Martinique is an insular region of France in the eastern Caribbean Sea. As one of eighteen overseas regions of France and a fully fledged part of the French Republic, it's afforded all the same rights and freedoms as any other member state of the European Union, and subscribes to the use of the Euro as its sole currency. The most populous city in Martinique is Fort-de-France with 90,000 people. This is followed by Le Lamentin and Le Robert, with 39,000 and 24,000 respectively.
French censuses do not ask for or record ethnicity. This means estimates of the percentages of Martinique’s ethnic composition can vary. The majority of Martinique’s population is of African heritage, mixed with some French, Carib Indian, Indo-Martiniquas (descendants of 19th century Indian immigrants), Lebanese, and Chinese. It's estimated the ethnic groups of Martinique break down as:
- 80% African/African-white-Indian mix
- 10% Indo-Martiniquais
- 5% White
- <5% Lebanese and Syrians/Chinese
The official language of Martinique is French, however almost the entire population of the region also speaks Antillean Creole.
The island's first occupants were the Arawaks, followed by the Carib people migrating from the islands around the turn of the 13th century. The Carib were then replaced by the Taino, who were mainly exterminated or assimilated, at the end of the 15th century.
French settlers landed on the island in 1635, claiming it for King Louis XIII and the Kingdom of France and establishing the first European settlement. The 1680s saw Martinique become something of a dumping ground for French Huguenots who refused to accept Catholicism. More than 1,000 Huguenots were sent to Martinique during this period. During the Napoleonic Wars the island saw several years of British occupation. At the end of the wars in 1815 it was traded back to the French and has remained under French rule ever since.
It's estimated that the early 1700s saw a huge leap from 24,000 at the turn of the century to 74,000 just 38 years later. This growth continues, reaching an estimated:
- 120,400 in 1848
- 152,925 in 1869
- 157,805 in 1873
- 162,861 in 1878
- 167,119 in 1883
- 175,863 in 1888
- 189,599 in 1893
- 203,781 in 1900
From the estimated 24,000 thought to inhabit the island in the early 1700s, today sees in excess of 364,500 people.
The first half of the 2010s saw something of a decline, decreasing by around 3%, before slightly picking up in 2018 and 2019. It's projected that the population will continue to decline consistently throughout the century by an expected 25%, culminating in numbers lower than those of the 1960s.
Martinique is one of the overseas regions and departments of France. It is located in the Caribbean in the Lesser Antilles. Martinique, according to data from 2016, has a population of 376,480 inhabitants. These residents are spread across a total land area of 436 square miles. The population density of this region is about 860 people per square mile.
Martinique is part of the European Union. Its prefecture – or capital – is Fort-de-France. Over 81,000 people reside in this city, which is one of the largest in the Caribbean.
People that hail from Martinique are calling Martinicans. There are approximately 260,000 Martinicans living in mainland France. The largest ethnic group of Martinique is people of African descent mixed with other ethnicities. Other ethnic groups include Syro Lebanese, Chinese, and white.
In Martinique, the official language is French. Almost the entire population speaks French. Many people also speak Martiniquan Creole. The dominant religion in Martinique is Roman Catholicism. There are also smaller populations of Protestants, Jews, and pagan Africans.
Martinique has a high standard of living that exceeds other nations and territories in the Caribbean. While agriculture was once the biggest contributor the economy, that has since been surpassed by tourism. About 7% of the workforce works in the tourism industry. According to data from 2000, half a million tourists visited this region.