Martinique, along with Guadeloupe, is a part of an island archipelago in the Caribbean region also known as the French Antilles or French West Indies. It is located between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago. The island is a département of the government of France, actually considered as a region of the French Republic, and part of the European Union.
The indigenous Carib people occupied the island at the time Christopher Columbus first viewed it in 1493, though he did not land on it until his fourth and last voyage, in 1502. The Spanish did not claim or colonize the island; it was settled by the French starting in 1635. It was annexed to France in 1674. The French settlers established sugar and coffee plantations on Martinique and brought in African slaves to work the fields until the abolition of slavery in 1848.
Most of the current residents of Martinique are of mixed ancestry, being descendants of those African slaves and the French colonizers.
French is the official language. The most widely spoken language is Martiniquan Creole French (also known as Guadeloupean Creole French).