Martinique

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Martinique

Matnik / Matinik
Anse Charpentier 01.jpg
Anse Charpentier
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
CountryFlag of France.svg France
Prefecture Fort-de-France
Departments 1
Government
   President of Executive Council Alfred Marie-Jeanne [1]
Area
  Total1,128 km2 (436 sq mi)
Area rank17th region
Population
 (2016) [2]
  Total376,480
  Density330/km2 (860/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Martinic(qu)an,
Martiniquais (m) / Martiniquaise (f)
Time zone UTC-04:00 (ECT)
ISO 3166 code
GDP  (2012) [3] Ranked 23rd
Total€8.35 billion (US$10.7 bn)
Per capita€21,527 (US$27,688)
NUTS Region FRA
Website Prefecture, Territorial collectivity

Martinique ( /ˌmɑːrtɪˈnk/ MAR-tin-EEK, French:  [maʁtinik] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); Martinican Creole: Matnik or Matinik) [4] 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 (région d'outre-mer) of France, consisting of a single overseas department. One of the Windward Islands, it is directly north of Saint Lucia, northwest of Barbados and south of Dominica. As one of the eighteen regions of France, Martinique is part of the European Union, and its currency is the euro.

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.

Island Any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water

An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, skerries, cays or keys. An island in a river or a lake island may be called an eyot or ait, and a small island off the coast may be called a holm. A grouping of geographically or geologically related islands, such as the Philippines, is referred to as an archipelago.

Contents

Virtually the entire population speaks both French, the official language, and Antillean Creole (Créole Martiniquais). [5]

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Etymology

It is thought that Martinique is a corruption of the native name for the island (Madiana/Madinina, meaning 'island of flowers'), as relayed to Christopher Columbus when he visited the island in 1502. [6] According to historian Sydney Daney, the island was called "Jouanacaëra" by the Caribs, which means "the island of iguanas".[ citation needed ]

Christopher Columbus Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer and colonizer who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that opened the New World for conquest and permanent European colonization of the Americas. Columbus had embarked with intent to find and develop a westward route to the Far East, but instead discovered a route to the Americas, which were then unknown to the Old World. Columbus's voyages were the first European expeditions to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. His Spanish-based expeditions and governance of the colonies he founded were sponsored by Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, the Catholic Monarchs of the budding Spanish Empire. Columbus never clearly renounced his belief that he had reached the Far East.

Island Caribs Group of people who live in Venezuela and the Lesser Antilles islands

Island Caribs, also known as the Kalinago or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. They have descended from the Mainland Caribs (Kalina) of South America. The people spoke a carib pidgin language of Karina origins.

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, Martinique (seen from the harbor - 2005-06-15).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. [6] The Carib people had migrated from the mainland to the islands about 1201 CE, according to carbon dating of artifacts.[ citation needed ]

Common Era (CE) is one of the notation systems for the world's most widely used calendar era. BCE is the era before CE. BCE and CE are alternatives to the Dionysian BC and AD system respectively. The Dionysian era distinguishes eras using AD and BC. Since the two notation systems are numerically equivalent, "2019 CE" corresponds to "AD 2019" and "400 BCE" corresponds to "400 BC". Both notations refer to the Gregorian calendar. The year-numbering system used by the Gregorian calendar is used throughout the world today, and is an international standard for civil calendars.

European arrival and early colonial period

Martinique was charted by Columbus in 1493, but Spain had little interest in the territory. [6] Christopher Columbus landed on 15 June 1502, after a 21-day trade wind passage, his fastest ocean voyage. [6] He spent three days there refilling his water casks, bathing and washing laundry. [7]

Voyages of Christopher Columbus 1492-1502 voyages to the Americas; beginning of the Columbian exchange

In 1492, a Spanish-based transatlantic maritime expedition led by Italian explorer Christopher Columbus encountered the Americas, continents which were completely unknown in Europe, Asia and Africa and were outside the Old World political and economic system. The four voyages of Columbus began the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

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). [6] 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. [6]

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 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.[ citation needed ]

After the death of du Parquet his widow took over the running of the island, however dislike of her rule led King Louis XIV to take over sovereignty of Martinique in 1658. [6] Meanwhile, Dutch Jews, expelled from Portuguese Brazil, introduced sugar to the island in 1654. [6] Large numbers of slaves were imported from Africa to work these plantations. [6]

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 pre-eminence in the region. [8] In 1674 the Dutch attempted to conquer the island but were repulsed. [6]

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 greater religious freedom than what they could experience in mainland France.[ citation needed ] Others were transported there as a punishment for refusing to convert to Catholicism, many of them dying en route.[ citation needed ] Those that survived were quite industrious and over time prospered, though the less fortunate were reduced to 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 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 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 however left the islands susceptible to British occupation over the next century. [9]

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. [10] 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. [11]

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, including in 1693, 1759, 1762 and 1779. [6] 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. [6] [12] Martinique has remained a French possession since then.

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 Schoelcher, persuaded the French government to end slavery in the French West Indies in 1848. [13] [14] [6] [12] As a result, some plantation owners imported workers from India and China. [6] 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 black trader who retaliated after he was beaten by a Frenchman. After several deaths the revolt was crushed by French militia. [15]

20th-21st centuries

On 8 May 1902, Mont Pelée erupted and completely destroyed St. Pierre, killing 30,000 people. [6] 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. [16] Shortly thereafter the capital shifted to Fort-de-France, where it remains today. [12]

During WWII, the pro-Nazi Vichy government controlled Martinique under Admiral Georges Robert. [6] 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 5 in 1944.[ citation needed ] Free French forces took over on the island on Bastille Day, 14 July 1943. [6] [17]

In 1946 the French National Assembly voted unanimously to transform the colony into an Overseas Department of France. [6] 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. [18] 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 Martinque) was formed. Its leaders were later arrested by the French authorities, however they were later acquitted. [18] Tensions rose again in 1974, when gendarmes shot dead two striking banana workers. [18] However the independence movement lost steam as Martinique's economy faltered in the 1970s, resulting in large scale emigration. [19] Hurricanes in 1979-80 severely affected agricultural output, further straining the economy. [6] Greater autonomy was granted by France to the island in the 1970s-80s [6]

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. [20] [21] President Nicolas Sarkozy later visited the island, promising reform. [22] 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. [22]

Governance

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

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.

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 . The 45 cantons were abolished in 2015. The four arrondissements of the island, with their respective locations, are as follows:

Symbols and flags

As a part of France, Martinique uses the French tricolour as its flag and La Marseillaise as its anthem. [23] However a variety of other flags are also used in an unofficial or informal context, most notably the blue and white 'snake flag'. Independentists also have their own flag, using a red/black/green colour scheme. There is also a flag devised for use in sporting and cultural events. [24]

Geography

Map of Martinique Martinique-Map.png
Map of Martinique

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. [6] 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. [25] 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. [26] Pelée erupted in 1792, 1851, and twice in 1902. [16] 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. [27] [28]

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.

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 Fond St-Denis Tropical forest.JPG
A tropical forest near Fond St-Denis

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.

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.

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 [29] 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. [12]

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. [6]

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. [6] 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. [6]

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%. [30]

Tourism

Les Salines, a wide sand beach at the southeastern end of the island Martinique-11-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. [6] Most visitors come from mainland France, Canada and the USA. [6] Roughly 16% of the total businesses on the island (some 6,000 companies) provide tourist-related services. [30]

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. [16] 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. [12] [16] There are also several local ferry companies that connect Fort-de-France with Pointe du Bout. [12]

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. [12]

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 would be dialled twice if calling a Martinique landline from another country.) [31]

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. [6]

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 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. [6] Whites in total represent 5% of the population of Martinique. [32]

The Béké population (which totals around 1% of Martinique's population, [33] 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).

Religion

Religion in Martinique [34]

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

About 90% of Martinicans are Christian, predominantly Roman Catholic as well as smaller numbers of various Protestant denominations. [6] There are much smaller communities of other faiths such as Islam, Hinduism and Baha'ism.

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.

There was a time when the use of Creole was forbidden in schools and even within families, with French was the only language accepted.[ citation needed ] Considered as being less prestigious, many Martinicans grew up not speaking Creole. 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 . [35] Nowadays, attitudes have changed and the 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.[ 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.

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

Aimé Césaire is perhaps Martinique's most famous writer; he was one of the main figures in the négritude literary movement. [36] Other notable writers from Martinique include René Ménil, Étienne Léro, Thélus Léro, Édouard Glissant and Jules-Marcel Monnerot. Frantz Fanon, a prominent critic of colonialism and racism, was also from Martinique; his best known works are Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth .

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. [37] 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.

Les Anses d'Arlet Ansesdarlet.jpg
Les Anses d'Arlet

See also

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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.

Culture of Martinique

As ande overseas départment of France, Martinique's culture is French and Caribbean. Its former capital, Saint-Pierre, was often referred to as the Paris of the Lesser Antilles. Following French custom, many businesses close at midday, then reopen later in the afternoon. The official language is French, although many Martinicans speak a Creole patois. Based in French, Martinique's Creole also incorporates elements of English, Spanish, Portuguese, and African languages. Originally passed down through oral storytelling traditions, it continues to be used more often in speech than in writing.

Air Guadeloupe 1969-2000 airline in Guadeloupe, France

Air Guadeloupe was a small French international airline with its head office in Les Abymes, Guadeloupe, France. At one time, it was on the property of Le Raizet Airport. Later it was located in the Immeuble Le Caducet.

Air Martinique

Air Martinique was an airline based in the island of Martinique in the Lesser Antilles. Its head office was on the grounds of Fort-de-France Airport, now Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport, in Le Lamentin.

Index of Martinique-related articles Wikimedia 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 is highly mutually intelligible with its much more widely spoken immediate neighbor, Antillean Creole, of which it might be considered a distinct variety.

Paul Gauguin Interpretation Centre

The Paul Gauguin Interpretation Centre is located at Le Carbet in Martinique and is dedicated to famous French painter Paul Gauguin's stay on the island in 1887.

Suzanne Césaire [née Roussi], born in Martinique, France, was a French writer, teacher, scholar, anti-colonial and feminist activist, and Surrealist. She was the wife of poet and politician Aimé Césaire.

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