Learn more about Martinique
|Regional President|| Alfred Marie-Jeanne|
(MIM) (since 1998)
|Land area1||1,100 km²|
|- January 1, 2008 est.||436,131|
|- March 8, 1999 est.||381,427|
|- Density (2005)||353/km²|
|1 French Land Register data, which exclude lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km² (0.386 sq. mi. or 247 acres) as well as the estuaries of rivers|
|Image:Flag of France.svg|
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, having a total area of 1,128 km². It is an overseas département (département d'outre-mer, or DOM) of France. Like the other DOMs, Martinique is also one of the 26 régions of France (as a région d'outre-mer), and an integral part of the Republic. As part of France, Martinique is part of the European Union, the currency used is the euro. Its official language is French, although almost all of its inhabitants also speak Antillean Creole (Créole Martiniquais). Martinique is pictured on all euro banknotes, on the backside at the bottom of each note, right of the Greek ΕΥΡΩ (EURO) next to the denomination.
Agriculture accounts for about 6% of GDP and the small industrial sector for 11%. Sugar production has declined, with most of the sugarcane now used for the production of rum. Banana exports are increasing, going mostly to France. The bulk of meat, vegetable, and grain requirements must be imported, contributing to a chronic trade deficit that requires large annual transfers of aid from France. Tourism has become more important than agricultural exports as a source of foreign exchange. The majority of the work force is employed in the service sector and in administration.
Martinique's indigenous people were Carib indians. Christopher Columbus saw the island in 1493 but he didn't set foot on it until 1502 during his fourth voyage. However, Spaniards did not colonize the island. The first European to inhabit the island was the Frenchman Pierre Belan d'Esnambuc who founded a settlement on the island in 1635. His nephew Jacques-Dyel du Parquet bought the island and developed a rich and wealthy colony. The island became a part of the French crown in 1658. Sugar, cocoa and coffee were the first crops to be grown on the island. Black slaves were brought to to island from West Africa.
- See also: Music of Martinique and Guadeloupe
As an overseas départment of France, Martinique's culture is blends French and Caribbean influences. Its former capital, Saint-Pierre (destroyed by a volcanic eruption), 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 Antillean Creole. 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.
Most of Martinique's population is descended from African slaves brought to work on sugar plantations during the colonial era. Today, the island enjoys a higher standard of living than most other Caribbean countries. The finest French products are easily available, from Chanel fashions to Limoges porcelain. Studying in France is common for young adults. For the French, Martinique has been a vacation hotspot for many years, attracting both upper-class and more budget-conscious travelers.
 Miscellaneous topics
- List of media outlets in Martinique
- Communications in Martinique
- Creole Patois
- Holidays in Martinique
- Military defense is the responsibility of France.
Military branches: French forces (Army, Navy, Air force), Gendarmerie
- Patrick Shaw
- Transportation in Martinique
- Aime Cesaire
- Scouts de Martinique
- Frantz Fanon
- Edouard Glissant
- Ronny Turiaf
 External links and references
- Martinique Tourism Authority USA
- Martinique travel guide from Wikitravel
- Some material from the CIA World Factbook
- Martinique Guide Information
- Martinique Island Guide and Useful Information
- The active and festive guide of Martinique
- Vintage Postcards of Martinique
- Martinique at Google Maps
- Simon Jean-Joseph - the European rally champion from Martinique
- Sailing Guide for Martinique