|Martinique expands on about 70 km length, for 30 km of width with a total surface area of 1,128 km2, it is placed at third rank after Trinidad and the Guadeloupe, in the archipelago of Lesser Antilles.|
|21 days after having left the Canary islands, during its second travel, Christophe Colomb sees a first is in hiding: Désirade, that he baptizes Desirada thus, so much the sight of a ground was wished by the crew. On Sunday, November 3, 1493, another island is in sight, that Colomb names Maria Galanda (Marie-Gallant), of the name of the flagship. November 4th, 1493, it unloads on the main island named by The Caribbean Karukera (or Caloucaera). He baptizes this Guadalupe island of the name royal monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Spain. Christophe Colomb accosts on an island of the American continent (which it names San El Salvador, in the archipelago of the Bahamas) for the first time in night from October 11th to October 12th, 1492. The island takes the name of Martinique with the arrival of Christophe Colomb. on June 15th, 1502, during sound fourth travel towards the “Indies”. The island was recognized before by Alonso de Ojeda.|
|The island is inhabited in an intermittent way by various people Amerindians until their quasi-extermination by the Westerners with continuation of the installation of the French in 1635. As from the years 1670, the massive deportation African black slaves upsets one new time the composition of the population of the island.|
|The Black-Bear pirate seizes on November 28th, 1717 a frigate Frenchwoman Harmony of 300 barrels and 40 guns built in 1710 carrying out the draft négrière on behalf of a Nantes ship-owner. Under the name of Queen Anne's Revenge, it uses it to make the blockade of Charleston in South Carolina and it lost it in May 1718 at the time of one stranding, off Beaufort in North Carolina.|
|Unlike the pirates who practise the banditism for their own account, the privateers are civilians elected by “letter of race “of the authorities of their nation which, in time of war, fight in an independent way with a statute are equivalent to soldiers ships under foreign flag but without being attached to a staff, while obeying the laws of the war.|
|REVENGE, American cutter bought in Dunkirk, captured 60 ships British, including 33 destroyed and 27 brought back like catches.||The privateer L’ENFANT PRODIGUE is captured in 1803 off St Lucia by HMS EMERALD renamed St Lucia then taken again by French in 1807|
|5th rate launched in 1774, ROEBUCK is engaged in various operations against American then against the pirates and privateers in the Antilles.||GRAND TURK is a fast privateer ship of 300 tons, launched at Massachusetts yards in 1781 ; she will bring back in Martinique many catches.|
|Whereas Anglo-Dutch peace has just been signed, the imposing one Dutch fleet of the Admiral of Ruyter attacks Martinique 19 July 1674. The Dutchmen unload but, in spite of their number, are defeated at the time of the also called battle of Extremely-Royal battles of rum. This rout and French victory at the time of the war of Holland mark the end of Dutch colonial inclinations in America.|
|Martinique is attacked for the first time by the English in 1759 then one second time in 1762. Extremely-royal and the colony fall to hands of the English on February 12th, 1762. It is returned to France one year later following the signature of the treaty of Paris.|
|In 1778, France joins to the just proclaimed United States from America to take revenge on Great Britain after Seven Year old war.|
|The battle of Yorktown proceeds during the independence war of the United States from September 28th to October 19th, 1781. She opposes them risen American and their French allies ordered by the count of Rochambeau with the British ordered by Lord Cornwallis. After 21 days of combat, this last goes, with the quarter of the forces British engaged in the war; the battle signs the defeat certain of Great Britain. The French fleet ensures the blockade of port of Yorktown preventing any supply of the British by sea (battles of bay of Chesapeake on September 5th, 1781 between fleet of the rear admiral British Thomas Graves and that of lieutenant-general of the naval armies François Joseph Paul de Grasse), while the Franco-American terrestrial troops encircle city.|
|HMS Rose vessel of 6th rank built in 1856 takes part in British force which takes Saint Lucia with French in February 1762 and remain in Martinique until October 1762.|
|Vessel of 3rd rank, the VANGUARD is used in multiples operations between 1758 and 1761 in North America (Louisbourg, Quebec, Leeward islands) and takes part in the invasion of Martinique in 1762 in cours de la war Seven Year .||BOREAS aunched in 1774 is a vessel of 6è row present at the Antilles in 1778: on December 18th, it attacks one French convoy on the way of Marseilles. It will be useful then for Nelson.|
|Gift of the States of Languedoc with Louis XV to renew the fleet after the 7 years war, the LANGUEDOC takes part in several battles against the British: in front of Boston on August 10th, 1778, Ste Lucie on December 14th, 1778, Grenade in April 1779, in September 1781, with the battle of Chesapeake.|
|The battle of Saintes proceeds from April 9th to April 12th, 1782, during the Franco-English war, between a British fleet directed by George Rodney and a French fleet directed by the Grasse count. British fleet in fate victorious. The confrontation takes place with the broad one islands of Les Saintes (an archipelago separated of Guadeloupe by Les Saintes passsage) and Dominique.|
|Admiral de Grasse, ordering troops at the time of the war of Succession of Austria and Seven Years, becomes lieutenant-general at the time of the war of American independence. He is named in 1781 commander of the principal French squadron, of which the action in bay of Chesapeake allows the decisive victory of Yorktown. He is however captured in 1782 with the battle of Les Saintes.|
|HMS Formidable, flagship of Admiral Rodney during battle of Les Saintes, is a ship of the line of second rank, Barfleur class carrying 90 guns.||The schooner L'ECLAIR eis captured by the HMS Garland on January 18th, 1801.|
|DUKE of MARLBOROUGH was captured in 1804. Team of 20 guns, it is transformed as a privateer in Guadeloupe.|
|Single ship of the packet service of Falmouth in the Western Indies built in 1805 in Dartmouth, PRINCESS MARY ensures many trips to the Antilles from 1806 to 1809 and from 1813 to 1816.|
|Letter from Pointe-à-Pitre 9 June
1844 to Le Havre (27 July) carried by the 3 masted
ZAMPA, built in 1836 at Rouen.
Round cancel "outre-mer le Havre"
|With the steamers, the regular connections are established between metropole and the Antilles. Starting from 1880, the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique exploited postal services between France French West Indies and certain countries of America|
|Two additional postal services exist, one northward, the other southward. On the basis of Fort-de-France, the service annexes northern touch Point-à-Pitre, some of the Lesser Antilles until Porto-Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba. Also leaving Fort-de-France, the service annexes southern key some of small The Antilles until Trinidad, Guyanes Frenchwoman, Dutchwoman, British and sometimes Brazil. Both function in connection with the transatlantic postal service the Metropolitan France enters and Colén (Panama).||The war surprises several ships in the Antilles. Colombia, launched in 1931 for CGT, is useful on the line of America of South. During the winter 1935, the ship takes part in the commemorations of tercentenary of the fastening of the Antilles in France then becomes one transport of troops. Transformed by American, it becomes one ship-hospital under the name of ADELA E. LUTZ, before returning to pre-war service.|
|SAGITTAIRE, transferred from Messageries Maritimes to French Line in 1938, is used post-war period for the repatriation of troops of overseas. From 1942 to 1944, she is used to carry rotations from Fort-de-France.|
|From 1952, ANTILLES and FLANDRE served for the French Line the French West Indies.||Mikhail Lermontov ensured normally Leningrad-New York service but also 21 days cruises from Southampton, via Tenerife, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Barbades, and return to Southampton via Las Palmas.|
|FRANCE called at Martinique on various cruises of which on December 25th, 1962 for the 1st time.|
|Le Queen Mary 2 called for the first timein the Caribbean on February 4th 2004: it accosted at 7:30 on the Quai des Tourelles of Fort de France and it is the first of nine calls each year in Martinique.||Queen Victoria, also property of Cunard, exceeded in the face Queen Mary 2 and also ensures cruisess calling at Martinique.|
The French West Indies became the destination of different transatlantic races organized from the metropole.
|Transat Jacques-Vabre, differently called the “Road of the coffee”, is a double-handed offshore race which takes place every other year in odd years. The event is open to multihulls and monohulls from the following classes: Ultims (multihulls between 70 and 105 feet), IMOCA (60 feet monohulls), Multi 50 and Class40.||From 1993, the Route du Rhum is a transatlantic
single-handed yacht race, which takes place every 4 years in November.
The course is between Saint Malo, Brittany, France and Pointe-à-Pitre,
Guadeloupe. The record of the crossing
is held by Francis Joyon, winner in 2018 in of the category Ultimate, in 7 days 14 hours 21 minutes and 47 seconds with an average of 23.95 knots. In 2002, Ellen MacArthur on Kingfisher carried out a time of 13 d 13:31 min 47 s.
|La Transat des alizés allows several hundreds of yachts after a regrouping at the end of October, beginning November, generally off the Canaries, to race towards the Antilles.|
|The yole ronde is a traditional Martinique open-water sailing and fishing boat. The yole is about 11 metres (36 ft) long, with a canoe-like hull of laminated wood. Le Tour de la Martinique des yoles rondes is the most popular event.|
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