From Christopher Columbus, the Spanish, the French, the British, then back to the French again, the island’s rich history never ceases to be a point of interest and reference to the island’s quirky present-day culture. If you’re the type to nerd out over a place’s history and revel in its natural wonders at the same time, Martinique is one of the best places to be in.
How Old Is Martinique?
Martinique’s origin goes back to the conquests of Europe’s colonial powers, namely, the Netherlands, the UK, Spain, Portugal, and France. During their exploration to the then-unknown new world have brought to myriads of inhabited islands which were then taken and subdued, pillaged, owned, and then put to use. Much of the Caribbean islands were used as trading posts, and plantations to supply nearby colonies in the South American continent.
Martinique was first found by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, but he didn’t set foot on the island until 1502, during his fourth voyage. By that time, the island was inhabited by indigenous Indians, the Arawak and Carib peoples – to which they called the island “the island of flowers”.
In the 17th century, Martinique was colonized by the Compagnie des Ile d’Amerique. King Louis XIII then signed a decree authorizing the use of slaves in the French-occupied part of the Antilles, including nearby islands like present-day Guadaloupe and Saint Martin.
After the start of the use of slaves, began the intense period of colonization among the many islands that have been occupied by the colonial powers, including the French-occupied ones. This intense colonization made France spark conflicts with the natives of the Caribbean islands. Farms and plantations were expanding further into native territories and eventually had them eradicated.
After centuries of French rule, British occupation, and then back to the French again, Martinique has long been one of France’s overseas departments that has a long and tumultuous history and has managed to become the beautiful island that it is today.
Who Were the First Inhabitants of Martinique?
Upon Christopher Columbus’ first visit to the island in 1502, he found that the island is inhabited by the indigenous people of Arawak and Carib Indians. These people groups may have found the island sometime during 130 AD, which came from South America, the nearby continent.
However, accounts have reported that the eruption of Mount Pelee in 25 AD may have extinguished the island’s first Arawak population. The Arawaks are believed to have returned and repopulated the island around 400 AD.
Around 600 AD, the first Carib Indians arrived and exterminated the Arawaks, which then settles on to the island, further developing their society but has met their own extermination when the French came.
How Did Martinique Get Its Name?
The Caribs that have inhabited the island said that the first inhabitants of the island called it “the island of flowers”, or Madiana, or Madinina, translated as “fertile island with luxuriant vegetation” by the Caribs. Which probably pertains to the island’s lush greenery and abundance of flowers.
Martinique was believed to be a corruption of the Madiana/Madinina names by the local creole language, calling the island, “Matinik”, or “Matnik”. With the French occupation and eventually control and governance, the term arrived at its final moniker “Martinique”.
Who Discovered Martinique?
The island was first sighted by the Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, but he didn’t set foot on the island until 1502, where he found that the island has already been inhabited by indigenous Arawak and Carib people groups.
Shortly after his visit, it was subsequently occupied by the French company “Compagnie des Ile d’Amerique”, the French’s counterpart to the Dutch’s West India Company. The French then colonized the island, enslaving indigenous populations, and eradicating them. The island has been under French rule ever since, even after the British took it.
Who Landed on Martinique in 1502?
Christopher Columbus sighted the island even before 1502, but eventually visited it during his fourth voyage in 1502.
Which Countries Colonized Martinique?
Martinique was technically colonized by the French, and the British during the 17th century, first under Pierre Belain when he occupied it in 1635, and then by his nephew, Jacques-Dyel du Parquet, who bought it from the Compagnie des Iles d’Amerique. After his death headed by his wife to who was then taken by the French crown.
After numerous attacks by both the Dutch and the British on different occasions, the island was captured in 1762 by the British for a brief period, until it was returned to French rule under the terms of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. However, the British recaptured the island in 1794 and occupied the island until 1809, and then returned to French rule in 1814.
In What Year Was Martinique Colonized?
Martinique was occupied and colonized by two Colonial European powers, first the French, then the British, then back to the French again. It was first occupied by the French back in 1635 and was under the headship of Pierre Belain until his illness which made him entrust it to his nephew, Jacques-Dyel du Parquet.
It was taken by the French crown, under King Louis XIV in 1658 until it was captured by the British in 1762. Then, again in 1794 until 1809. It was restored to France in 1814 and has been under French rule ever since.
When Was Martinique Colonized by France?
Martinique was occupied by the French in 1635 under the headship of Pierre Belain and the Compagnie des Iles d’Amerique. Since then, the island has been a subject of French rule, even after the British occupation of 1762 to 1763, and again from 1794 to 1809.
After its return to French rule in 1814, the island has been changing status until its last reform as an official overseas department of France in 1946 after the Second World War. Even though there were calls for full independence during the 1950s, the movement failed during the economic crisis of the 1970s.
Why Did France Colonize Martinique?
After Christopher Columbus merely sighted the island, the Spanish first came to Martinique, and was assumed that the Spanish didn’t see any use for the island so they abandoned it. It was evident when Christopher Columbus set foot on the island has found abandoned several pigs and goats on the island.
There are no particular accounts about why the French developed an interest in the island, however, the first French settlers drew the native population away, and eradicated them, and built farms, and plantations, possibly for supply and export. During the early French occupation, the island was a frequent stop for French and other foreign merchants to buy exotic islands, further developing the island into a prosperous colony.
What Year Did Martinique Gain Independence?
Martinique never did gain full independence as they are still under French rule, and will most likely continue to be so, given the lack of social movements calling for independence. However, during the 1950s, the Martiniquais sought full independence from French rule, but was however trampled and died during the island’s economic crisis in the 1970s.
Was There Slavery in Martinique?
Just like most of the post-colonial countries in the world, especially those taken by European powers, slavery and subjugation are deeply embedded in their histories, and Martinique is no different. After the introduction of sugar production from exiled Dutch Jews from colonial Brazil, Martinique used the enslaved indigenous population for their expanding sugar cane plantations.
The French rulers of Martinique did not only force the indigenous population to work, but also participated in the slave trade, putting them to work for prosperous colonial France. The slave trade across the Caribbean and the greater Atlantic Ocean was active between 1725 and 1760. There were a recorded 216,000 enslaved Africans that were brought to the island.
Under the French rule, the obtained slaves were put to work and were considered as mere “furniture” that can be bought, sold, and even inherited. Slave revolts took place on many occasions across the Caribbean islands with slaves resisting and fighting for their freedom but were met with extreme violence and was eventually stifled.
As the slave trade began to die down in the 1800s, France soon followed. After the Orleans Monarchy was ousted in 1948, France’s second republic was then instated. The republic soon organized the end of slavery and it was overseen by Victor Schoelcher in Martinique.
When Did Slavery Start in Martinique?
The first slaves arrived in Martinique due to a shipwreck in 1605. However, the formal usage of slaves didn’t start in 1685 where King Louis XIV’s “Le Code Noir” or the Black Code was proclaimed. This calls to remove the Africans from their homeland and transport them to work as slaves in the French sugar plantations across its many colonial territories.
When Did Slavery End in Martinique?
The Second Republic of France abolished slavery in 1848, headed by Victor Schoelcher in Martinique. Slavery was abolished in Martinique way before the decrees from France arrived on the island brought by Francois Perrinon, on June 3rd, calling for the official abolishment on August just after the sugar harvest. The month of May commemorates the end of slavery on the island.
Where Did Martinique Slaves Come From?
The first original slaves on the island were the indigenous Carib Indian people, who have settled on the island long before the arrival of European colonial powers on the Atlantic. After the French occupied the island, they eradicated most of the inhabitants and forced some of them to work.
It was in the late 1600s where the official trade and use of African slaves were introduced to the French-Caribbean islands. The transatlantic slave trade supplied colonial European countries with their slaves that were put to work in their colonies and settlements. The slaves were taken from their African homelands, coming from West to Central Africa.
What Killed Most of the Residents of St. Pierre in Martinique?
The entire town of St. Pierre in Martinique was decimated by the eruption of Mount Pelee in 1902. The devastating even took some 29,000 to 30,000 lives in a span of a few minutes, often considered as the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century, leaving only a couple of people to survive. The infamous stratovolcano erupted once again in 1929, but the residents were evacuated and have shown continuous activity up until 1932.