Martinique (Martineek'; native Madiana), one of the Lesser Antilles, in the West India Islands. It is 43 miles long by 12 to 20 broad. Area, 380 sq. m. ; pop. (1889) 175,863; (1902) 185,000. The island was discovered by the Spaniards in 1493, colonised by the French in 1635, and except for three short intervals (1761-63, 1794-1802, 1809-14), when it was held by the British, it has been a French colony ever since. A mountain-knot in the north (4430 feet) and another in the south are connected by a low ridge, all being densely covered with trees. An eruption of Mont Pelee in 1902 entirely destroyed the town of Saint Pierre, the chief commercial place, with about 33,000 people. Fort de France (18,000) is the capital. The climate is moist and hot (annual mean 79° F.), and yellow fever is not unfrequent. The soil is very productive. About one-half of the land in cultivation is occupied with sugar-cane. The exports include sugar, molasses, and rum ; the imports, textiles, flour, fish, rice, and cotton. Slavery was abolished in 1848; labour is largely performed by coolies (27,000). Railways connect the principal towns.