Martinique is a Caribbean island located to the north of Trinidad & Tobago. The total area is 1,100 square kilometers. The total population is around 401,000. Martinique is an overseas department of France, and the inhabitants are French citizens with full political and legal rights. As a consequence Martinique is also considered as European as Paris, and therefore European immigration rules apply. In short EU citizens and citizens of many industrialized nations can visit Martinique visa-free.
Martinique was discovered on 15th of January 1502 by Christopher Columbus. When he landed on the island, he found Martinique to be hostile and heavily infested with snakes and therefore only stayed three days. He babtized the island with the name given to the indigenous people, Matino (the island of women) or Madinina (the island of flowers). After the discovery by Christopher Columbus, Martinique remained unexplored until 1632, when an expedition led by Pierre Belain d'Estambuc landed on the island.
Known as "a little France in the Caribbean", Martinique has a distinctly French feeling in many ways. In the excellence of its cuisine, the beauty of its language and the chic of its women. In fact Napolion Boneparte's wife, Joséphine, was born in Martinique and a statue to honor stands in a public garden.
Tourism represents a major part of the economic. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn to Martinique's picturesque volcanic landscapes, its fine black, white ore peppered sand beaches surrounded by sugar, palm, banana and pineapple plantations.
The island's location also makes it a stopping-off point for cruise ships. The island is dominated by Mount Pelee, which on 8th May 1902 erupted and an completely destroyed the city Saint Pierre, the then capital, killing 30,000 inhabitants. In the south of the island, there are many beautiful beaches with a lot of tourists. In the north, the rain forest and the black sand beaches are worth seeing. The interior of the island is mountainous.
After 1902, Fort-de-France has become the capital of Martinique. Fort-de-France exudes the feel of a cosmopolitan French town with Martiniquians dressed in Paris fashions and sipping coffee with croissants in cafes. The port of Fort-de-France is situated east of the town where many cruise liners and cargo ships are moored. True to its cosmopolitan nature, Forte-de-France is a mixture of narrow congested streets lined with offices. The waterfront area is dominated by the impressive Fort St. Louis, which still serves as a military base.
The climate is tropical, but moderated by trade winds. The rainy season is June to October, where you can also experience hurricanes (once every eight years on average). The high season is between December and April.