Often referred to as the Paris of the Caribbean, the heavily Catholic island of Martinique is the largest of the Windward Islands, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the islands of Dominica and St. Lucia to the north and south, respectively. The islands’ residents are French citizens with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of French nationals, including military duties, and at the beginning of the 21st century, nearly one third of all Martinicans reside in France. More than 90% of the population are of African or mixed descent, with about 5% of the population White and the remainder Indian and/or Chinese. About 2,500 residents are direct descendants of the original French settlers known as békés. ...

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