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Encyclopedia > Fort de France

Fort-de-France is the capital of France's Caribbean département d'outre-mer of Martinique. With a population of approximately 101,000 it is also one of the major cities in the Caribbean.


Originally named Fort-Royal, the city became economically important after the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelée destroyed the town of Saint-Pierre in 1902.


The city has a fine, natural harbor defended by three forts:

  • Fort Desaix: built from 1763 to 1780, it was called Fort Bourbon in 1793, Fort la Convention in 1793, Fort George during the British occupations (1794-1802, 1809-1814), and Fort Desaix since 1802. This name was given by Napoleon Bonaparte after General Desaix (1768-1800).
  • Fort Tartenson
  • Fort Gerbault

A statue commemorating Martinique-born Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon, is in the city.



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