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Montagne Pelée, Martinique. Author Jean & Nathalie. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution
Montagne Pelée, Martinique. Author Jean & Nathalie

Martinique: wild island with an active volcano

The island of Martinique is a French overseas department located in the Caribbean, in the Lesser Antilles, south of Dominica and north of Saint Lucia, the capital is the city of Fort-de-France. Martinique was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493. It was only in 1635 that the island was occupied permanently by a group of French settlers who founded Saint-Pierre.

The island is of volcanic origin, is mountainous and heavily forested, it reaches the maximum height with the volcano Mount Pelée (1,397 meters), which is located at the northern end of the island, with its last eruption in 1902, it destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre causing over 30,000 casualties. The northern part of the island is mountainous, this part of Martinique is dominated not only by the Montagne Pelée but also by the Pitons du Carbet (1,196 meters), a group of five ancient volcanoes, now extinct, that dominate the bay where there is the island’s capital Fort-de-France.

Martinique Map

Martinique Map

The southern area of Martinique is flat with some low hills which rarely reach 500 meters high. Martinique, due to its volcanic nature, has black sand beaches, formed by the volcanic ash, and white sandy beaches, formed by corals. The black sand beaches are located in the northern part while the coral beaches are located in the southern area.

The economy is based on agriculture (sugar cane, tropical fruits, corn, beans, vanilla, tobacco, vegetables), fisheries, forestry, farming and tourism.

  • Area: 1,128 sqkm. (Arable 16%, Pastures 13%, Forests and Woodlands 44%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 27%)
  • Population: 400,000 (2007 data) (Africans and Mulattos (descendants of European and African) 90%, Europeans 5%).
  • State Capital: Fort-de-France.
  • Language: Official language is French. Used the French Creole.
  • Religion: Catholic.
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Time: UTC -4 hours.

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