Martinique is an overseas department of France. Along with the other overseas departments, Martinique is also one of the twenty-six regions of France and an integral part of the Republic. As part of France, Martinique is part of the European Union, and its currency is the Euro. Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops. Currency can be exchanged in the banks. There are ATMs in all the cities of Martinique and in the marinas. The official language of Martinique is French although almost all of its inhabitants also speak Antillean Creole or Creole Martiniquais.
Christopher Columbus saw Martinique in 1493, but he didn’t set foot on it until 1502 during his fourth voyage. Frenchman Pierre Belan d’Esnambuc was the first European to inhabit Martinique when he founded a settlement in 1635. The Caribs, the indigenous people of the Caribbean, were probably the first set of people to live on the island. Martinique became a part of the French crown in 1658. Sugar, indigo and coffee were the first crops to be grown on the island, worked by black slaves were brought to Martinique from West Africa.
The island was under Britain’s command during the Seven Years’ War from 1762 to 1763; during the French Revolutionary Wars from 1794 to 1802; and again during the Napoleonic wars from 1809 to 1814.
The French Revolution saw severe conflicts in Martinique with the monarchists Yacht Charter Greece and revolutionaries bitterly opposed. The royalist faction gained the upper hand in 1791 and declared the independence of Martinique. When threatened again by Napolean’s followers they invited the British to occupy Martinique in 1794.
Slavery was banned in 1848 and people from India and China were brought to work the farms and plantations on Martinique. During World War II the island was at first controlled by the Vichy regime from 1940-1943 but when the war finished Martinique was under the control of the Free French Forces.
Martinique lies in the trade wind belt providing reliable and predicable winds, a big plus for those wanting to do some sailing on their yacht charter. During the summer months the winds prevail at 10 ? 20 knots from the northeast. The winter will see 15 ? 20 knots generally from the east. Consistent tropical temperatures year round make for an enjoyable yacht charter.
The geography of Martinique is quite distinct. The north has lush foliage, rivers and spectacular mountains. Most of the beaches in the north have black sand. While the south of Martinique is blessed with the white sand beaches backed by palms and sea grapes. To the east of Martinique is the Atlantic Ocean. The calmer waters of the Caribbean Sea are to be found to the west of Martinique and sailing in these waters will generally make for a more pleasant yacht charter.
Martinique is a popular location for dive charters and dive centres. The waters surrounding the island are filled with a wonderful diversity of marine life including coral. And there are several of old shipwrecks for divers to explore around Martinique.