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Marigalante
Overseas Territory of Mariana
Flag of Marigalante
Coat of Arms of Marigalante
Flag
Anthem: The Ambrosian
Marigalante map
Map of Marigalante
Capital
and largest city
Grand-Bourg
Official languages English
Recognised regional languages Galantian Patois (Patois gallet)
Demonym Galantian, Gallet
Government {constitutional monarchy
• Queen
Helene of Mariana
• President of Marigalante
Jarrold Warner
Area
• Total
170 km2 (66 sq mi)
Population
• 2015 estimate
13,656
Currency Marianan lira (MAL)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Drives on the right
Calling code +1 627
ISO 3166 code MA
Internet TLD .ma
Website
www.marigalante.com

Marigalante is an overseas territory of Mariana in the Caribbean sea, located south of Guadeloupe and north of Dominica. With a land area of 170.5 km² (61 sq. miles) and 13,656 inhabitants (as of 2015), it is the largest overseas territory in size and population. Marigalante constitutes one of three overseas territories of Mariana.

Marigalante consists of 8 islands; Marigalante is by far the largest, with the island group of Saints Islands to the west comprising of Grand Anse, Terre de Haut, Grandisle, Cabrit, Lacoche, Augustins and Redonde (largest to smallest). Only Marigalante, Grand Anse and Terre de Haut are inhabited.

Etymology and symbols

The name Marigalante comes from one of Christopher Columbus' ships from his 1493 voyage, when he discovered the islands. Marigalante had other pre-Columbian names: Aichi and Touloukaera, but the name used by the Huecoids for he island has been lost to time. In the local patois, it is called Marigalant.

The demonym for people from the territory is Galantian(s), in the local vernacular pronounced without the first "n". In patois, the people re known as Gallet(s).

The main symbol for Marigalante is the flag, adopted in 1966. It is sky blue with white (representing the sky and the sand) and features four red stars along the center. Over the years, various media and books have said the stars symbolize the main islands of Marigalante, the foreign powers that ruled over it, among other reasons, but officially it is not known what they represent, other than potentially aesthetic reasons. A contest among Galantians was held in April 1966 to replace the flag, with the chosen design made by 17 year old George Gaynor of Capesterre.

History

Early history

The Huecoids are the oldest known civilizations to have occupied Mariegalante, followed by the Arawak tribe, and then by the Caribs circa AD 850. The island was called Aichi by the Caribs and Touloukaera by the Arawaks.

Mariegalante was the first island encountered by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage. On 3 November 1493, he anchored at the islet now called Anse Ballet in Grand-Bourg, and named the island in honor of the flagship Marigalante (gallant Mary) of the second voyage. He later went on to discover and name Saints Islands.

In the 16th century, the royal government began a colonization exploration. Portuguese explorer Baltasar de Saldanha led an expedition to the Caribbean and claimed the the islands of Marigalante and Islas de los Santos.

In 1570 Portuguese explorer Baltasar de Saldanha was hired by the crown of Mariana to discover new lands in the Caribbean, landing on and claiming Marigalante for Mariana near Capesterre in February 1571.

In 1577 the Royal Company of the Indies (Real Bedrijf van de Indies) was founded to run and help settle the islands, with 37 Marianans settling in the islands in early 1578. It was at this time the first few slaves came to Marigalante; unlike other Caribbean colonies the slaves were purchased not from Afria but instead from the Caribbean itself.

The RCI later came to also run Bequia (and from 1604-1613) Ronde Island (for 9 years a Marianan possession).

Colonial history

Early colonial history

Baron Martinus Van Damme

Gov Genl Martinus Van Damme

In 1622 the government (of Mariana) began working to slowly shut down the RBI, fearing the company was avoiding taxes and cheating the government out of significant revenues. On 2 April 1623, Marigalante came under the control of the government, and Baron Martinus Van Damme (1590-1644) was named the first Governor-General, and in his 21 years in charge he had the first sugarcane fields planted. Thus, the number of slaves on the island heavily increased and by 1700 there were 5900 settlers and over 11000 slaves. Until 1951, Desiry was administered by Marigalante.

18th century

The battle of the Saints 12 avril 1782

Battle of The Saintes, 12 April 1782

One of the last military actions in Galantian history (and in the American Revolution) took place of the coast of Saints Islands, where a British fleet under Sir George Rodney defeated a French one led by the Comte de Grasse.

54 French soldiers had been landed on Grand Anse, using the island as a final base from which to launch an attack on Jamaica. The 16 Marianan soldiers stationed on the island were forced to surrender, as even the approximately 10 other soldiers in the other islands would have been unable to make much of a difference. Even so, Mariana had issues with France and understandably the locals made life unpleasant for the soldiers.

The arrival of the British saw the French defeated after several days. The British occupied Saints Islands for several weeks, until it was determined that Mariana had not aided the French, and it was promptly returned.

1800-1801 revolt

Pabella 1748

The Pabella

In 1784 the filibuster James Carrington had taken over Mariana and implemented a new regime. In 1800 a coup was attempted against him in Mariana; after four weeks it had ultimately failed but news (by then out of date) reached Marigalante and immediately Governor-General Henry Parkes (1751-1807) joined the side of the now-deposed King Adrian II, sent an order for the arrest of Carrington and declared all the slaves free. Within months the news reached Mariana, and an outraged Carrington sent the 44-gun flagship of the navy, the Pabella to force the colony back in line. Parkes and his 34 soldiers were no match for the Pabella, whose captain threatened destruction of the port of Grand-Bourg, immediately surrendered, but most of the slaves, which had just recently acquired a newfound freedom revolted rather than face capture.

Parkes' soldiers then fought back, but 151 Marianan soldiers were landed to restore order, and many slaves fled to Grandisle in the west, where a colony of maroons existed for some time. Under Rosita Hanty, the slaves found an able leader, but on 3 October 1800 she was arrested and hanged for insubordination of order. 17 slaves and two Galantian soldiers were killed in the revolt. Colonel James Bartlett was made governor-general, and used force to round up escaped slaves. Carrington himself was poisoned in 1802, and upon news of the change of government, the establishment of a constitution and the restoration of the monarch's powers under King Ambroos, the military occupation ended, though slavery remained.

19th century

Henry Parkes was re-appointed governor in 1802, but under the express instruction to not deal in matters relating to slavery, and maintaining it as is. He was replaced with the more conservative Eusebius De Kerk in 1804. That said, King Ambroos, an enlightenment monarch was able to orchestrate the 1802 constitution to ban slavery. While slaves were never present in Mariana proper, it was argued by some ministers that the law only applied to continental Mariana and not her Caribbean colonies, as argued by the powerful Count of Drenthe. The count died in 1811, and immediately the king and his closest ministers began implementing more liberal and anti-Napoleon policies, bringing Mariana into the coalition war against France in 1813, and in 1814 formally ending slavery in the colonies.

That said, many former slaves were forced to continue working the canefields or in fishing, given they had little money and not much chance at other work. By 1830, 65% of the population were former slaves, with the remaining being of Marianan, British or Brazorian origin.

20th century

In 1906, the right to vote was extended to Marianan citizens of the colonies. Beginning that year, citizen-residents were able to vote for a colonial government, headed by a president. Robinson Spencer Marlowe (1862-1929) became the first president. In 1914, following the outbreak of war in Mariana, a permanent garrison of native Royal Guardsmen was raised, starting with 40 soldiers that year to a high of 670 in 1944. With the entry of Mariana in the Great War in 1915, a number of Galantians were drafted into the 20th Infantry Company "Caribbean", which saw limited action in 1917.

Following World War I, the economy began to diversify, with reliance on sugar cane and rum reduced, and tourism greatly increasing in its place. A government-owned casino opened in 1921, leading to an increase in revenues.

The status of Marigalante became the subject of debate, and in the interwar period there was much discussion over becoming more than just a colony, and in the process acquiring more powers. In 1925, King Johan II became the first ruling monarch to visit Marigalante, being fêted at Governor-General's residence and dining with president Jonathan Wouters (1889-1966).

Caribbean Mariana poster 1963

Caribbean Mariana tourism poster, 1960s

Following World War II, the government under Prime Minister Alexander Bouras passed laws that abolished the colonies and established overseas territories in their stead in 1951. Most powers were devolved to the local governments and the post of Governor-General was abolished. Emil Barnes (1890-1967), the first Afro-Galantian Governor-General was also the last one (from 1947-1951), and he helped oversee the transition. In 1954 Henry Devant (1920-1994) of the left-wing People's United Party became the first president under the new status. Devant was able to implement the basis of many of the territory's social services. Hurricane Donna in 1960, the most destructive on the island, cause one-sxth of homes to be destroyed an saw three people dead. Center-right politician Martin Gallant (1912-1967) devoted time and money to help in the reconstruction, and accused Devant of mismanagement of the issues. In 1962 the right-wing United Party came to power, and under president Martin Gallant embarked on a plan to attract foreign tourism and money to the islands, and rebuild the island. A second state-owned casino opened in 1963, and legislation was passed to allow private ones to be built.

Marigalante in the late 1950s and 1960s became a popular tourist destination among the jetset of Europe and North America. Indeed even King Martin II (when prince) owned a house on Terre de Haut. Mariana's then flag carrier, Royal International Air Lines had a special Palma-Madrid-Marigalante flight served by the new Douglas DC-8 jets.

Between 1954 and 1969, 14 resorts were built, the Cowan Golf Club was founded and the first of the territory's headquartered banks, Marigalante Bank Ltd was founded in 1965.

Modern history

Severance Gallows

Severance Gallows

In 1998, the PAP came into power, ushering a 16 year rule in which the first ever female president, Severance Gallows (1941-2015) was chosen. Gallows became a champion of furthering social security, and was able to apportion funding for schools, the hospital, medical clinics and public facilities. The PAP returned to power in 2002, and again in 2006, in each instance with a larger margin of votes over the UP. Gallows fell very ill in 2008 and 2009, and she announced she would not lead the party in the 2010 elections. Her deputy, Martin Toussaint (1939-) became the President after a successful 2010 election win, but the PAP managed only 53% of votes, their lowest result since 1998. Toussaint was old and fairly out of touch with the voters, which saw him as one of Marigalante's least popular leaders.

In 2014, the UP embarked on a campaign to oust the PAP, choosing Jarrold Warner (1972-) as leader. Warner was young and was previously a schoolteacher in Marigot town. 2014 was the first time a third party, the Centrist Unity Party, ran in the elections. With the CUP's support, the UP came to power and Warner became the president. For the installment of the new government, Queen Helene embarked on an official visit to the territory on 28 September-2 October 2014, opening the legislature on 1 October.

In September 2015 Severance Gallows died, and on her funeral 6 September some 3500 people were out in the streets to mourn her. Not since Robinson Marlowe's death in 1929 had there been a state funeral, and this was thus a significant event. Queen Helene, Prince Bernd and their children plan to spend their holidays in Marigalante and Bequia; they will spend Christmas in Marigalante, New Years in Grand Anse (and Three Kings' Day in Bequia), the first time the monarch has not spent those days outside of continental Mariana.

Statutory changes in Marigalante

Starting in the 2010s, there was significant discussion as the future of Marigalante under its current status. Talks arose over a potential change from an overseas territory to an outermost region (OMR) or an overseas province. A number of United Party members favor change to an OMR, including President Warner, but many people are wary about the chance. A referendum vote on the status will occur on 6 January.

On referendum day, votes were split as such: 62,4% in favor of remaining an overseas territory, 12,9% in favour of becoming an outermost region and 22,7% in favor of becoming an overseas province, with a surprisingly high 2 percent of spoiled voted. As such, no change is to occur as the votes for maintaining the present status outweighed all other options individually and as a whole.

2017 hurricane season

The deadly hurricane to have struck Houston in September, Harvey, posed no threat to Marigalante. Hurricane Irma avoided Marigalante and Guadeloupe but there was significant rain, wind and minor damage. Hurricane Jose is being watched and again the government has told citizens to be prepared.

Geography

Marigalante

Rocky Mouth, Marigalante

Rocky Mouth

Marigalante island is nicknamed the "big biscuit", being more or less shaped like a cookie. The waters at the west of Marigalante contains an impressive coral reef, home to an abundance of species. Due to human activity on the island, a lot of the natural ecosystem has been damaged and there is not as much variety of fauna as in neighboring islands.

Saints Islands

Saints Islands, on the other hand, have an impressive variety of flora and fauna.

Fauna

Saints Islands are home to a number of iguanas, primarily the green iguana and Lesser Antillean iguana. Sea birds (magnificent frigatebird, brown booby, masked booby, terns, double-crested cormorant, pelican, petrels) nest on the cliffs and uninhabited islands. Indeed, Grandisle is a natural reserve (since 1953) where one can find species of booby not found on the other islands.

Politics, administration and government

Elections and government

Marigalante election poster Warner 2014

Election poster

Marigalante has elections every four years, following a style similar to that of Mariana, with a 20 seat legislature and a president as head of government. There are three main parties in the territory, the United Party (center-right, linked to the CDU) in Mariana), People's Action Party (linked to SDP) and the Centrist Unity Party. Historically the PAP and UP have received enough votes to govern on their own, but in the most recent elections the UP needed the support of the CUP to form a government.

The 2014 elections saw the UP come into power, with Jarrold Warner chosen president. From 1998-2014, the PAP had governed Marigalante, but wariness over the extent of government spending prompted 41% of people to vote for the UP, 37% for the PAP and 18% for the CUP (a record for the party), with the remaining 4% going to minor parties. This signaled a massive change, seeing as the PAP leadership was aging, and Warner and his allies were young and new to politics.

In the past, Mariana had a governor representing the monarch, but since 1951 the president is able to represent the monarch at official functions, while the queen (or king), from Mariana, is able to signed locally passed bills into law.

Political status of Marigalante

In its present form, Marigalante is an overseas territory, and thus not integrally a part of Mariana proper. It is not a member of the European Union, being classified under "overseas countries and territories", for which special provisions apply. Through membership in the EU-OCT Association it receives a number of benefits from the EU. Due to its geographic location, Marigalante is a non-member dependent partner of the Conference of American States.

Galantians, interestingly, are EU citizens; no "Galantian citizenship" exists, and being Marianan entails being an EU citizen as well. As of 2016, discussion is underway over changing Marigalante's status to either an Outermost Region of the EU (OMR), but subject to other EU regulations, being made an overseas province (though losing most of its current powers) or keeping its current status.

Becoming an EU OMR will allow greater access to EU markets, services etc, but will likely see Marigalante have to enter the VAT area, unless special provisions are made. Becoming a province seems to be the least desirable choice, as Marigalante would lose its legislature, political parties and its president, but would gain 5 seats in an expanded house of representatives.

In August 2016 it was announced that a referendum is to be held, on 6 January 2017, where voters will choose one of the above options for Marigalante.

2017 Marigalante status referendum

The referendum on Marigalante's status occured on 6 January 2016, with voting occurring from 9:00 local time and closing at 19:00. Nearly two-thirds of voters were in favor of retaining the status quo.

Economy

Tourism

Tourism forms a significant portion of the Galantian economy. The modern tourism industry began to kick off in the post-WWII period, though the establishment of a casino in the 1920s lead to an initial wave of tourism. Most Galantians are in some way tied to the tourism industry through work, either directly or indirectly.

Financial services industry

Marigalante is well-known in the banking sector, owing to their ease of banking laws. As of 2016, there are 41 banks, either physically or digitally based in Marigalante, providing banking, hedge fund, investments and securitization.

Currency

50 lira overseas note 1950s

50 lira, 1950s

In the early colonial days, Spanish reales were the commonly-used currency, with the coins being able to be cut into halves, quarters, eighths to suit local needs. Once the Spanish colonies became independent and the coinage began to be scarce, Mexican reales, United States dollars and French caribbean francs all widely circulated.

In 1885 the government founded the Currency Board for the Colonies, in charge of overseeing financial matters in Bequia and Marigalante. The first colonial lira banknotes were issued in 1889, replacing the Mexican real at 2 lira per real. First coins for overseas territories were minted in 1921, but only a few thousand were issued each year in 1921-22, and no more than 800 for 1923-25. A larger coinage series was minted from 1929-1937, and from 1948 to 1956.

Unlike in Mariana, the lira was not redenominated, thus needing 1000 colonial lira for one Marianan lira; thus the highest not in use became 10000 lira.

The CBC was reorganized in 1951 as the Currency Board for the Overseas Territories. In a 2001 referendum, 72% of voters were in favor of adopting the euro, to better facilitate trade with its direct neighbor, Guadeloupe and other Caribbean islands.

Transport

Saints Airport

Saints Airport

There are two airports in Marigalante, all served by local airline Islandair. The largest airport is Henry Devant Airport in Marigalante, which has the only regular plane service to and from the island. The Saints Airport serves as the Saints Islands' local airport. No regular scheduled flights go to or from the island, but planes are often charted to go to or from Guadeloupe.

Culture

The culture of Marigalante is a mixture of Afro-Caribbean with Marianan and European traditions. The largest and most important celebration is Carnival, held on Ash Wednesday. Together with preceding Mardi Gras, it has been held since the late 18th century and is a time of feasting, dancing and the traditional colorful parade through the towns.

Literature

Marigalante has a rich literary history. Since the 19th century, a number of Galantian authors have come to prominence, not only in Marigalante and the Caribbean. One of the first notable novelists was Herbert Bonmarie (1885-1927), best known for his novels on island life, especially those in the 1920s. In 2016, Bonmarie was posthumously awarded the prestigious Medal for Arts and Letters of Mariana. Priscilla Bolton (1907-2005) was noted for her mystery novels in the 1950s. Mamie Vincent (1942-) is a well-known poet, adding existentialist themes to her writings on island hardships, and in 2015 she became the first Galantian to win the Medal for Arts and Letters.

Art

The fishermen's village

The Fishermen's Village by Durand, 1906

Galantians are considered to be better at literature than art, but a number of painters have sprung up over the years.

On the other hand, many European and North American painters have come to Marigalante to paint the nature and tropical scenes. Marianan post-impressionist painter Marie Durand (1873-1966) lived from 1905-1912 in Grand Anse, and made a number of colorful paintings on the island's life.

Music

The best-known Galantian music is the becasse, related to Jamaican mento, calypso and the later Haitian compas. The most famous becasse song is Senorita from Havana, made famous in 1954.

Cuisine

Rice bowl with carrots

Rice bowl with carrots

Marigalante has a distinctive cuisine, combining afro-caribbean cooking with some foods brought over in the colonial period from Mariana. Shellfish, smoked fish, crab and conch soup are some of the best-known dishes.

One of the best known foods abroad is conch chowder, a thick stew made with conch and melted cheese overtop. Stuffed crab is a popular dish as well, usually with a mix of local vegetables. One of the most popular foods in Marigalante, which originally started out as street food is the rice bowl, a dish of rice with avocado puree served with fried fish or beef on the side.

Rice bowl was said to have been invented by Samanta Curry, a restaurant cook, in 1927.

Defense

Defense of Marigalante is undertaken by the Royal Guard. The reservist 33rd Infantry Company is the only local unit of the Royal Guard, founded in 1978.

Flag of Mariana Kingdom of Mariana Flag of Mariana
Government Monarchy (Queen Helene) • Prime MinisterCongress of Deputies (HouseSenate)
Judiciary (Supreme Court • Constitutional Court • Judicial Courts • Regional Courts • Municipal Courts)
Marigalante Flag of Marigalante Settlements (Capesterre • Grand Anse • Grand-Bourg • Little Anse • Marigot • St. Louis • Terre de Haut Town) • Government (President • Parliament of Marigalante)
Bequia
Flag of Bequia
Settlements (Diamond • Fernando's Hideaway • Friendship • La Pompe • Paget Farm • Park Estate • Port Elisabeth • Saint Hilary • Spring Estate) • Government (President of the Parliament • Bequian Parliament • Pink House) • Education (Martin Paget Primary School • Eustatius Horton College)
Desiry
Coat of Arms Desiry
Settlements (Beausejour • Headley • Mowalt • South Side) • Government (Mayor of Desiry • Municipal government) • Education (Justus Pinckney Primary School • Princess Marianne College)

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