Martinique (French pronunciation: [maʁtinik]) is an island in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 km (436 sq mi). Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. It is directly north of St. Lucia and south of Dominica.
As with the other overseas departments, Martinique is one of the twenty-seven regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the French Republic. As part of France, Martinique is part of the European Union, and its currency is the Euro. Its official language is French, although many of its inhabitants also speak Antillean Creole (Créole Martiniquais).
Martinique owes its name to Christopher Columbus, who sighted the island in 1493 and finally landed on 15 June 1502. The island was then called "Jouanacaëra-Matinino", which came from a mythical island described by the Tainos of Hispaniola. According to historian Sydney Daney, the island was called "Jouanacaëra" by the Caribs, which would mean "the island of iguanas". After Columbus' initial discovery, the name then evolved into Madinina ("Island of Flowers"), Madiana, and Matinite. When Columbus returned to the island in 1502, he rechristened the island as Martinica. Finally, through the influence of the neighboring island of Dominica (La Dominique), it came to be known as Martinique.
The island was occupied first by Arawaks, then by Caribs. The Carib people had migrated from the mainland to the islands about 1200 CE, according to carbon dating of artifacts. They largely displaced, exterminated and assimilated the Taino who were resident on the island in the 1490s.