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This article was written on 01 Aug 2010, and is filled under To: Martinique.

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Discover Martinique

Welcome to Martinique, a classy, elegant French-Caribbean island full of wonderful gems. Whether you’re looking for historic sites, fine beaches, or delicious cuisine, this island lying in the Lesser Antilles won’t disappoint you. Vives les Vacances!


Martinique Island

Chic with stunning views, Martinique is the number one choice for beach loves, food lovers, divers, hikers... and much more!

HISTORY AND CULTURE

The Arawaks settled on the island about 2000 years ago, but were later wiped out by the fierce Caribs. Columbus sighted Martinique in 1502, but it was not colonized until 1635, when the French took control of the island, killing most Caribs while doing so. They started cultivating sugarcane and imported African slaves to do the gruelling work on the fields. Thanks to the enormous profits from the sugar industry, Martinique became one of the most prosperous French colonies.

During the 18th and 19th century, the British made multiple attempts to seize the island from the French, but eventually gave up their claim on the island after the Napoleonic wars. Slavery was abolished in 1848, and Indian workers were brought in to cultivate sugarcane. In 1902, Martinique was hit by a volcanic eruption, which left the capital city of Saint Pierre in ruin and 30 000 people dead. The capital was moved to Fort-de-France, and in 1946, Martinique became a Département d’Outremer, an Overseas Departments.

Today, Martinique is an island of 392 000 souls and consists of 34 municipalities. Most islanders are descended from African slaves, with the békés – the descendants of early French settlers – Lebanese, Chinese and East Indians making up the rest of the population. Although Martiniquans enjoy a high standard of living compared to other French Caribbean islands, social inequalities remain deep and have led to significant racial tensions between the wealthy békés minority and the relatively poor black majority, culminating in 2009 with protests over low wages and the high cost of living. French is the official language, but locals usually speak among themselves in Creole.

ACTIVITIES

Martinique’s beautiful beaches are a major draw. South of Fort-de-France, you can find Grand Anse des Salines, which is often considered as the best beach in Martinique. Anse Corps de Garde, Pointe du Bout, and Anse Turin are also recommended.

For those who favor a more active lifestyle, there are plenty of water-based activities, including sailing, windsurfing, and deep-sea fishing. Land-dwellers can take canopy tours, mountain-biking trips, and excursions on horseback.

Martinique offers plenty of shopping opportunities. Interesting items include wines, clothes, jewellery, and baskets.

At night, you can dance at one of the island’s nightspots. Most hotels have plenty of activities to keep you busy after dusk.

Try the delicious French and Creole food at one of Martinique’s excellent restaurants.

For more information about Martinique, please consult Cheap All Inclusive Caribbean Vacation today.

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