Martinique is an island in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 km2. Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia, and to the southeast Barbados.
The year of 1848 in the history of Martinique saw slavery abolished and thousands of immigrants reached the island from India and the surrounding area for work on the island's plantations substituting the once thriving slave labor.
Due to the boom in sugar, the island became one fought over by the British and the island saw a change of hands in official ownership several times over the passing years.
Martinique acquired the status of a French overseas department. Today, Martinique is represented by 4 members of parliament and 2 senators.
Martinique’s heritage is an intriguing mix of Creole, African, French and Indian cultures. The deep roots of the Creole culture come directly from Africa and are alive and well in daily life.
This diversity stems from the cultural mixing of the island’s successive inhabitants: Amerindians, Europeans, Africans, Indians, Levantines and Asians.
Creole, Martinique’s “second language”, was created in the Americas by Africans. Locals often use this dialect to better express intimacy, humor and philosophy.
The most important celebration in Martinique is the Carnival which takes place from the Sunday after the Epiphany to Ash Wednesday. It is the opportunity for parades, dancing, beauty and costume contests in each and every village of the island.
The economy is based on sugarcane, bananas, tourism, and light industry. Agriculture accounts for about 6% of GNI and the small industrial sector for 11%.
The terrain is mountainous, especially in the rainforested northern part, where the volcano Montagne Pelée rises to a height of 1,397m (4,582 ft.).
Martinique became a domain of the French crown in 1674. It became an overseas department of France in 1946.