Martinique Island

Martinique Island

Martinique is an island located in the eastern Caribbean Sea in the Windward Islands of the West Indies. This overseas department of France is an integral part of the Republic. Martinique is situated between Dominica and St Lucia. The island of Martinique is mountainous and rugged and reaches its greatest height in Mt. Pelée. The capital of Martinique is Fort-de-France, the former Fort Royal. History of Martinique

Historians record that Martinique was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1502. The original inhabitants of the island were the Arawaks Indians and later the Caribs. The French build a colony in the island after 1635. In 1660, the Carib Expulsion occurred when the island’s indigenous peoples were deported and banned from returning by the French forces.

Martinique became an overseas department of France on March 19, 1946. By becoming an overseas department, Martinique enjoyed the same rights of other departments in France and enjoyed the full representation in the National Assembly and Senate.

Tourist Attractions in Martinique Island

Martinique, popularly known as “a little bit of France in the Caribbean”, boasts a distinctly French feeling while has a character of its own. Martinique has several tourist attractions and it will be a good option to start from its fascinating capital, Fort-de-France.

Fort-de-France

Fort-de-France is a town of winding streets and colorful markets. Among the major tourist attractions in Fort-de-France is the architectural masterpiece, the Bibliothèque Schoelcher (also known as Schoelcher Library) - a Romanesque-Byzantine gem built more than 100 years ago for the Paris Exposition of 1889.

In the heart of the town is the city’s Central Park - La Savanne. The gardens of La Savanne are a nice place to rest and relax. The park has two attractive statues: one Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the other Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc, the French nobleman who claimed Martinique for France in 1635. Empress Josephine’s birthplace, Les Trois-Îlets, is situated across the bay from the town.

The Musée Départemental showcases the remains of the predominantly Arawak and Carib Indian prehistory of Martinique. There is an interesting Caribbean Arts Center.

Other nearby attractions are the Cathedral of Saint-Louis; Le Théatre Municipal (the former city hall), now used for theatrical productions and art shows; the "Gen Lontan" Museum, where tourists can discovers the island through period costumes; and the Rivière Madame with its busy colorful fish markets.

St Pierre

St Pierre is a 1, 430 m volcanic mountain situated in the north of the island. Known as the "Paris of the West Indies" until 1902, when Montagne Pelée volcano erupted and ripped the summit off, destroying the city of St Pierre. St Pierre was designated a Ville d'Art et d'Histoire in 1990.

St Pierre is today Martinique’s second city and it still shows some signs of its former glory. The remains of the beautiful and remarkable city are now a tourist attraction. The Musée Volcanologique displays photographs and documents which describes the story of the disaster.

Le Carbet

Located near Le Carbet, where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502, is the restored plantation of Leyritz. The place is now a major tourist hangout.

The South

Situated in the south of Martinique is Pointe du Bout, the island’s main resort area. Le Diamant, Ste Anne, and Les Anses d’Arlets features some of the Martinique’s best bathing beaches. Located just 4 km off Diamant is the HMS Diamond Rock – a rock formation which was designated a man-of-war by the British during the Napoleonic wars.

Le Prêcheur

Le Prêcheur, the last village along the Caribbean coast, famous for the hot springs of volcanic origin and the Tomb of the Carib Indians.

Morne Rouge

Morne Rouge is another beautiful town and site of MacIntosh Plantation which cultivates the island’s best known flower, the anthurium. The town is also renowned for the new Musee Amérindien, which showcases a wealth of archeological pre-colombian artifacts and ceramics. The Amerindian ethnological objects in the museum are left by noted historian, Jacques Petitjean Roget.

Other places of interest in Martinique include Domaine Acajou, Jardin de Balata (Martinique's most beautiful flower gardens), the colorful Maison du Bagnard (Convict's House) and the Maison du Gaoulé.

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