First sighted by Columbus on his initial expedition in 1493, Martinique played host to its first European “tourists” in 1502 when Columbus landed there during his fourth voyage. Dubbed Martinique by Columbus, the island was inhabited by Carib Indians who had driven away the Arawaks who, like themselves, had come to the island from South America.
Martinique was claimed by France in 1635 and officially annexed in 1674. France and Britain fought over the island until 1815, when it was restored to France. Slavery was abolished in 1848. In 1946, Martinique became a Department of France and in 1974 a Region of France, its current status.
Modern day Martinique is truly “a little bit of France in the Caribbean.” It exudes an alluring and distinctly French sensibility in the excellence of its cuisine, the chic sophistication of its fine resorts and hotels, and the sensuality of its language.
Yet Martinique has a cachet all its own; an endearing West Indian warmth and friendliness in its personality, a special spice in its music and dance, its local dishes, cultural heritage, and way of life. It is an island with style and so much more.