from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Flag of France.svg
Martinique flag
Coat of arms of Martinique.svg
Martinique coat of arms
Basic data
Official language French
main place Fort-de-France
surface 1,128 km²
population 372,594 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 330.3 inhabitants / km²
Department Martinique (972)
Arrondissements 4th
Community associations 3
Cantons no
Communities 34
prefect Laurent Prévost
President of the Regional Council Alfred Marie-Jeanne
President of the General Council Josette Manin
currency Euro (EUR)
Time zone UTC − 4
Internet TLD .mq
prefix +596
Antarktika Vereinigtes Königreich (Südgeorgien und die Südlichen Sandwichinseln) Chile Uruguay Argentinien Paraguay Peru Bolivien Brasilien Ecuador Panama Venezuela Guyana Suriname Kolumbien Trinidad und Tobago Vereinigtes Königreich (Falklandinseln) Frankreich (Französisch-Guayana) Niederlande (ABC-Inseln) Costa Rica Honduras El Salvador Guatemala Belize Mexiko Jamaika Kuba Haiti Dominikanische Republik Bahamas Nicaragua Vereinigte Staaten Kanada Inseln über dem Winde (multinational) Puerto Rico (zu Vereinigte Staaten) Vereinigtes Königreich (Kaimaninseln) Vereinigtes Königreich (Turks- and Caicosinseln) Vereinigtes Königreich (Bermuda) Frankreich (St.-Pierre und Miquelon) Dänemark (Grönland) Russland Island Norwegen Irland Vereinigtes Königreich Deutschland Dänemark Belgien Frankreich Spanien Portugal Spanien (Kanarische Inseln) Marokko Libyen Kap Verde Mauretanien Mali Burkina Faso Elfenbeinküste Ghana Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea-Bissau Gambia Senegal Tunesien Niger Schweiz ItalienSituation in america
About this picture
Martinique map

Martinique [ maʀtiˈnik ] (Martinique- Creole Matinik or Matnik ) is an island in the Caribbean . It belongs to the Lesser Antilles and the Leeward Islands . In the language of the indigenous people , the island was called Madinina (flower island), this name is still often used by the locals today. As an overseas department and region of France, Martinique is a fully integrated part of the French state and thus part of the European Union .


Tropical rainforest near the town of Fond St. Denis

Martinique lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, 25 km south of Dominica and 37 km north of St. Lucia . It is approximately 6,850 km from Paris and 3,150 km from New York and 440 km off the coast of Venezuela .

The island has a length of 73 km and a width of 39 km. The coastline is around 350 km long. The island is mountainous. In the north of the island is the Montagne Pelée volcano , which has a height of 1,397 m.

9.4% of the island's land area is urbanized. Agriculture is practiced on 11.3% of the area.


The climate is tropical and the rainy season lasts from June to October. The north is humid with lush vegetation. In the south, the climate is drier, and this is where most of the tourist destinations are located. The mean air temperatures in January and February are between min. 21 ° C and max. 27 ° C, in August and September between min. 24 ° C and max. 30 ° C. The months of June to November are characterized by high humidity. February has an average of 12 rainy days, July 22.

The water temperature can exceed 28 ° C in July to October and is not below 26 ° C in February either.

Cyclones can occur between June and November .

Climate diagram of Fort-de-France 1941–1970
Climate diagram from Le Lamentin 1961–1990


About 80% of the population is of African origin. 15% of the residents are of Indian or Afro-Indian origin (called “coolies” in Martinique), mostly in the east of the island. About 5% of Martinique's residents are of European descent. This group includes the whites born in Martinique, who descend from the colonial upper class and are called Béké . They can be traced back to around 30 families. All people born in Martinique, both white and black, are called Creoles . In addition, European immigrants from the metropolis (France) and French civil servants posted to Martinique live on the island. Due to the very high standard of living in regional comparison, Martinique - like the other French departments of Guadeloupe and French Guiana  - also attracts immigrants from the region, especially from Haiti .

85% of the population are Roman Catholic ( Archdiocese of Saint-Pierre et Fort-de-France ), 10.5% Protestant (mainly Adventists ). 0.5% each profess Islam and Hinduism .

The official language is French . However, the mother tongue of the majority of the population is Martinique Creole, a French Creole language .

Population development

year population
1950 222.002
1960 281,622
1970 325.011
1980 325.454
1990 358,449
2000 387.004
2010 394.910
2017 384,896

Source: UN


Map from 1760
Former town hall of Fort-de-France
Statue of Joséphine de Beauharnais

First settlements can be up to 4000 BC. Be proven. Around 100 BC The Arawak colonized the island from the Orinoco region in Venezuela. The Caribs followed in the 10th century . Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover Martinique on June 15, 1502 on his fourth voyage to Europe. He went ashore at what is now the municipality of Carbet. The island was colonized by France in 1635 by Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc on behalf of the Compagnie des îles d'Amérique founded by Richelieu and since then has remained in French possession except for three brief periods of foreign occupation. In 1648 the Compagnie des îles d'Amérique went bankrupt, after which the island was sold to Jacques Dyel du Parquet , nephew of Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc. He founded Fort-de-France and planted sugar cane for the first time, which led to an initial economic boom. By 1660, almost the entire native population was exterminated.

Through the establishment of the French East India Company by Jean-Baptiste Colbert in 1664, Martinique possession of the French crown was. During the Second Anglo-Dutch War , France was allied with the Netherlands - an English fleet repeatedly attacked French settlements on Martinique and defeated a French squadron at Saint-Pierre on July 6th. In the Third Anglo-Dutch War , in which France fought with England against the Netherlands, Martinique was attacked on July 16, 1674 by the fleet of the Dutch admiral Michiel de Ruyter .

In 1685 the so-called Code Noir was passed, which confirmed slavery in the French colonies. In 1694 the Dominican Père Labat arrived. He was a missionary , ethnologist and writer; he introduced the windmills and improved rum distillation.

Thanks to the patronage of Madame de Pompadour , the economist and physiocrat Pierre-Paul Le Mercier de La Rivière was appointed director or governor of Martinique, during the period from 1759 to 1764 he had great economic successes there. He was wounded during the armed conflict with the British and was taken prisoner. From 1762 to 1763 Martinique was occupied by the British. On June 23, 1763, Joséphine , b. de Tascher de la Pagerie, who later became Napoleon's wife, was born in Trois-Îlets near Fort-de-France in Martinique. Her parents ran a sugar cane plantation there, which can still be viewed as a museum today. In Fort-de-France in the “La Savane” park there is a small statue of Joséphine, but since 1991 without a head, as it is unpopular with the population because of the renewed introduction of slavery in Martinique.

In 1783 there were about 60,000 slaves. From 1787 to 1802 a civil war broke out because of conflicts between plantation owners and traders, there was a slave revolt. In 1794, in the spirit of the French Revolution, the French Convention approved the abolition of slavery. This decision did not last long, however, because Napoleon reintroduced slavery in 1802. On May 22, 1848, slavery was finally abolished. Victor Schoelcher played an important role in this. Because of the shortage of labor on the plantations, Indians and Chinese were employed there from this time.

The Martinique hurricane of 1891 devastated the island in August of that year, and around 700 people lost their lives, but a decade later the island was hit by an even more serious natural disaster : on May 8, 1902, the volcano Mt. Pelée erupted . A pyroclastic flow resulted in more than 30,000 deaths. Only a shoemaker and a prison inmate survived in Saint-Pierre . At that time the city was the most economically important of Martinique because of the good roadstead. In 1946 Martinique became one of the French overseas departments ( Départements d'Outre-Mer / DOM ), which are politically considered part of the mother country. Martinique received four MPs and two senators. In 1972 Martinique became a region , a parallel status to the DOM. In 1983 the regional council was introduced through decentralization . 1958 there were autonomy movements. In 1999 the Martinique banana sparked a “trade war” between the US and Europe. In 2003, the dual status of Region and Department (DOM) was confirmed.

As in Guadeloupe , there was a general strike in Martinique in 2009 . It started on February 5th and ended in March. The trigger was the high cost of living. Opponents of the strikers were the "békés", the descendants of the former white slave owners , who still largely dominate the islands economically. The strikers were able to push through higher wages. However, some of the commitments were not kept.

In a referendum initiated by the French state on 10 January 2010 on more autonomy for the département, 79% of those who voted voted against.


There is a strong tradition of dance and music on the island. The dances Biguine, Zouk , Quadrille and Gwo Ka, which are typically Creole, are danced . Especially at the time of the island's carnival there is a lot of dancing with decorated processions across the island.

Another cultural highlight of Martinique is the regatta Tour des Yoles , where small boats are increasingly used.


Martinique is a French overseas region and a French overseas department with the department number 972.

As local authorities, the region and the department are responsible for the same territory, but have separate institutions - the regional council ( conseil régional ) and the general council ( conseil général ) of the département with 45 members - which exercise their respective powers independently of one another.

The prefect acts as the representative of the central government . Martinique sends four representatives to the French National Assembly and two to the Senate .

As a fully integrated part of the French state, Martinique is also part of the European Union . The euro is the legal tender as in the French heartland.

See also: List of Presidents of the Martinique Regional Council since 1983

Administrative division

Arrondissement Cantons Communities Residents
January 1, 2017
Density of
population / km²
Fort-de-France - 4th 000000000156079.0000000000156.079 170.99 000000000000913.0000000000913 9721
La Trinité - 10 000000000077532.000000000077,532 337.64 000000000000230.0000000000230 9722
Le Marin - 12 000000000116168.0000000000116.168 409.14 000000000000284.0000000000284 9723
Saint-Pierre - 8th 000000000022815.000000000022,815 210.26 000000000000109.0000000000109 9724
Martinique department - 34 000000000372594.0000000000372,594 1,128.03 000000000000330.0000000000330 972
Arrondissements in Martinique
Associations of municipalities in Martinique

Martinique is divided into four arrondissements and 34 parishes . Until 2015, Martinique was also divided into 45 constituencies ( cantons ), this level was abolished in 2015. See also:


The island has one airport, the Aéroport International Martinique Aimé Césaire in Lamentin ( IATA airport code : FDF). The flight time from Paris-Orly to Martinique is approx. 8 hours 30 minutes and back approx. 8 hours. There are other direct flights to and from Brussels, Guadeloupe, Cayenne, St. Martin, Montreal (Canada) and Miami (USA). A few other intra-Caribbean routes are also served.

The road network is excellent and some of it has four lanes. Some side streets are very curvy with some steep gradients, so that the achievable average speeds are relatively low, especially since traffic jams occur regularly.

There is no railroad in Martinique. However, light railways were operated on several sugar cane plantations until the 1970s . With Le Train des Plantations there is now a museum - narrow-gauge railway in Sainte-Marie .

Regular ferries connect Martinique with St. Lucia, Dominica and Guadeloupe.


For the year 2009 INSEE has 402,499 inhabitants and Eurostat shows a gross domestic product of € 7.753 billion for Martinique. This corresponds to € 16,900 (purchasing power standard) per inhabitant.

The gross domestic product (GDP) of Martinique was € 4.48 billion in 1995 and thus € 11,990 per inhabitant (France € 19,360). This means that Martinique has the highest GDP of all five French overseas departments and of all Caribbean countries. In comparison with the GDP of the EU, expressed in purchasing power standards, Martinique achieved an index of 73.4 (EU-25: 100) (2003).

7.6% of employees work in the primary sector , 17.5% in the secondary and 74.9% in the tertiary sector. In 2017 the unemployment rate was 17.8%.

Bananas account for 40% of export revenues and are therefore the most important export good. 80% of those employed in agriculture work in the cultivation of bananas. Cane sugar , rum and pineapple are other important agricultural products.

The secondary sector is mainly covered by two companies, the French electricity company Electricité de France and the Société Anonyme de la Raffinerie des Antilles .

The tertiary sector consists mainly of trade and tourism industries. Tourism contributes 7% of GDP. Around 80.1% of the tourists come from France, 5.0% from Europe (excluding France), 10.4% from the Caribbean, 3.1% from the USA and 1.4% from the rest of the world.


Wendie Renard at the Women's World Cup in July 2011

Web links

Commons : Martinique  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Martinique  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Wikivoyage: Martinique  - Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. French Statistics Institute ( )
  2. Ministère de l'Intérieur: Le corps préfectoral / Préfecture / Accueil - Portail des services de l'Etat. In: Retrieved January 18, 2015 (French).
  3. Résultats des élections régionales 2015. In: Retrieved November 3, 2016 (French).
  4. Le Conseil Général de la Martinique - Le Conseil Général ( Memento of February 1, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) In:
  5. World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations. Retrieved July 28, 2017 .
  6. D. Marley: Wars of the Americas , p. 167 ( limited preview in Google Book Search)
  7. Gustave Schelle: Le docteur Quesnay. Surgery, Médecin de Mme de Pompadour et de Louis XV, Physiocrate. ( DjVu ) Félix Alcan, éditeur. Paris 1907, p. 345 (sheet 357)
  8. Florence Gauthier: Le Mercier de la Rivière et les colonies d'Amérique. In: Revue Française d'Histoire des Idées Politiques , 2/2004 (N ° 20), pp. 37–59.
  9. ^ Bernard Schmid : Riot in the French "overseas territories" . March 12, 2009. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  10. Bernhard Schmid: Poor, but autonomous . In: jungle world , July 16, 2009, accessed September 15, 2009.
  11. Guiana and Martinique against independence., January 11, 2010, accessed on January 12, 2014 .
  12. ^ History and culture of the French Caribbean islands . In: Official website for tourism in France . ( [accessed January 15, 2018]).
  13. COMPAGNIES AERIENNES. In: Aéroport International Martinique Aimé Césaire. September 26, 2017, accessed on January 28, 2020 (Fri-FR).
  14. Thomas Kautzor: The Railways of Martinique 2013. Rob Dickinson, accessed on September 10, 2018 (English).
  15. Thomas Kautzor: The Railways of Martinique 2014. Rob Dickinson, accessed on September 10, 2018 (English).
  16. Regional GDP in the European Union ( Memento of October 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  17. The Year of Worker Mobility - Around 25 million non-nationals living in EU25 Member States in 2004 ( Memento of March 7, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file)
  18. Unemployment rate, by NUTS 2 regions. Retrieved November 5, 2018 .

Coordinates: 14 ° 38 ′  N , 61 ° 1 ′  W