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Colonized by France in 1635, the island has subsequently remained a French possession except for three brief periods of foreign occupation.
Geography Martinique
Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates:
14 40 N, 61 00 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 1,100 sq km
water: 40 sq km
land: 1,060 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly more than six times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
350 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
tropical; moderated by trade winds; rainy season (June to October); vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average; average temperature 17.3 degrees C; humid
mountainous with indented coastline; dormant volcano
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Montagne Pelee 1,397 m
Natural resources:
coastal scenery and beaches, cultivable land
Land use:
arable land: 9.43%
permanent crops: 11.32%
other: 79.25% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
30 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
hurricanes, flooding, and volcanic activity (an average of one major natural disaster every five years)
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
the island is dominated by Mount Pelee, which on 8 May 1902 erupted and completely destroyed the city of Saint Pierre, killing 30,000 inhabitants
People Martinique
429,510 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 22.6% (male 49,245; female 47,845)
15-64 years: 67% (male 143,893; female 143,963)
65 years and over: 10.4% (male 20,043; female 24,521) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 33.1 years
male: 32.5 years
female: 33.8 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.81% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
14.56 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
6.43 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.05 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 4.79 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 78.88 years
male: 79.35 years
female: 78.4 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Martiniquais (singular and plural)
adjective: Martiniquais
Ethnic groups:
African and African-white-Indian mixture 90%, white 5%, East Indian, Chinese less than 5%
Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 10.5%, Muslim 0.5%, Hindu 0.5%, other 3.5% (1997)
French, Creole patois
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.7%
male: 97.4%
female: 98.1% (2003 est.)
Government Martinique
Country name:
conventional long form: Department of Martinique
conventional short form: Martinique
local short form: Martinique
local long form: Departement de la Martinique
Dependency status:
overseas department of France
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas department of France)
none (overseas department of France)
National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
28 September 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:
French legal system
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France (since 17 May 1995); Prefect Yves DASSONVILLE (since 14 January 2004); note - took office 8 February 2004
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; the presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by the members of those councils
head of government: President of the General Council Claude LISE (since 22 March 1992); President of the Regional Council Alfred MARIE-JEANNE (since NA March 1998)
cabinet: NA
Legislative branch:
unicameral General Council or Conseil General (45 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and a unicameral Regional Assembly or Conseil Regional (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
elections: General Council - last held NA March 2000 (next to be held NA 2006); Regional Assembly - last held on 28 March 2004 (next to be held by March 2010)
election results: General Council - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - left-wing candidates 13, PPM 11, RPR 6, right-wing candidates 5, PCM 3, UDF 3, PMS 2, independents 2; note - the PPM won a plurality; Regional Assembly (second round) - percent of vote by party - MIM 53.8%, PPM 30.6%; seats by party - MIM 28, PPM 9, other 4
note: Martinique elects 2 seats to the French Senate; elections last held NA September 2001 (next to be held September 2004); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PPM 2; Martinique also elects 4 seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held, first round - 9 June 2002, second round - 16 June 2002 (next to be held not later than June 2007); results - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - UMP-RPR 1, PS 1, MIM 1, left-wing candidate 1 (candidacy of the left-wing candidate was found invalid by the Constitutional Council; new elections will be called)
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel
Political parties and leaders:
Martinique Communist Party or PCM [Georges ERICHOT]; Martinique Independence Movement or MIM [Alfred MARIE-JEANNE]; Martinique Progressive Party or PPM [Pierre SUEDILE]; Martinique Socialist Party or PMS [Ernest WAN-AJOUHU]; Movement of Democrats and Ecologists for a Sovereign Martinique or Modemas [Garcin MALSA]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Michel CHARLONE]; Socialist Revolution Group or GRS [Philippe PIERRE-CHARLES]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Jean MAREN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC; Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM [Marc PULVAR]; Frantz Fanon Circle; League of Workers and Peasants; Proletarian Action Group or GAP
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas department of France)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas department of France)
Flag description:
a light blue background is divided into four quadrants by a white cross; in the center of each rectangle is a white snake; the flag of France is used for official occasions
Economy Martinique
Economy - overview:
The economy is based on sugarcane, bananas, tourism, and light industry. Agriculture accounts for about 6% of GDP and the small industrial sector for 11%. Sugar production has declined, with most of the sugarcane now used for the production of rum. Banana exports are increasing, going mostly to France. The bulk of meat, vegetable, and grain requirements must be imported, contributing to a chronic trade deficit that requires large annual transfers of aid from France. Tourism, which employs more than 11,000 people, has become more important than agricultural exports as a source of foreign exchange.
purchasing power parity - $6.117 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $14,400 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 11%
services: 83% (1997 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.9% (1990)
Labor force:
165,900 (1998)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 10%, industry 17%, services 73% (1997)
Unemployment rate:
27.2% (1998)
revenues: $900 million
expenditures: $2.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $140 million (1996)
construction, rum, cement, oil refining, sugar, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
1.151 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.07 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
13,500 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Agriculture - products:
pineapples, avocados, bananas, flowers, vegetables, sugarcane
$250 million f.o.b. (1997)
Exports - commodities:
refined petroleum products, bananas, rum, pineapples (2001 est.)
Exports - partners:
France 45%, Guadeloupe 28% (2000)
$2 billion c.i.f. (1997)
Imports - commodities:
petroleum products, crude oil, foodstuffs, construction materials, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods
Imports - partners:
France 62%, Venezuela 6%, Germany 4%, Italy 4%, US 3% (2000)
Debt - external:
$180 million (1994)
Economic aid - recipient:
$NA; note - substantial annual aid from France (1998)
euro (EUR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.8860 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs per US dollar - 5.8995 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Martinique
Telephones - main lines in use:
172,000 est (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
319,900 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: domestic facilities are adequate
domestic: NA
international: country code - 596; microwave radio relay to Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Saint Lucia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 14, shortwave 0 (1998)
82,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
11 (plus nine repeaters) (1997)
66,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
40,000 (2002)
Transportation Martinique
0 km
total: 2,105 km
paved: NA km
unpaved: NA km (2000)
Ports and harbors:
Fort-de-France, La Trinite
Merchant marine:
2 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Military Martinique
Military branches:
no regular military forces; Gendarmerie
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of France
Transnational Issues Martinique
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for the US and Europe