Martinique

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When Columbus landed in 1502, the island to which he gave the name Martinique was inhabited by the Carib Indians who called it Matinino. Today it's often called the "Island of Flowers". The island was claimed by France in 1635 and officially annexed by the King of France in 1674. France and Britain fought over the island until 1815, when it was restored to France. In 1946, Martinique became a Department of France and in 1974 a Region of France.

The land rises gradually from the coast toward the center and northern parts of the island. It is in the north that we find the two peaks of the Carbet and Mont Pelée, a dormant volcano that is the highest mountain on the island at 4,586 ft. This part of Martinique is also a legendary tropical rainforest. In the center of the island, the Lamentin Plain, made up of small, rounded hills and enclosed valleys, slopes down toward the south. The Salines Beach at the southernmost tip of the island comes straight out of a beautiful postcard.

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