Martinique / Matinik
Martinique is an island and country in the Lesser Antilles, in the Caribbean Sea. It is an administrative region and territorial collectivity within the French Republic.
The Martinican population is made up of approximately 80% of people of African or mixed origin (descendants of slaves), 10% originating in the Indian subcontinent, and 7% of whites, who maintain a privileged socioeconomic position (especially a minority of this group, the so-called Békés, descendants of the first French settlers).
The language commonly used by most of the population is Martinican Creole, a variety of Antillean Creole, which in addition to Martinique is spoken in neighboring Guadeloupe and other Caribbean islands. Antillean Creole is a French-based language with contributions from several European and African languages and Kalina, a language of the Caribbean family.
During the 20th century, some local authors began to cultivate Creole as literary language. Martinican Creole has been modestly introduced in some schools, radio stations, and a handful of popular newspapers. Its use, however, remains mostly oral and informal, with the role of written and formal language reserved for French.
Like in the rest of the French Republic, the only official language in Martinique is French.
Politics and government
Martinique has been a unique (special) territorial collectivity since 2015, with a specific status within the French Republic. Unlike most French regions, the unique collectivity brings together in a single institution the powers usually exercised by regions and departments separately. The collectivity has executive, but not legislative, powers.
The collectivity consists of a deliberative Assembly — elected by universal suffrage— and an Executive Council — elected by the Assembly— as well as two other consultative bodies: the Economic, Social, Environmental, Cultural and Educational Council (CÉSECÉM) and the Territorial Council for Citizenship and Autonomy (CTCA).
(Last updated November 2020.)