French West Indies - Encyclopedia




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"FRENCH WEST INDIES. - Martinique and Guadeloupe (see 17.801 and 12.645), belonging to France, form one of the small West Indian colonies in the Atlantic Ocean.

Martinique

The total pop. was 193,087 inhabitants who, with the exception of the immigrants, are all classed under the general denomination of Creoles. Fort de France, the capital of the colony, has 27,000 inhabitants, and is the only large place in the island since the destruction of St. Pierre in 1902. The produce of Martinique consists principally of sugar-cane and its derivatives. The trade of the colony in 1919 amounted to 247,375,000 fr., of which 74,670,000 were imports and 172,705,000 were exports. The trade figures for 1918 were 105 million fr., this being 25 million fr. more than the average for the five years 1913-7. As in the case of Guadeloupe, France and her colonies account for only about one-third of the imports, while they absorb about nine-tenths of the exports.

Guadeloupe

The pop. of Guadeloupe and the outlying islands is 190,503. About nine-tenths consists of Creoles; it comprises whites, half-breeds and blacks, between whom there is considerable friction. Guadeloupe has two large towns: Pointe-à-Pitre, a busy place (22,664 inhabitants), and Basse-Terre, the capital (8,184 inhabitants). The trade of Guadeloupe and its dependencies in 1918 amounted to 90,766,879 fr., of which 39,696,000 fr. were imports and 51,070,824 were exports. This total represents an increase of 33,5 00, 000 fr. on the average for the five years 1913-7. About onefourth of the imports came from France, while almost the whole of the exports went to the mother-country.

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