Colonized by France in 1635, the island has subsequently remained a French possession except for three brief periods of foreign occupation.
Surface Area: 1,100 square km
Population: 429,510 (July 2004 est.)
Located in: Central America (Caribbean)
Capital City: Fort-de-France
Head of State: Jacques CHIRAC, represented by Prefect Yves DASSONVILLE
Prime Minister: Claude LISE
Currency: €uro (EUR); French franc (FRF)