As with the other overseas departments, Martinique is one of the eighteen regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the French Republic. As part of France, Martinique is part of the European Union, and its currency is the euro. The official language is French, and virtually the entire population also speak Antillean Creole (Créole Martiniquais).
Martinique owes its name to Christopher Columbus, who sighted the island in 1493, and finally landed on 15 June 1502. The island was then called "Jouanacaëra-Matinino", which came from a mythical island described by the Tainos of Hispaniola. According to historian Sydney Daney, the island was called "Jouanacaëra" by the Caribs, which means "the island of iguanas".
A Britishinvasion of Martinique took place in January 1759 when a large amphibious force under Peregrine Hopson landed on the French-held island of Martinique and unsuccessfully tried to capture it during the Seven Years' War. Cannon fire from the British fleet was ineffective against the fortress at Fort-Royal due to its location high on the cliffs, and there were no suitable landing places nearby. Unknown to the British commanders, French governor Francis de Beauharnais had not been resupplied for some months, and even a brief siege would have led to the fort's capitulation. However, Moore and Hopson decided instead to investigate the possibility of attacking Martinique's main commercial port, Saint-Pierre. After a desultory naval bombardment on 19 January that again had little effect on the port's defenses, they withdrew, and decided instead to attack Guadeloupe, home to a significant body of French privateers.
The expedition was successful at Guadeloupe, which surrendered to them in May 1759.
The British expedition against Martinique was a military action that took place in January and February 1762. It was part of the Seven Years' War.
After the surrender of Dominica to a British expeditionary force, the French in Martinique fully expected the same expedition to head into their direction. Accordingly, they took measures for their defense. The French force in Martinique consisted of 1,200 regulars, 7,000 local militia and 4,000 hired privateersmen. Furthermore, the mountainous nature of the island made it rather easy to defend.
The neighbouring British islands did what they could to help the mother-country:
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