Sainte-Marie is a town in the North Atlantic of Martinique. It is located north of Trinité and Gros-Morne and east of Marigot.

The town of Sainte-Marie owes its name to its fort which is erected in honor of the Virgin Mary and in reference to the first name of the wife of the first governor of the island, Jacques Dyel du Parquet. He gave his name to the parish of Sainte-Marie in 1658.

Before 1658, Sainte-Marie was a strong settlement. According to some archaeologists it was the capital of the Carib Indians as evidenced by the archaeological remains found in Lassalle and Petite Rivière Salée. There was annatto, a plant with which the Indians coated their bodies to fight against mosquito bites.

Handicrafts (pottery, basketry), fishing as well as the cultivation of cassava and potatoes held a large place in Carib Indian life. These activities have continued and have been preserved in the city's neighborhoods.

After the Europeans arrived on the island, the Caribbean fled into the Atlantic part and were then driven from the island. Europeans are gradually settling in the eastern part of the island. An agglomeration is formed under the name of Fort Sainte Marie in honor of the Blessed Virgin hence the name of the town.

The Fonds Saint-Jacques is given in concession to Dominican religious by Madame Du Parquet. Father Boulogne, Superior of the Dominicans and main architect of the victory of the colonists, is rewarded by Madame the Governor for this vast property called “Fonds Saint Jacques” in memory of the governor.

Initially, Fonds Saint Jacques was a monastery. It becomes a sugar refinery plantation under the leadership of Father Labat.

Sainte Marie is developing gradually thanks to the gradual increase in its population. The development of Fonds Saint Jacques is no stranger to the evolution of the city. He owes his success to Father Labat who found a completely dilapidated establishment and turned it into a sugar cane factory. The Habitation Fonds Saint Jacques soon became the most famous monastic plantation in the Antilles.

At that time, Martinique experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity.

Between 1744 and 1782, Martinique under English occupation saw its economic activity slow down. Following the French Revolution, the goods of the Clergy are nationalized except the Habitation Saint Jacques which remains in the hands of the religious.

In 1833, Sainte Marie was affected by a slave revolt that rocked the north of the island. This revolt had started in Lorrain at the Habitation de Grande Anse. Jean-Baptiste Agricole, the leader is sentenced to death.

In 1836, the population of Sainte Marie is estimated at 4,854 inhabitants and represents the demography of the island with 80% of black slaves but White minorities who dominate the economy.

In May 1848, Sainte Marie did not take part in the events leading to the abolition of slavery.

After the abolition of slavery, Martinique remained a French colony and the situation of Blacks remained very precarious. Social struggles are increasing in the hamlets of the city, Bezaudin, Peru, Morne-des-Esses, etc...

On October 31, 1901, Joseph Lagrosillière, founder of the socialist group in Martinique gave a memorable speech in the Morne-des-Esses district which led to the creation of the first agricultural union on the island.

Joseph Marie Lagrosillière was elected deputy for the 3rd constituency of Martinique from 1910 to 1924 and from 1932 to 1940. Subsequently, he stood for municipal elections in Fort de France and was defeated by Aimé Césaire.

After the departmentalization law of 1946, the Sainte Marie sugar economy declined with the closure of several factories in Martinique.


Despite the decline of the agricultural economy due to the closure of many sugar factories, agriculture remains the main economic activity of the city of Sainte-Marie. Sugar cane remains important, especially with the presence of the Saint-James distillery.

Bananas are also very important in Sainte-Marie which has the Banana Museum.

Cultural tourism is also developed with the presence of several places in the history of the island or having preserved the tradition (Maison du Bèlè, Museum of Rum, the vannerie Paille Caraïbe (local basketwork) and of course the Habitation Fonds-Saint-Jacques) .

The town attracts hikers and nature lovers with the presence of the unmissable Tombolo but also many hiking trails and two managed forests.


The main districts of the municipality are Anso, Bagou, Bassin Noir, Belle Étoile, Bellevue, Bezaudin, Bois Jade, Bois Neuf, Bon Air, Bonneville, Cadran, Cannelle, Châtaigne France, Chertine, Citron, Clair Plessis, Clauzel, Derrière Morne, Desroses, du Morne Lacroix, Duchamp, Épineux, Eudorcait, François, la Bambouseraie, la Charmeuse, la Ferme, la Gaoule, Lucon, Macroix, Mazière, Merveilleuse, Morne Élie, Mornes à Roches, Mounzy, Pain de Sucre, Pérou, Plaisance, Ransay, Reculée, Rivière Canaris, Rivière Romanet, Robin, Saint Aroman, Spourtoune, Tenos, Trou Mangouste and Union.

List of places to visit in the neighborhoods

Distilleries & Rhumeries

The Habitation La Salle is an old sugar factory that was founded in the 17th century in the commune of Sainte-Marie. It used to produce pure sugar cane juice used for the distillation of tafia which is the ancestor of rum.

Rum St.James was born in Saint-Pierre-de-la-Martinique in 1765.


La Philippe forest is located in the north of Martinique. It is the legacy of the sharing of Fonds Saint Jacques in 1933 of which it is a piece of forest.

Reculée Forest is little known compared to Montravail Forest in Sainte-Luce and Vatable Forest to Trois-Ilets, but it does no

Places to visit

Built in 1658, this former convent was home of Father Labat between 1694 and 1705.

Paille Caraïbe is a basketry located in the district of Morne-des-Esses in Sainte-Marie which has preserved the practices of art craftsmanship of pre-Columbian tradition transmitted by oral tradition.

The "Tombolo" is a broad band of sand formed by ocean currents that connects Sainte-Marie islet to the town on foot. Beware though, it is only during Lent, the warm season (December to April) that it is possible.


Located in a green area, the Banana Museum is located in the plantation called "Limbe," a banana plantation from the town of Sainte Marie.


Anse Azérot is the last accessible beach on the North Atlantic coast. The rest of the North Atlantic coastline is closed to bathing due to strong currents and high waves. However, due to the swell, swimming is sometimes prohibited!