Martinique, West India Islands, Historical Profile (1919)
Martinique, main te neck', one of the French West India Islands, belonging to tin Windward group, thirty miles nearly south of Dominica. The island is about forty miles long and ten to fifteen miles wide, and has an area of 385 square miles. The form is irregular and the coasts are rugged, while the surface is rough and mountainous, culminating in Mont Pelee, which has an altitude of 4,500 feet. Like the other islands of the group, Martinique is of volcanic origin. The climate is humid, but not unhealthful. The principal products are sugar cane, coffee, cocoa and tropical fruits.
Martinique was discovered by Columbus, and in 1635 it was settled by the French. In 1002, in May and in August, occurred destructive eruptions of Mont Pelee, which destroyed the city of Saint-Pierre, until that time the largest and most important city on the island, and killed from 30,000 to 35,000 people. Population, 1916, 197,400.