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Title: Indo-Martiniquais  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Indians in French Guiana, Malbars, Tamil Canadian, Non-resident Indian and person of Indian origin, Indo-Caribbean
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Total population
Regions with significant populations
Fort-de-France · La Trinité
French · Tamil · Antillean Creole
Hinduism & Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Indo-Caribbean · Tamil Diaspora

Indo-Martiniquais are residents of the French Overseas Department of Martinique who have Indian descent. A majority are descendants of indentured labourers from India who were brought to the island in the nineteenth century. Between 5 and 10% of the population is of Tamil Indian origin.[1]

Migration history

In 1851 the Martinique authorities, seeking to replace former slave labourers who had abandoned plantation work on being given their liberty, recruited several thousand labourers from the Indian French colonial settlements of Madras, Pondichéry, Chandernagor and Karaikal. Workers were offered free passage and pay in exchange for serving a five-year period of labour.[2] Despite initial experiences of racial discrimination and labour exploitation, many of the immigrants were subsequently well-integrated into the population,[3] and by the late 20th century the labourers' descendants were broadly assimilated into Martiniquais culture.

The past two decades have seen Indo-Martiniquais people increasingly asserting the distinctively Indian aspects of their heritage (a phenomenon known as "indianité"). People of Indian descent have paid renewed attention to the history and culture of India, and local groups have established contact with peoples of Indian descent from throughout the Caribbean and further afield. One token of this has been the recent revival of a traditional Hindu annual mela on the island, sustained by the Hindu temples and shrines that were introduced by the migrant labourers and remain operational today.[4]


One of Martinique's most famous dishes, the Colombo, derives from Indian cuisine. The dish is a unique curry of chicken, meat or fish with vegetables, spiced with a distinctive masala of Tamil origin, acidulated with tamarind and often containing wine, coconut milk, and rum.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ : The Caribbean Island of Martinique
  2. ^ : World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Martinique : Overview
  4. ^ : Countries and their Cultures: MARTINIQUE
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