|Official Country Name:||Department of Martinique|
|Region (Map name):||Caribbean|
|Language(s):||French, Creole patois|
Martinique is a part of the Windward Islands chain in the Caribbean Sea, north of Trinidad and Tobago. Christopher Columbus was the first European to visit the island, landing in 1493. The French colonized the island in 1635 despite opposition from the indigenous Carib Indian population, and it has remained connected to France ever since. In 1974 its association with France was upgraded from an overseas department to a region. There are rumblings among the population for increased autonomy, but its status so far remains unaffected. The French president is the chief of state and is represented locally by a Paris-appointed prefect.
The country is governed by a unicameral, 45-seat General Council and a unicameral, 41-seat Regional Assembly. Both bodies are led by a president. The official language is French, but many speak Creole Patois. The population is approximately 415,000; the literacy rate is 93 percent. Mainstays of the economy are: sugarcane, bananas, tourism and light industry. Most of the sugar produced on the island is used in the production of rum.
Freedom of the press is guaranteed under the French law. Martinique's daily newspaper is the French-language France Antilles. It appears Monday through Saturday; its approximate circulation is 65,000. Other weekly publications include: Le Progressiste, Aujourd'hui Dimanche, Justice, Le Naif, and Antilla.
Martinique does not have an AM radio station, but there are 14 FM stations for 82,000 radios. There are 11 television stations broadcasting to 66,000 televisions. There are two Internet service providers.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Martinique." World Fact Book, 2001. Available from http://www.cia.gov/ .
Jenny B. Davis