cannibal warriors. The Arawaks came from Central America in the 1st century AD and the Caribs came from the Venezuelan coast around the 11th century. When Columbus arrived, the Caribs had massacred many of their adversaries, sparing the women, whom they kept for their personal or domestic use. [7]

European arrival and early colonial period

Martinique was charted by Christopher Columbus in 1493, but Spain had little interest in the territory. [7] Columbus landed on 15 June 1502, after a 21-day trade wind passage, his fastest ocean voyage. [7] He spent three days there refilling his water casks, bathing and washing laundry. [9]

On 15 September 1635, Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc, French governor of the island of St. Kitts, landed in the harbour of St. Pierre with 80-150 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). [7] 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. [7]

In 1636, in the first of many skirmishes, the indigenous Caribs rose against the settlers to drive them off the island.[ citation needed ] 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 Caribs revolted against French rule in 1658, the governor Charles Houël du Petit Pré retaliated with war against them. Many were killed, and those who survived were taken captive and expelled from the island. Some Caribs fled to Dominica or St. Vincent, where the French agreed to leave them at peace.[ citation needed ]

After the death of du Parquet in 1658, his widow Marie Bonnard du Parquet tried to govern Martinique, but dislike of her rule led King Louis XIV to take over the sovereignty of the island. [7] In 1654, Dutch Jews expelled from Portuguese Brazil introduced sugar plantations worked by large numbers of enslaved Africans. [7]

In 1667 the Second Anglo-Dutch War spilled out into the Caribbean, with Britain attacking the pro-Dutch French fleet in Martinique, virtually destroying it and further cementing British preeminence in the region. [10] In 1674, the Dutch attempted to conquer the island, but were repulsed. [7]

The attack on the French ships at Martinique in 1667 Martinique 1667.jpg
The attack on the French ships at Martinique in 1667

Because there were few Catholic priests in the French Antilles, many of the earliest French settlers were Huguenots who sought religious freedom. [11] Others were transported there as a punishment for refusing to convert to Catholicism, many of them dying en route.[ citation needed ] [12] Those who survived were quite industrious and over time prospered, though the less fortunate were reduced to the status of indentured servants. 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.[ citation needed ]

As many of the planters on Martinique were Huguenots 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 the Catholics, who looked forward to their departure and the opportunities for seizing their property. By 1688, nearly all of Martinique's French Protestant population had escaped to the British American colonies or Protestant countries in Europe.[ citation needed ] The policy decimated the population of Martinique and the rest of the French Antilles and set back their colonisation by decades, causing the French king to relax his policies in the region, which left the islands susceptible to British occupation over the next century. [13]

Post-1688 period

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. [14] 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. [15]

The Battle of Martinique between British and French fleets in 1779 Battle martinique 1779 img 9388.jpg
The Battle of Martinique between British and French fleets in 1779

Martinique was attacked or occupied several times by the British, in 1693, 1759, 1762 and 1779. [7] Excepting a period from 1802 to 1809 following signing of the Treaty of Amiens, Britain controlled the island for most of the time from 1794 to 1815, when it was traded back to France at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars. [7] [16] Martinique has remained a French possession since then.

Despite the introduction of successful coffee plantations in the 1720s to Martinique, the first coffee-growing area in the Western hemisphere, [17] as sugar prices declined in the early 1800s, the planter class lost political influence. Slave rebellions in 1789, 1815 and 1822, plus the campaigns of abolitionists such as Cyrille Bissette and Victor Schœlcher, persuaded the French government to end slavery in the French West Indies in 1848. [18] [19] [7] [16] As a result, some plantation owners imported workers from India and China. [7] Despite the abolition of slavery, life scarcely improved for most Martinicans; class and racial tensions exploded into rioting in southern Martinique in 1870 following the arrest of Léopold Lubin, a trader of African ancestry who retaliated after he was beaten by a Frenchman. After several deaths, the revolt was crushed by French militia. [20]

20th–21st centuries

On 8 May 1902, Mont Pelée erupted and completely destroyed St. Pierre, killing 30,000 people. [7] 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. [21] Shortly thereafter the capital shifted to Fort-de-France, where it remains today. [16]

Mont Pelee and Bay of St Pierre as seen from the Grande Savane trail Mount pelee.jpg
Mont Pelée and Bay of St Pierre as seen from the Grande Savane trail

During WWII, the pro-Nazi Vichy government controlled Martinique under Admiral Georges Robert. [7] German U-boats used Martinique for refuelling and re-supply during the Battle of the Caribbean.[ citation needed ] In 1942, 182 ships were sunk in the Caribbean, dropping to 45 in 1943, and five in 1944.[ citation needed ] Free French forces took over on the island on Bastille Day, 14 July 1943. [7] [22]

In 1946 the French National Assembly voted unanimously to transform the colony into an Overseas Department of France. [7] Meanwhile, the post-war period saw a growing campaign for full independence; a notable proponent of this was the author Aimé Césaire, who founded the Progressive Party of Martinique in the 1950s. Tensions boiled over in December 1959 when riots broke out following a racially-charged altercation between two motorists, resulting in three deaths. [23] In 1962, as a result of this and the global turn against colonialism, the strongly pro-independence OJAM (Organisation de la jeunesse anticolonialiste de le Martinique) was formed. Its leaders were later arrested by the French authorities. However, they were later acquitted. [23] Tensions rose again in 1974, when gendarmes shot dead two striking banana workers. [23] However the independence movement lost steam as Martinique's economy faltered in the 1970s, resulting in large scale emigration. [24] Hurricanes in 1979-80 severely affected agricultural output, further straining the economy. [7] Greater autonomy was granted by France to the island in the 1970s-80s [7]

In 2009 Martinique was convulsed by the French Caribbean general strikes. Initially focusing on cost-of-living issues, the movement soon took on a racial dimension as strikers challenged the continued economic dominance of the Béké , descendants of French European settlers. [25] [26] President Nicolas Sarkozy later visited the island, promising reform. [27] While ruling out full independence, which he said was desired neither by France nor by Martinique, Sarkozy offered Martiniquans a referendum on the island's future status and degree of autonomy. [27]

Governance

The special territories of the European Union EU OCT and OMR map en.png
The special territories of the European Union

Like French Guiana, Martinique is a special collectivity [28] (Unique in French) of the French Republic. 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 change to be a “special (unique) collectivity" within the framework of article 73 of the French Republic's Constitution. The new council replaces and exercises the powers of both the General Council and the regional council.

Administrative divisions

A map of Martinique showing the island's four arrondissements Martinique legende arrs.PNG
A map of Martinique showing the island's four arrondissements

Martinique is divided into four arrondissements and 34 communes . It had also been divided into 45 cantons , but these were abolished in 2015. The four arrondissements of the island, with their respective locations, are as follows:

NameArea (km2)PopulationArrondissementMap
Basse-Pointe 27.952,923 La Trinité Locator map of Basse-Pointe 2018.png
Bellefontaine 11.891,770 Saint-Pierre Locator map of Bellefontaine 2018.png
Case-Pilote 18.444,454 Saint-Pierre Locator map of Case-Pilote 2018.png
Ducos 37.6917,270 Le Marin Locator map of Ducos 2018.png
Fonds-Saint-Denis 24.28700 Saint-Pierre Locator map of Fonds-Saint-Denis 2018.png
Fort-de-France 44.2178,126 Fort-de-France Locator map of Fort-de-France 2018.png
Grand'Rivière 16.6666 La Trinité Locator map of Grand'Riviere 2018.png
Gros-Morne 54.259,755 La Trinité Locator map of Gros-Morne 2018.png
L'Ajoupa-Bouillon 12.31,815 La Trinité Locator map of L'Ajoupa-Bouillon 2018.png
La Trinité 45.7712,232 La Trinité Locator map of La Trinite 2018.png
Le Carbet 363,498 Saint-Pierre Locator map of Le Carbet 2018.png
Le Diamant 27.345,576 Le Marin Locator map of Le Diamant 2018.png
Le François 53.9316,423 Le Marin Locator map of Le Francois 2018.png
Le Lamentin 62.3240,581 Fort-de-France Locator map of Le Lamentin 2018.png
Le Lorrain 50.336,824 La Trinité Locator map of Le Lorrain 2018.png
Le Marigot 21.633,156 La Trinité Locator map of Le Marigot 2018.png
Le Marin 31.548,771 Le Marin Locator map of Le Marin 2018.png
Le Morne-Rouge 37.644,995 Saint-Pierre Locator map of Le Morne-Rouge 2018.png
Le Morne-Vert 13.371,825 Saint-Pierre Locator map of Le Morne-Vert 2018.png
Le Prêcheur 29.921,252 Saint-Pierre Locator map of Le Precheur 2018.png
Le Robert 47.322,429 La Trinité Locator map of Le Robert 2018.png
Le Vauclin 39.068,686 Le Marin Locator map of Le Vauclin 2018.png
Les Anses-d'Arlet 25.923,541 Le Marin Locator map of Les Anses-d'Arlet 2018.png
Les Trois-Îlets 28.67,290 Le Marin Locator map of Les Trois-Ilets 2018.png
Macouba 16.931,062 La Trinité Locator map of Macouba 2018.png
Rivière-Pilote 35.7811,972 Le Marin Locator map of Riviere-Pilote 2018.png
Rivière-Salée 39.3811,857 Le Marin Locator map of Riviere-Salee 2018.png
Saint-Esprit 23.469,660 Le Marin Locator map of Saint-Esprit 2018.png
Saint-Joseph 43.2916,152 Fort-de-France Locator map of Saint-Joseph - Martinique 2018.png
Saint-Pierre 38.724,122 Saint-Pierre Locator map of Saint-Pierre - Martinique 2018.png
Sainte-Anne 38.424,371 Le Marin Locator map of Sainte-Anne - Martinique 2018.png
Sainte-Luce 28.029,651 Le Marin Locator map of Sainte-Luce 2018.png
Sainte-Marie 44.5515,571 La Trinité Locator map of Sainte-Marie - Martinique 2018.png
Schœlcher 21.1719,847 Fort-de-France Locator map of Schoelcher 2018.png

Symbols and flags

As a part of the French Republic, the French tricolour is in use and La Marseillaise is sung at national French events. When representing Martinique outside of the island for sport and cultural events the civil flag is 'Ipséité’ and the anthem is ‘Lorizon’. [29] Martinique's Civil ensign is the cross of St Michael (White cross with 4 blue quarters with one snake in each), which is the official civil ensign of Martinique (it also used to be the one of Saint Lucia. However a coat of arms adaptation of the civil ensign (also called snake flag) is used in an unofficial but formal context such as by the Gendarmerie. The independentists also have their own flag, using a red/black/green colours.

Geography

Diamond Rock and the Sleeping Woman, the defining landscape of the southwest peninsula Diamond Rock and Morne Larcher bay.jpg
Diamond Rock and the Sleeping Woman, the defining landscape of the southwest peninsula

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.

The total area of Martinique is 1,128 square kilometres (436 sq mi), of which 40 square kilometres (15 sq mi) is water and the rest land. [7] 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 Mount Pelée at 1,397 metres (4,583 ft) above sea level. There are numerous small islands, particularly off the east coast.

The island is volcanic in origin, lying along the subduction fault where the South American Plate slides beneath the Caribbean Plate. [30] Martinique has eight different centres of volcanic activity. The oldest rocks are andesitic lavas dated to about 24 million years ago, mixed with tholeiitic magma containing iron and magnesium. Mount Pelée, the island's most dramatic feature, formed about 400,000 years ago. [31] Pelée erupted in 1792, 1851, and twice in 1902. [21] 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. [32] [33]

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 Caravelle peninsula clearly separates the north Atlantic and south Atlantic coast.

Caravelle Peninsula and Martinique's Atlantic coast, as seen from the Phare de la Caravelle Caravelle Natural reserve.jpg
Caravelle Peninsula and Martinique's Atlantic coast, as seen from the Phare de la Caravelle

The Caribbean, or "leeward" coast of Martinique is much more favourable 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.

A tropical forest near Fonds-Saint-Denis Mountaine Rainforest - Pitons du Carbet.jpg
A tropical forest near Fonds-Saint-Denis
Pitons du Carbet rainforest, as seen from the Fontaine Didier route in Fort de France Pitons du Carbet rainforest.jpg
Pitons du Carbet rainforest, as seen from the Fontaine Didier route in Fort de France

The north of the island is especially 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 grey 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.

Grand Anse beach, a haven for sea turtles, southwest peninsula Grand Anse beach, Anses d'Arlet.jpg
Grand Anse beach, a haven for sea turtles, southwest peninsula
Savage beach of Cap macre, southwest Martinique Cap macre beach, Le Marin.jpg
Savage beach of Cap macré, southwest Martinique
Bay of le Marin and St Anne Peninsula as seen from the Morne Gommier road Bay of le Marin, South Martinique.jpg
Bay of le Marin and St Anne Peninsula as seen from the Morne Gommier road

The south is more easily traversed, though it still features some impressive geographic features. Because it is easier to travel to, and due to 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.

Flora and fauna

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.

The Trou d'eau of the Pitons du Carbet forest, Riviere du Lorrain, as seen from the Trace des Jesuites trail Trou d'eau, Trace des jesuites.jpg
The Trou d'eau of the Pitons du Carbet forest, Rivière du Lorrain, as seen from the Trace des Jésuites trail

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 [34] 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. [16]

Beach of Anse Grosse Roche, St Anne peninsula Anse Grosse Roche, le Marin.jpg
Beach of Anse Grosse Roche, St Anne peninsula
The Jamaican fruit bat Can be found throughout the island Artibeus jamaicensis.jpg
The Jamaican fruit bat Can be found throughout the island

Bat species include the Jamaican fruit bat, the Antillean fruit-eating bat, the Little yellow-shouldered bat, Davy's naked-backed bat, the Greater bulldog bat, Schwartz's myotis, and the Mexican free-tailed bat.

Economy

In 2014, Martinique had a total GDP of 8.4 billion euros. Its economy is heavily dependent on tourism, limited agricultural production, and grant aid from mainland France. [7]

Historically, Martinique's economy relied on agriculture, notably sugar and bananas, 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. [7] Banana exports are increasing, going mostly to mainland France. Chlordecone, a pesticide used in the cultivation of bananas before a ban in 1993, has been found to have contaminated farming ground, rivers and fish, and affected the health of islanders. Fishing and agriculture has had to stop in affected areas, having a significant effect on the economy. [35] 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. [7]

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%. [36]

Tourism

Les Salines, a wide sand beach at the southeastern end of the island Les Salines beach.jpg
Les Salines, a wide sand beach at the southeastern end of the island

Tourism has become more important than agricultural exports as a source of foreign exchange. [7] Most visitors come from mainland France, Canada and the USA. [7] Roughly 16% of the total businesses on the island (some 6,000 companies) provide tourist-related services. [36]

Infrastructure

Transport

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. [21] See List of airports in Martinique.

Fort-de-France is the major harbour. The island has regular ferry service to Guadeloupe, Dominica and St. Lucia. [16] [21] There are also several local ferry companies that connect Fort-de-France with Pointe du Bout. [16]

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. [16]

Communications

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 is dialled twice when calling a Martinique landline from another country.) [37]

Demographics

Population

Martinique had a population of 385,551 as of January 2013. [2] 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. [7]

Historical population
1700
estimate
1738
estimate
1848
estimate
1869
estimate
1873
estimate
1878
estimate
1883
estimate
1888
estimate
1893
estimate
1900
estimate
24,00074,000120,400152,925157,805162,861167,119175,863189,599203,781
1954
census
1961
census
1967
census
1974
census
1982
census
1990
census
1999
census
2006
census
2011
census
2013
census
239,130292,062320,030324,832328,566359,572381,325397,732392,291385,551
Official figures from past censuses and INSEE estimates

Ethnic groups

The population of Martinique is mainly of African descent generally mixed with European, Amerindian (Carib), Indo-Martiniquais (descendants of 19th-century Tamil immigrants from South India), Lebanese, Syrian or Chinese. Martinique also has a small Syro-Lebanese community, a small but increasing Chinese community, and the Béké community, descendants of the first European settlers. [7] Whites in total represent 5% of the population of Martinique. [38]

The Béké population represents around 1% of Martinique's population, [39] most of aristocratic origin by birth or after buying the title.[ citation needed ] In addition to the island population, the island hosts a mainland French community, most of which live on the island on a temporary basis (generally from 3 to 5 years).[ citation needed ]

Religion

Religion in Martinique [40]

   Catholic (86%)
   Protestant (5.6%)
   Muslim (0.5%)
   Baháʼí (0.5%)
   Hindu (0.3%)
  Others (7.1%)

About 90% of Martiniquans are Christian, predominantly Roman Catholic as well as smaller numbers of various Protestant denominations. [7] There are much smaller communities of other faiths such as Islam, Hinduism and Baháʼísm.

The island has 49 parishes [41] and several historic places of worship, such as the Saint-Louis Cathedral of Fort de France, [42] the Sacred Heart Church of Balata, [43] and the Co-Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption, Saint-Pierre. [44]

Languages

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.

Speaking Creole in public schools was forbidden until 1982, which is thought to have discouraged parents from using Creole in the home. [45] In the 1980s Martinican authors such as Patrick Chamoiseau, Jean Bernabé and Raphaël Confiant attempted to challenge this via the promotion of Creole in a cultural movement known as Créolité . [46] The education authority, Académie de la Martinique, launched a "Parcours Creole +" project in 2019, trialling bilingual education of children in French and Creole, or in French and English, planning a further option of French and Spanish. [47] Though Creole 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.[ citation needed ] 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 adopted features of Standard French.[ citation needed ]

Culture

Martinique dancers in traditional dress Martinique Costumes.JPG
Martinique dancers in traditional dress

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.

Cuisine

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 kuzhambu (Tamil : குழம்பு) 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.

Literature

Sisters Jeanne Nardal and Paulette Nardal were involved in the creation of the Négritude movement. Yva Léro was a writer and painter who co-founded the Women's Union of Martinique. Marie-Magdeleine Carbet wrote with her partner under the pseudonym Carbet.

Aimé Césaire is perhaps Martinique's most famous writer; he was one of the main figures in the Négritude literary movement. [48] René Ménil was a surrealist writer who founded the journal Tropiques with Aimé and Suzanne Césaire and later formulated the concept of Antillanité. Other surrealist writers of that era included Étienne Léro and Jules Monnerot, who co-founded the journal Légitime Défense with Simone Yoyotte and Ménil. Édouard Glissant was later influenced by Césaire and Ménil, and in turn had an influence on Patrick Chamoiseau, who founded the Créolité movement with Raphaël Confiant and Jean Bernabé.

Frantz Fanon, a prominent critic of colonialism and racism, was also from Martinique.

Music

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. [49] 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.

Anses d'Arlet village and his church by the beach Anses d'Arlet Churchside beach.jpg
Anses d'Arlet village and his church by the beach
Cap Chevalier and Anse Michel as seen from the Ilet Chevalier beach, on the Saint Anne peninsula Ilet Chevalier.jpg
Cap Chevalier and Anse Michel as seen from the Ilet Chevalier beach, on the Saint Anne peninsula

See also

Related Research Articles

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

The music of Martinique has a heritage which is intertwined with that of its sister island, Guadeloupe. Despite their small size, the islands have created 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.

The music of Guadeloupe encompasses 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 Guadeloupe and Martinique. Zouk's origins are in the folk music of Guadeloupe and Martinique, especially Guadeloupan gwo ka and Martinican chouval bwa, and the pan-Caribbean calypso tradition.

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Antillean Creole is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and vocabulary include elements of Carib, English, and African languages.

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The culture of Dominica is formed by the inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Dominica is home to a wide range of people. Although it was historically occupied by several native tribes, the Taíno and Island Caribs (Kalinago) tribes remained by the time European settlers reached the island. "Massacre" is a name of a river dedicated to the murders of the native villagers by French and British settlers, because the river ran red with blood for days. Each claimed the island and imported slaves from Africa. The remaining Caribs now live on a 3,700-acre (15 km2) Carib Territory on the east coast of the island. They elect their own chief.

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Index of Martinique-related articles Wikipedia list article

Articles related to the French overseas department of Martinique include:

Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which is the generally spoken language in Dominica. It can be considered a distinct dialect of Antillean Creole.

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