The département of Martinique is an overseas département (département d'outre-mer, or DOM) of France, located in the Caribbean Sea. The capital is Fort-de-France.
Colonized by France in 1635, the island has subsequently remained a French possession except for three brief periods of foreign occupation.
On May 8, 1902 Mount Pelée, a volcano on the island, erupted and destroyed the town of St. Pierre killing over 30,000 people.
Only a small handful of St. Pierre's residents survived the blast.
Martinique became an overseas département of France on March 19, 1946. This means it is treated equally to every other département in France and has full representation in the National Assembly.
Martinique is especially well known for the number of great authors that have come from the island and become extremely famous in France and throughout the world. It has also become known for a form of music called zouk, which developed in the 1980s.
From the CIA World Factbook 2000. Not Wikified.
See also: Music of Martinique and Guadeloupe
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