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Martinique Information - Page 2
Early inhabitants of Martinique were Arawak and Carib people from South America.

Martinique was colonized by the French in 1635.

Apart from short periods of British rule, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Martinique has remained a French possession.

The island was officially annexed by France in 1674.

After three hundred years of French rule, Martinique became a Department of France represented by four deputies and two senators. The further status of Region was granted to the island in 1974.

Only a small percentage of Martinique's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is earned by the agricultural sector. The largest percentage of GDP is derived from services.

Aid from France assists the Department's economy.

Sugarcane has been cultivated in Martinique for centuries. However, production is in decline and most of the sugar grown on the island is used in the rum industry.

Bananas are also an important crop. Other agricultural products are avocados, bananas, pineapples, vegetables and flowers.

The tourist industry in Martinique is a valuable source of foreign exchange. (2006)

Martinique is particularly famous for African-French music known as beguine. Beguine was immortalized by Cole Porter in his song Begin the Beguine, written after visiting Martinique in the 1930s.

Beguine influenced French West Indies music known as zouk.

Carnival is a popular event on the island.

Information about traditions in Martinique is available in the Popular Traditions and Arts Museum of Martinique.

Team games played in Martinique include football and volleyball.

Popular water sports are snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing and deep sea fishing.

Religious holidays including Saints' Days are celebrated. Bastille Day is on 14 July (1789).

News from Martinique is available in Newslink.

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