When Columbus landed in 1502, the island to which he gave the name Martinique was peopled by the Carib Indians who called it Matinino or Madinina. They had driven away the Arawaks who, like themselves, had come to the island from South America. 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.
The island has a surface area of 426 square miles and at its greatest length and width, measures 50 miles by 22 miles, respectively. 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.
As with most Caribbean islands, the Atlantic side is steep and subject to heavy surf, but just a few miles to the north of our hotel we found Anse Azerot which was sheltered enough for swimming. We also swam at the Caravelle Peninsula, which juts out beyond La Trinité and provides shelter from the Atlantic surf."
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