Tropical and humid with an average temperature of 75Â°F to 85Â°F. The climate is moderated by trade winds. The rainy season is from June to October and the island is vulnerable to devastating cyclones hurricanes every eight years on average.
There are two climatic and three tourist seasons on Martinique. The high season is between December and the end of April, with soaring prices and great crowds of travellers. From May to the end of November, Europeans tend to go elsewhere, as the weather is fine back home and travel possibilities are numerous. Summer months July and August are a sort of intermediate season, as Martinique and Guadeloupe residents often take advantage of the good weather to visit the mainland. Prices and tourist services, as well as airplane tickets tend to be rather pricy, or even extremely expensive at this period, so be sure to book in advance to avoid paying double.
All in all, if you wish to avoid tourist masses but still take advantage of a pleasant temperature, we would advise you to visit the island in May and June, as the climate in this period of the year is rather dry with an acceptable level of humidity, and tariffs are still quite on the low side. July and August are hot and humid months, but donât be discouraged by tourist clichÃ©s saying that the so-called âcycloneâ period is a horrible one: it does rain rather often, but the weather is still rather pleasant especially if you are planning to sightsee. Donât count on taking a cruise ship in September, though, as you have considerably higher chances of meeting up with a hurricane or a tropical thunderstorm in this season.
Martinique was discovered on 15th January 1502 by Christopher Columbus. When he landed on the island, he found Martinique to be hostile and heavily infested with snakes and therefore only stayed three days. He baptised the island with the name given to the indigenous people, Matino the island of women or Madinina the island of flowers.
The indigenous occupants were part of two different tribes. The Arawaks were described as gentle timorous Indians and the Caribbeans as ferocious cannibal warriors. The Arawaks came from Central America in the beginning of the Christian era and the Caribbeans came from the Venezuela coast around the 11th century. When Columbus arrived, the Caribbeans had massacred many of their adversaries, sparing the women, who they kept for their personal or domestic use.
After the discovery by Christopher Columbus, Martinique remained unexplored until 1632, when an expedition led by Pierre Belain d'Estambuc landed on the island at the same time that Lienard de l'Olive and du Plessis took possession of Guadeloupe. The French settled in the north west of the island at the mouth of Roxelane and built fortifications, which later became known as Saint-Pierre. D'Estambucs nephew, du Parquet, acquired Martinique and became its first governor. He made agreement with the Caribbeans and their chief and set about developing the island. Rapidly however, the Caribbeans' territory was threatened and revolt burst out. The courageous Caribbeans were no match for the power of the muskets and they were apparently pushed back to the cliffs and threw themselves in the sea.
Some 240 years later, some say as a resulting curse, Montagne PelÃ©e erupted causing the total devastation of Saint-Pierre. Everybody who lived in the city lost their lives, with the exception of one person held in the city's jail.
Like the other West Indian islands, Martinique experienced a large economic boom due to its tobacco, indigo, cotton production and sugar cane. The lack of labour instigated the black slave trade from Africa between 1686 and 1720. Martinique's wealth resulted in rivalry between the other European nations who shared the West Indies. In 1674 the Dutch landed on Martinique, defended by just a handful of soldiers. They attacked a storage shelter and discovered barrels of rum. Completely drunk the Dutch were thrown into the sea by defenders of Fort Royal, which later became Fort-de-France after the revolution.
The revolution in 1789 never arrived in Martinique. During the revolution they decided to hand over sovereignty to the British to avoid being attacked by the revolutionists who had already attacked Guadeloupe. The British also occupied the island in 1804 and then withdrew in 1814.
During this time a beautiful Creole girl from Martinique, Marie JosÃ¨phe Rose married Napoleon Bonaparte in 1796 and became Empress Josephine in 1804. Slavery, which was abolished after the revolution, was re-introduced by Napoleon in 1802, apparently under recommendation of JosÃ©phine.
The British abolished slavery in 1833. This measure encouraged the creation of pro-abolition movements in France where slavery was finally abolished in 1848.Source: Discover Martinique (http://www.discover-marti...)
Martinique is an overseas department of France and retains both French and Caribbean culture. The island cuisine is a superb blend of French and Creole cooking that is worth trying. The north part of island lures hikers who seek to climb the mountains and explore the rain forests while the southern portions offer shopping and beaches for those who chose to just relax.