OFFICIAL NAME: Department of Martinique
CAPITAL: Fort de France
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Overseas Department of France
AREA: 1,077 Sq Km (416 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 403,200
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Martinique is an island located
in the windward group of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean
Sea. It is situated between the islands of St.Lucia and
Dominica and is of volcanic origin. Martinique is characterized
by an indented coastline and a mountainous terrain which
rises steeply from the sea. In the north the coastal cliffs
are capped by a narrow dissected plain. Mt. Pelee is the
country's highest point and is a dormant volcano which erupted
in 1902 killing 26,000 people. Major Cities (pop. est.);
Fort-de-France 100,100, Le Lamentin 30,000, Schoelcher 19,800,
Sainte-Marie 19,700 (1990). Land Use; forested 44%, pastures
17%, agricultural-cultivated 16%, other 23% (1993).
CLIMATE: Martinique has a tropical climate with relative humidity
ranging from 77 to 85% all year. There is a wet season between July to
November and the southern area of the island tends to be drier while December
to May are generally the cooler and drier months. Average temperature ranges
in Fort de France are from 21 to 29 degrees Celsius (70 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit)
between January and March to 23 to 31 degrees Celsius (73 to 88 degrees
Fahrenheit) between June and October.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Mulattoes who account
for around 98% of the population and are of mixed African and European
descent or mixed African and European and Indian descent. The remainder
are Beke and French.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 324 persons per sq km
(837 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 80.5% urban, 19.5% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 48.4% male, 51.6% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
71.0 years male, 77.0 years female (1989). Age Breakdown; 23% under 15,
29% 15 to 29, 21% 30 to 44, 13% 45 to 59, 10% 60 to 74, 4% 75 and over
(1985). Birth Rate; 17.9 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 6.1 per 1,000 (1990).
Increase Rate; 11.8 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 8.1 per 1,000
live births (1990).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 88% of the population Roman
Catholic while around 5% of the population are Hindu or follow local native
LANGUAGES: The official language is French while a Creole dialect
is widely spoken.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
9.8%, primary 62.7%, secondary 21.2%, higher 6.3% (1982). Literacy; literate
population aged 15 or over 206,807 or 92.5% (1982).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1947 France made Martinique
an Overseas Department. In 1959 riots demanding greater autonomy began
and in 1960 France granted Martinique some greater powers. In 1962 a plebiscite
resulted in the country remaining an overseas department. The island sends
three deputies to the French National Assembly and like other departments
in France it is governed by a General Council elected by the people. In
1991 the government announced plans to invest some F 2.4 billion in the
banana industry. In 1992 Emile Capgras, a Communist, was elected to the
Presidency of the General Council.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the French Franc (F) divided
into 100 Centimes.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $3,375,000,000 (1991). Public
Debt; USD $186,700,000 (1994). Imports; F 9,013,493,000 (1994). Exports;
F 1,013,588,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $332,000,000 (1993). Balance
of Trade; F -7,877,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 164,870
or 45.9% of total population (1990). Unemployed; 26.2% (1994).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are France,
Germany and Guadeloupe.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Flowers, Pineapples, Sugar Cane,
Tropical Fruits, Vegetables.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Construction, Cement, Light Industry, Oil Refining,
Rum Distilling, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Bananas, Petroleum Products, Rum.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 1,690 km (1,050 mi)
(1989). Vehicles; cars 135,269 (1985), trucks and buses 7,328 (1985). Merchant
Marine; vessels 6 (1990), deadweight tonnage N/A. Air Transport; N/A.
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 1 with a circulation
of 32,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 71,000 (1994). Television; receivers
65,000 (1994). Telephones; units 149,600 (1993).
MILITARY: 1,542 (1994) total active French duty personnel.