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Martinique

(overseas department of France)


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Introduction

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

Geography

Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, north of Trinidad and Tobago

Geographic coordinates: 14 40 N, 61 00 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

Area
  total: 1,100 sq km
  land: 1,060 sq km
  water: 40 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly more than six times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 350 km

Maritime claims
  exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: 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

Terrain: 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

Land use
  arable land: 8%
  permanent crops: 8%
  permanent pastures: 17%
  forests and woodland: 44%
  other: 23% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 40 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: hurricanes, flooding, and volcanic activity (an average of one major natural disaster every five years)

Environment - current issues: NA

People

Population: 414,516 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 23% (male 48,578; female 47,283)
  15-64 years: 67% (male 137,724; female 139,241)
  65 years and over: 10% (male 18,508; female 23,182) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.96% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 16.1 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 6.38 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 7.97 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 78.25 years
  male: 79.03 years
  female: 77.46 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.8 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Martiniquais (singular and plural)
  adjective: Martiniquais

Ethnic groups: African and African-white-Indian mixture 90%, white 5%, East Indian, Lebanese, Chinese less than 5%

Religions: Roman Catholic 95%, Hindu and pagan African 5%

Languages: French, Creole patois

Literacy
  definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  total population: 93%
  male: 92%
  female: 93% (1982 est.)

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: Department of Martinique
  conventional short form: Martinique
  local long form: Departement de la Martinique
  local short form: Martinique

Data code: MB

Dependency status: overseas department of France

Government type: NA

Capital: Fort-de-France

Administrative divisions: none (overseas department of France)

Independence: none (overseas department of France)

National holiday: National Day, Taking of the Bastille, 14 July (1789)

Constitution: 28 September 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system: French legal system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
  chief of state: President Jacques CHIRAC of France (since 17 May 1995); Prefect Jean-Francois CORDET (since NA)
  head of government: President of the General Council Claude LISE (since 22 March 1992); President of the Regional Council Alfred MARIE-JEANNE (since NA March 1998)
  cabinet: NA
  elections: French president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; the presidents of the General and Regional Councils are elected by the members of those councils

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 Assembly or Conseil Regional (41 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms)
  elections: General Council - last held NA March 1994 (next to be held NA 2000); Regional Assembly - last held on 15 March 1998 (next to be held by March 2004)
  election results: General Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; note - the PPM won a plurality; Regional Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPR-UDF 14, MIM 13, PPM 7, left parties 4, PMS 3 (Note: Martinique elects 2 seats to the French Senate; elections last held NA September 1998 (next to be held September 2001); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PPM 2; Martinique also elects 4 seats to the French National Assembly; elections last held 1 June 1997 (next to be held NA 2002); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RPR 2, PS 1, independent 1)

Judicial branch: Court of Appeal or Cour d'Appel

Political parties and leaders: Combat Worker [Gerard BEAUJOUR]; Martinique Communist Party or PCM [Armand NICOLAS]; Martinique Forces [Maurice LAOUCHEZ]; Martinique Independence Movement or MIM [Alfred MARIE-JEANNE]; Martinique Patriots or PM [leader NA]; Martinique Progressive Party or PPM [Camille DARSIERES]; Martinique Socialist Party or PMS [Ernest WAN-AJOUHU]; Movement for a Liberated Martinique [Philippe PETIT]; National Council of Popular Committees [Robert SAE]; Rally for Democratic Martinique [Felix HILAIRE-FORTUNE]; Rally for the Republic or RPR [Michel CHARLONE]; Republican Party or PR [Jean BAILLY]; Socialist Federation of Martinique or FSM [Jean CRUSOL]; Union for French Democracy or UDF [Jean MAREN]; Union for the Renewal of Ste. Marie [Guy LORDINOT]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Association for the Protection of Martinique's Heritage (ecologist) [Garcin MALSA]; 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; Socialist Revolution Group or GRS [Philippe PIERRE-CHARLES]

International organization participation: FZ, WCL, WFTU

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (overseas department of France)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (overseas department of France)

Flag description: a light blue background is divided into four quadrants by a white cross; in the center of each rectangle is a white snake; the flag of France is used for official occasions

Economy

Economy - overview: 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 has become more important than agricultural exports as a source of foreign exchange. The majority of the work force is employed in the service sector and in administration.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $4.24 billion (1996 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: NA%

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $10,700 (1996 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 6%
  industry: 11%
  services: 83% (1997 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.9% (1990)

Labor force: 170,000 (1997)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 10%, industry 17%, services 73% (1997)

Unemployment rate: 24% (1997)

Budget
  revenues: $900 million
  expenditures: $2.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $140 million (1996)

Industries: construction, rum, cement, oil refining, sugar, tourism

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 1.075 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 100%
  hydro: 0%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 1 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: pineapples, avocados, bananas, flowers, vegetables, sugarcane

Exports: $250 million (f.o.b., 1997)

Exports - commodities: refined petroleum products, bananas, rum, pineapples

Exports - partners: France 45%, Guadeloupe 28% (1997)

Imports: $2 billion (c.i.f., 1997)

Imports - commodities: petroleum products, crude oil, foodstuffs, construction materials, vehicles, clothing and other consumer goods

Imports - partners: France 62%, Venezuela 6%, Germany 4%, Italy 4%, US 3% (1997)

Debt - external: $180 million (1994)

Economic aid - recipient: $NA; note - substantial annual aid from France

Currency: 1 French franc (F) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: euros per US$1 - 0.9867 (January 2000), 0.9386 (1999); French francs (F) per US$1 - 5.65 (January 1999), 5.8995 (1998), 5.8367 (1997), 5.1155 (1996), 4.9915 (1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 155,000 (1994)

Telephones - mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system: domestic facilities are adequate
  domestic: NA
  international: microwave radio relay to Guadeloupe, Dominica, and Saint Lucia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 14, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 82,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 11 (plus nine repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 66,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways
  total: 2,724 km (1994)
  paved: NA km
  unpaved: NA km

Ports and harbors: Fort-de-France, La Trinite

Merchant marine: none (1999 est.)

Airports: 2 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 1
  over 3,047 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 1
  914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: French forces (Army, Navy, Air Force), Gendarmerie

Military - note: defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for cocaine and marijuana bound for the US and Europe

 

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