People and Culture in Martinique

Martinique’s culture derives its elegance from the French, but the island has been influenced by many groups of people over the course of its history.

The majority of people who live on the island of Martinique are either descendants of the French colonists who settled on the island in the 1600s or the slaves that they brought with them from Africa. Today, about 90% of the island’s inhabitants come from a mixed-ethnicity background and everyone enjoys the same rights.

Martinicans are generally very warm and welcoming towards U.S. Americans and other foreigners. It should be noted that very few locals speak or understand much English, but most people are more than happy to help you if you try to converse with them in French first. It’s a great opportunity to practice your language skills and this small gesture of respect can go a long way!

While French is the official language of  commerce, government, and education in Martinique, nearly all of the island’s inhabitants speak a language derived from the blending of French with West African and Carib languages called Antillean Creole. The language has continued to evolve over time, incorporating aspects of English, Spanish, and Portuguese into it’s vocabulary and grammar.

Martinique is one of France’s five Régions d’outre-mer, or ‘Overseas Regions.’ As such, Martinique has identical political and administrative powers to the regions of the French mainland. As such, Martinique is a part of the European Union and uses the Euro as its official currency.

750px-Flag_of_Martinique.svg 2 The unofficial Flag of Martinique, combining the historical French Naval Ensign with images of fer-de-lance vipers which are native to the island


For more information on the people and history of Martinique, check out these resources:


Remember how your parents used to tell you to keep your elbows off the table during meals? Or that it’s rude to slurp your soup? Well there’s good news guys, these American cultures and customs don’t always translate to other countries! While the local people you meet won’t expect you to be fluent in their language, culture and customs, it is important to familiarize yourself with them.

Do you know how kissing, snoring and other things sound in other languages? That’s right, even sound effects can be translated!

The most important thing to remember while you’re abroad is that things will be different. But, different doesn’t mean wrong. Be open, be curious, and read more about the culture you will be stepping into. Get excited about LIVING the life you’ve only dreamt and read about until now!