The Carib Expulsion was the French-led ethnic cleansing that terminated most of the Carib population in 1660 from present-day Martinique. This followed the French invasion in 1635 and its conquest of the people on the Caribbean island that made it part of the French colonial empire.
The Carib people had migrated from the mainland to the islands about 1200 AD, according to carbon dating of artifacts. They lived in perfect synchronicity with the islands and had a peaceful and idealist life, beyond what Europeans thought possible.
Because of their peaceful and idyllic lives, it was very easy to overpower them. In 1635 the Carib were overwhelmed by French forces led by the adventurer Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc and his nephew Jacques Dyel du Parquet, who imposed French colonial rule on the indigenous Carib peoples. Cardinal Richelieu of France gave the island to the Saint Christophe Company, in which he was a shareholder. Later the company was reorganized as the Company of the American Islands. The French colonists imposed French Law on the conquered inhabitants, and Jesuit missionaries arrived to convert them to the Roman Catholic Church.
Because the Carib people resisted working as laborers to build and maintain the sugar and cocoa plantations which the French began to develop in the Caribbean, in 1636 King Louis XIII proclaimed La Traite des Noirs. This authorized the capture or purchase of slaves from Africa, who were then transported as labor to Martinique and other parts of the French West Indies.
In 1650, the Company liquidated and sold Martinique to Jacques Dyel du Parquet, who became governor until his death in 1658. His widow Mme. du Parquet then took control of the island for France. As more French colonists arrived, they were attracted to the fertile area known as Cabesterre (leeward side). The French had pushed the remaining Carib people to this northeastern coast and the Caravalle Peninsula, but the colonists wanted the additional land. The Jesuits and the Dominicans agreed that whichever order arrived there first, would get all future parishes in that part of the island. The Jesuits came by sea and the Dominicans by land, with the Dominicans' ultimately prevailing.
When the Carib revolted against French rule in 1660, the Governor Charles Houel sieur de Petit Pré retaliated with war against them. Many were killed; those who survived were taken captive and expelled from the island.
- Sweeney, James L. (2007). "Caribs, Maroons, Jacobins, Brigands, and Sugar Barons: The Last Stand of the Black Caribs on St. Vincent", African Diaspora Archaeology Network, March 2007, retrieved 26 April 2007
- "Institutional History of Martinique", Martinique Official site, French Government (translation by Maryanne Dassonville). Retrieved 26 April 2007