Consists of Martinique, Dominique, Saint Lucia, La Grenade, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao
Dominant Culture: French
Short History[edit | edit source]
The French settled Martinique in 1635, three years later they started working on Fort Saint Louis, a large fortification. The French systematically increased control over the island over the next 20 years, killing or enslaving the Carib that lived there and fiercely opposed them. Now Martinique relies on it's agriculture to power the economy. Sugar, coffee, cotton, tobacco,.... are all cultivated on the island.
Saint Lucia was first used in the late 1550's when a French pirate François le Clerc, nicknamed Jambe de Bois (peg leg) set up camp on Pigeon island, a small island near Saint Lucia to attack Spanish treasure ships. Saint Lucia would be deserted and re-colonized a few times in the following decades, with the island switching between British and French possession until the French finally established a successful colony and made it a crown colony in 1674. In 1748 the British and French agreed that Saint Lucia would be neutral terrain, but it remained a de facto French Colony Legally it is still neutral, but this is ignored by the French authorities.
In 1715 a revolt of poor smallholders on Martinique led to those people relocating to nearby Dominique. In 1727 French Commander M. Le Grand took charge of the island, installed a rudimentary government and made it into a formal colony of France. Fourteen years later the French government reformed the local government, making the Governor of Martinique the governor of Dominique as well and grouping both islands under a single colony. The people on Dominique are not happy about this.
La Grenade was settled by the French in 1649, but suffered from severe Carib resistance. And from Carib raids from nearby islands. After most Carib resistance was put down the island produced coffee, sugar, indigo dye, nutmeg and cocoa beans. Many Carib resettled to the Grenadines or to Saint Vincent. The ones from Saint Vincent were later driven out to the Grenadines as well. Those Carib married with the survivors of several shipwrecked slaveholders that struck the reefs. These people of mixed ancestry are called Garifuna or Black Carib.
Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao were all first claimed by the Spanish, who enslaved the Native population and deported them to more useful places. After that the islands were mostly ignored until the Dutch captured all three of them during the 1630's. They started developing and colonizing the islands. During the Franco-Dutch war count Jean II d'Estrées was almost lured onto nearby reefs but eventually captured Curaçao with his fleet and used it as a jumping point to take Aruba and Bonaire as well. The French use the islands to smuggle goods in and out of northern Cabralia and have started to develop other industries as well.
Points of Interest[edit | edit source]
- Fort Royal, Martinique. Administrative capital the Colony of Martinique, overshadowed by Saint-Pierre. Roughly 4000 inhabitants.
- Saint-Pierre, Martinique. Cultural and economic center of Martinique. The first French settlement on Martinique and now has about 15000 inhabitants.
- Fort Saint Louis, Martinique. Important fortification on Martinique. Was attacked by the Dutch several times in the 17th century.
- Mount Pelée, volcano on Martinique.
- Roseau, Dominique. First settlement on Dominique.
- Lac Bouillant (Boiling Lake), Dominique. A very large lake filled with bubbling greyish-blue water. About 200 by 250 feet.
- Vallée de Désolation (Valley of Desolation), Dominique. A volcanic area of steam vents, fumaroles, hot springs and boiling mud pots that lies along the trail heading to the Lac Bouillant. There is no plant growth to speak of.
- Massacre, Dominique. A town named after a massacre of Carib Natives in 1674.
- Vieux Fort (Old Fort), center of Saint Lucia's sugar industry.
- Soufrière, capital of Saint Lucia.
- Sulphur springs, Saint Lucia. A dormant volcano with several hot springs and fumaroles
- Gros Piton and Petit Piton, Saint Lucia. Twin mountains on the seaside.
- Ville de Fort Royale, La Grenade. Capital of La Grenade, it was named after the star fort that the town has been built near.
- Sauteurs (Jumpers), La Grenade. A tall cliff where the last Caribs remaining on the island jumped to their deaths rather than live under French rule.
- La Soufrière, Saint Vincent. Active volcano that last erupted in 1718.
- Bequia, the Grenadines. A small and relatively inaccessible island still inhabited by Carib people and the shipwrecked slaves they intermarried with.
- Grotte Quadiriki and Grotte Huliba, Aruba. Two caves on Aruba that are close to each other. Legend says that a Native Chief locked up his daughter in one cave and the man that she loved but he didn't approve off in the other. They managed to meet each other underground, even though the caves aren't connected, but eventually both died in their cave.
- Snoga Synagogue, Curaçao. A synagogue built by Dutch and Portuguese Sephardic Jews from Brazil, it was already established in 1674 but a new building was erected in 1730. It is the oldest Jewish congregation in Vespuccia.
Notable Inhabitants[edit | edit source]
- Maximin de Bompar, Governor of Colonie des Îles du Vent.
- Pierre Fedon, French jeweler and his free black wife. They recently moved from Martinique to La Grenade.
- Longvilliers de Poincy, Vice-governor of La Grenade.
Link Sites[edit | edit source]
- Mount Pelée
- Lac Bouillan
- Vieux Fort
- Ville de Fort Royale