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History[edit | edit source]
During the period of European exploration and colonization, Martinique was first discovered by the Spanish. However the French rapidly entered and took control.
Martinique was first controlled by France 1635, then, for a very short time by Great Britain 1762, with France recovering the territory in 1763.
Except for three short periods of British occupation, Martinique has been a French possession since 1635. Most of the Carib Indians were killed, and the rest were gradually absorbed into the population. Martinique became semi-autonomous under a high commissioner until 1943, when the Free French took over. In 1946 its status was changed to an Overseas Department.
Timeline[edit | edit source]
1635 - Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc, landed in the harbor of St. Pierre with 150 French settlers, and established the first European settlement at Fort Saint-Pierre
1686 - 1688 The French crown used Martinique as a dumping ground for mainland Huguenots who refused to reconvert to Catholicism. Over 1,000 Huguenots were transported to Martinique during this period
1794 - 1815 Britain controlled the island for most of the time, when it was traded back to France at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars
1848 - The French government ended slavery in the French West Indies
1902 - Mont Pelée erupted and completely destroyed St. Pierre, killing 30,000 people
1946, the French National Assembly voted unanimously to transform the colony into an Overseas Department of France. In 1974, it became simply a Department