Martinique is a French overseas territory found in the Caribbean Sea. Martinique, which is found near Saint Lucia and Barbados, is technically considered a part of the European Union. Martinique covers a total area of approximately four hundred and thirty six square miles, and has a population of nearly four hundred thousand residents. Like many French overseas territories, Martinique has a relatively high per capita GDP, substantially higher than many other nations in the Caribbean. The history of Martinique begins with a period of settlement by both the Arawaks and the Carib Indians, who were responsible for the original colonization of much of the Caribbean Sea’s islands. Martinique was first discovered by Europeans in the year 1493 by Christopher Columbus, just one year after his first voyage to the New World. Martinique then switched hands between the Spanish, French, and British before finally settling into French control after the Napoleonic Wars. Immediately following the Second World War, Martinique ceased functioning as a colony and instead was designated as an overseas department, with a higher degree of autonomy.

Martinique is substantially more mountainous than coral reefs and other islets in the Caribbean Sea, and has a highest point of more than four thousand five hundred feet. In fact, most of the northern half of the island is covered by a mountain range, including peaks such as Morne Jacob and the tallest mountain, a volcano called Mount Pelee. The southern half of Martinique is home to the most recognizable tourist destinations and attractions of the territory, such as the island’s beaches and resorts. Although there are a considerable number of tourists that visit Martinique every year, the economy of Martinique relies on trade income, manufacturing, and agriculture. The most notable crops in Martinique are sugarcane and bananas, although the former has decreased substantially in recent years. Martinique has a unique and fascinating culture, a fusion of Caribbean and French cuisines, arts, and language that has evolved over the decades. The island has its own dialect of English called Martiniquan Creole, as well as a cuisine that features dishes such as Colombo.

Many tourists who visit Martinique make the coast’s white sand beaches their first destination. The most highly rated beaches on the island are Plage de Salines and Cap Chevalier, which are great places to swim, boogie board, or just soak up the sun. The island is home to a great variety of flora and fauna, creating a striking backdrop of green against the dramatic cliffs of the coast. Martinique’s botanical gardens showcase the island’s biodiversity, although the inland mountain ranges are also great places to enjoy photography and a hike. Martinique has a number of casinos, such as the Meridien Hotel, where the legal gambling age is eighteen as opposed to twenty one in the United States. Some of the best known historical destinations on Martinique include Saint Louis Roman Catholic Cathedral and a Hindu temple.  One of the largest seaside rocks on the island was transformed into a fort, which is still a top destination for adventurous visitors.