The Civil Ensign of Martinique. Martinique is an island and an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France. An integral part of the French Republic. It is located in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea.
There is confusion over the derivation of the name Martinique. Some historians claim it is from a word meaning ‘Island of the Flowers’. Others say it comes from a word meaning ‘Island of Women’. Even others hold the theory it is ‘Island of Iguanas’. It is another one of the places that Christopher Columbus ‘stole’ for Spain. Soon the French pushed them out and England and France waged a number of battles to ‘win’ the Island.
The indigenous people of this island were the Aarawak from Central America and the Caribs from the Venezuelan coast. The Caribs were especially ruthless in their response to Mr. Columbus and any visitors he brought to the island.
The French attempted different agricultural products on the island. They tried coffee and cotton with not much success. It became a destination for hundreds of slaves brought from Africa by the French. Various slave uprisings occurred until slavery was abolished by the French in 1848.
Due to it’s distinct history and the fact that French ships from a certain part of the Martinique history flew this ensign on it’s ships during the slave period, in 2018 French President Emmanuel Macron ordered it not be used again. Local people on Martinique do not use this flag now. It has not been co-opted by unfortunate groups and I keep it as a historically important flag of a country we have sailed past. On our once in a life time sailing trip in the Caribbean we caught sight of Martinique but did not go into port due to the regulations and hoops the French place upon folks with USA passports. It certainly was a beautiful place.
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