Facts about Martinique

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Colonized by France in 1635, the island has subsequently remained a French possession except for three brief periods of foreign occupation.

Geography of Martinique

Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
14 40 N, 61 00 W
total: 1,100 sq km
water: 40 sq km
land: 1,060 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly more than six times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
0 km
350 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; moderated by trade winds; rainy season (June to October); vulnerable to devastating cyclones (hurricanes) every eight years on average; average temperature 17.3 degrees C; humid
mountainous with indented coastline; dormant volcano
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Montagne Pelee 1,397 m
Natural resources:
coastal scenery and beaches, cultivable land
Natural hazards:
hurricanes, flooding, and volcanic activity (an average of one major natural disaster every five years)
Geography - note:
the island is dominated by Mount Pelee, which on 8 May 1902 erupted and completely destroyed the city of Saint Pierre, killing 30,000 inhabitants

Population of Martinique

436,131 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 22.1% (male 48,988/female 47,525)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 147,082/female 146,470)
65 years and over: 10.6% (male 20,791/female 25,275)
Median age:
34.1 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
6.95 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.18 years
male: 79.5 years
female: 78.85 years
Fertility rate:
1.79 children born/woman
noun: Martiniquais (singular and plural)
adjective: Martiniquais
Ethnic groups:
African and African-white-Indian mixture 90%, white 5%, East Indian, Chinese less than 5%
Roman Catholic 85%, Protestant 10.5%, Muslim 0.5%, Hindu 0.5%, other 3.5% (1997)
French, Creole patois
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total : 97.7%
male: 97.4%
female: 98.1% (2003 est.)


Country name:
conventional long form: Department of Martinique
local long form: Departement de la Martinique
Dependency status:
overseas department of France
National holiday:
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789)
28 September 1958 (French Constitution)
Legal system:
French legal system
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France; Prefect Yves DASSONVILLE
head of government: President of the General Council Claude LISE; President of the Regional Council Alfred MARIE-JEANNE
Legislative branch:
unicameral General Council or Conseil General (45 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and a unicameral Regional Council or Conseil Regional (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
note: Martinique elects 2 seats to the French Senate
Judicial branch:
Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel
Political parties and leaders:
Martinique Communist Party or PCM [Georges ERICHOT]; Martinique Independence Movement or MIM [Alfred MARIE-JEANNE]; Martinique Progressive Party or PPM [Pierre SUEDILE]; Martinique Socialist Party or PMS [Ernest WAN-AJOUHU]; Movement of Democrats and Ecologists for a Sovereign Martinique or Modemas [Garcin MALSA]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Michel CHARLONE]; Socialist Revolution Group or GRS [Philippe PIERRE-CHARLES]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Jean MAREN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Caribbean Revolutionary Alliance or ARC; Central Union for Martinique Workers or CSTM [Marc PULVAR]; Frantz Fanon Circle; League of Workers and Peasants; Proletarian Action Group or GAP


The economy is based on sugarcane, bananas, tourism, and light industry. Agriculture accounts for about 6% of GDP and the small industrial sector for 11%. Sugar production has declined, with most of the sugarcane now used for the production of rum. Banana exports are increasing, going mostly to France. The bulk of meat, vegetable, and grain requirements must be imported, contributing to a chronic trade deficit that requires large annual transfers of aid from France. Tourism, which employs more than 11,000 people, has become more important than agricultural exports as a source of foreign exchange.

purchasing power parity - $6.117 billion (2003 est.)
GDP per capita:
purchasing power parity - $14,400 (2001 est.)
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 11%
services: 83% (1997 est.)
Inflation rate:
3.9% (1990)
Labor force:
165,900 (1998)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 10%, industry 17%, services 73% (1997)
27.2% (1998)
revenues: $900 million
expenditures: $2.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $140 million (1996)
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
construction, rum, cement, oil refining, sugar, tourism
pineapples, avocados, bananas, flowers, vegetables, sugarcane
refined petroleum products, bananas, rum, pineapples (2001 est.)
Export partners:
France 45%, Guadeloupe 28% (2004)
petroleum products, crude oil, foodstuffs, construction materials, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods
Import partners:
France 62%, Venezuela 6%, Germany 4%, Italy 4%, US 3% (2004)
euro (EUR)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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