The original residents called their island Madinina, "Island of Flowers"
and even Columbus, who was known as a rather taciturn contemporary, became
poetic when he saw the island: "... the most fertile, sweetest, mildest and most
magical spot on earth..."
Martinique is covered by dense vegetation, especially the north is covered with
rich rainforest, which also allows the most exotic flowers to grow right on the
Otherwise, the island does not leave any Caribbean dreams open, bays with white
beaches line the coast, volcanoes rise inland, numerous former sugar cane and
rum plantations invite you to visit the French-colonial atmosphere that is still
there and is wonderful Gardens and parks invite you to take a stroll.
The French mother country, the descendants of the black slaves with their
African roots and also the numerous other immigrants have left behind a colorful
alliance of colors, music, excellent food and a special culture.
|Name of the country
||Martinique department (France)
|Form of government
||French overseas department
||around 61 ° west longitude
around 14 ° north latitude
||90% black and mixed race
3% Indian (mainly Tamils)
||85% of the population is Roman Catholic
11% Protestant (mainly
the rest Islamic and Hindu
||French and Creole
||Montagne Pelée with a height of 1,397 m
||Rivière la Lézarde with a length of 30 km
||Lac de la Manzo (artificial reservoir)
|International license plate
|Time difference to CET
||- 5 h
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
||220 volts, 50 hertz
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)
History of Martinique
Until around the year 1000
4,000 - 6,000 years ago, the Indians who were settled in South America,
especially from today's Venezuela, managed to colonize some Caribbean
islands. Bone finds and grave goods from the Ciboney, which began around 2000
BC. BC populated almost all the islands of the Antilles, show a close
relationship with the finds that have been made in Venezuela. The Ciboney were
followed between the first and eleventh centuries by the Arawaks, who also
visited the entire Antilles region, they brought agriculture (especially
cassava) with them. The Arawken were peace-loving and consisted of several
tribes, such as the Taino or the Igneri.
From the year 1000 to the 17th century
Abbreviationfinder website, the Arawaks followed the Caribs, they came from the north coast of South
America (Surinam, Guayana) and landed in the Lesser Antilles around the 14th
century, where they attacked the Arawaks, enslaved their husbands and married
their wives. The Arawaks had nothing to oppose the Caribs with their weapons,
which were highly developed for that time, so they had to allow themselves to be
pushed to the north.
At the time of Columbus, only Trinidad and the Virgin Islands were still
inhabited by the Arawaks. Columbus himself discovered the Antilles in 1492,
since he suspected to have landed in India, he called the islands the West
Indies. Martinique was only discovered on Columbus' 4th voyage from
1502-1504. The French were able to gain a foothold in the Caribbean in quick
succession in the 17th century, and landed in Martinique in 1635.
The exploitation of the islands by the Europeans began as soon as they were
discovered. Since the islands could not boast rich natural resources, the Caribs
were enslaved and shipped to Spain, most of them died within 5 years due to the
climate change and the strenuous work, then the slave shipping was stopped, but
slavery was maintained on the islands.
After most of the indigenous people on the island had also been massacred, the
first black slaves were transported to the Antilles from 1524 to work on the
plantations of the immigrant Europeans. After the tobacco market collapsed, the
colonists switched to sugar cane and later rum as an export item.
The working and living conditions of the black slaves were so cruel that even
French colonial officials Louis XV. (1710-1774) asked for a code to remedy the
worst of grievances. This “code noir” gave the situation of those affected a
legitimate name, but did not really improve the situation of the
In the 18th and 19th centuries
The chronicle of the slave revolts goes back to the 16th century, but reached
its peak in the 18th and 19th centuries. Century when the idea of the French
Revolution crossed the Atlantic. Because of these incidents, but also because of
the sharp criticism in the colonial states, slavery was banned in the first
quarter of the 19th century, and in France the French convention for the
abolition of slavery was approved in 1794. However, it was reinstated by
Napoleon in 1802 at the request of his Empress Josephine, who came from
With the proclamation of May 22, 1848, at the instigation of the French
politician Victor Schoelcher (1804-1893), slavery was finally abolished in the
French colonies through the "Décret d'abolition de l'esclavage du 27 avril
1848". The abolition of slavery did not, of course, immediately bring about a
significant improvement in the situation, as many slaves continued to be
dependent on their white masters.
Even so, the abolition of slavery created a shortage of cheap labor, so cheap
labor was "imported" from China, India and the Middle East. These people, whose
conditions in the Antilles differed only slightly from those of blacks, had made
a significant contribution to the ethnic diversity of the Antilles.
After the French Revolution and the uprising in Haiti, the French great power
ended in the Antilles.
In 1902, in Saint Pierre, what was probably the greatest natural disaster on the
island. On May 8, the Mont Pelée volcano erupted. The outbreak was announced
beforehand, but due to elections soon taking place in the region, the mayor at
the time failed to warn the citizens of the city. When the residents wanted to
flee the city at the last second, they found themselves surrounded by
soldiers. This killed all 30,000 residents, there was only one survivor, a
thief, who was incarcerated in the prison of Saint Pierre when the catastrophe
hit the city.
In modern times
When the Panama Canal was opened in 1914, the Lesser Antilles came back into
the hands of international shipping companies. In addition, the islands became
interesting for Europeans and Americans in need of relaxation as a tropical
In the period between the two world wars, a small group of colored lawyers,
intellectuals and artists developed who ensured that their fellow citizens
developed a new self and class consciousness towards the white minority.
During the Second World War, Martinique and Guadeloupe became trouble spots, as
after the defeat of France, the administrator at the time, Admiral Georges
Robert, tended towards the pro-German Vichy government. The Americans and
British then feared a German base on both islands.
To get around this, a blockade was initiated, which of course mainly suffered
from the black population, an impending famine was only averted, as Admiral
Roberts resigned his office and the Gaullists took over the leadership in the
French Antilles. In order to circumvent this, a blockade was initiated, which of
course mainly suffered from the black population, an impending famine was only
averted because Admiral Roberts resigned his office and the Gaullists took over
the leadership in the French Antilles.
In contrast to the other Caribbean colonies, the residents of Martinique and
Guadeloupe felt like French despite the high proportion of black
populations. The two islands were given the status of an overseas department in
1946. The citizens thus enjoy all French civil rights and send their own
deputies and senators to Paris.