Martinique joins the world in observing Armistice Day every November 11 to commemorate the act that led to the end of World War I. Armistice Day, or “Jour d’armistice” as it’s known in French territories, honors the veterans of both world wars who sacrificed their lives to restore world peace. The day’s events are usually somber, with people solemnly remembering the fallen and some countries, including France, observing a minute of silence to remember the lives lost.
History of Armistice Day (Martinique)
The French colonized multiple Caribbean islands, among them the striking island of Martinique, which it conquered in the 17th century. The island was a lucrative, sugar-producing colony by the next century and was under French control when World War I came around.
As the threat of war intensified, France knew it would need reinforcements and called upon able-bodied men from their colonies to fight in the French army. Thousands of Martinicans were conscripted and sent to France to train and prepare for the coming fight. In addition, Martinique’s famous rum was requisitioned for the French Army’s use. This became a blessing in disguise because many sugar mills had been converted into distilleries, leading to the island becoming a world-famous rum producer and helping the Martinique economy recover slightly after the war.
In 1918, the Allies and Germany signed the armistice, inducing a ceasefire on the Western Front. While the war officially concluded the following June, countries observe November 11 as Armistice Day to honor the soldiers who laid down their lives to restore peace. The day was declared an official holiday in 1922 and, in most countries, is a public holiday marked with official events, speeches, and memorials to cherish the memories of those lost in the war.
Armistice Day (Martinique) timeline
French colonizers arrive in Martinique and establish a settlement.
France enacts compulsory military service in their colony and asks Martinique to send 1,000 men annually to France for training.
The French army, including 18,000 soldiers from Martinique, fight in World War I.
To make reparations for their years of colonization, the French National Assembly unanimously votes to transform Martinique into a “Département et région d'outre-mer,” a French overseas territory with the same status as mainland French regions and departments.
Armistice Day (Martinique) FAQs
What countries have Armistice Day?
Belgium, Bulgaria, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada, Serbia, New Zealand, and Romania celebrate Armistice Day on November 11.
What is Armistice Day called today?
Armistice Day goes by many names, including Remembrance Day and Veteran’s Day. Multiple countries still call the holiday ‘Armistice Day.’
Do all countries have Remembrance Day?
States like Canada, Australia, and the U.K. observe Remembrance Day on November 11, but others celebrate this holiday on a different date and, sometimes, with a different name.
How to Observe Armistice Day (Martinique)
Listen to real-life stories
Read the poetry of war poets like Siegfried Sassoon and Laurence Binyon, watch interviews of those who lived through World War I, and listen to the first-hand accounts of soldiers who fortunately came back home. Let these stories teach you about the past.
Attend a commemorative event
Veteran Day celebrations, Armistice Day events, and Remembrance Day functions are organized in various countries and cities worldwide. Attend such commemorative events or even host your own to show people the importance of learning about the past.
Discover Martinique’s Armistice Day events
Martinique adds its local spin on Armistice Day events. Learn how their celebrations are different from the rest of the world.
5 Interesting Facts About Martinique
It’s a cultural melting pot
French and Caribbean customs influence Martinique culture.
The holiday had a different name
Martinique’s Armistice Day holiday was originally called “Armistice de la Première Guerre Mondiale” or “Armistice of the First World War.”
The French gave up Canada for Martinique
When the 1763 Treaty of Paris was in the works, the French chose to keep Martinique and Guadeloupe over Canada because of Martinique’s profitable sugar trade.
People escaped via Martinique
During World War II, people fled from the Nazis by sailing from Marseilles to Martinique, a French colony, and then to other countries after France fell to Germany in 1940.
It’s the world’s rum capital
Martinique is home to 12 different global rum brands.
Why Armistice Day (Martinique) is Important
It honors the veterans who lost their lives
Martinique sent approximately 18,000 soldiers off to war, and over 1,000 didn’t make it back home. The wounds are still fresh in the island’s memory, so this commemorative event helps locals remember and honor their fallen.
It ensures we don’t repeat our mistakes
The war devastated the entire world — economies crashed, and the loss of life was astronomical. Armistice Day gives everyone a chance to remember those dark days and pledge to do everything in our power to avoid another large-scale conflict.
It makes peace seem sweeter
When we know what a toll war has on a country — and the world — we are that much more grateful to live in relative peace. Days like Armistice Day remind us never to take this peace for granted.
Armistice Day (Martinique) dates