Saturday, February 10, 2018

Statue of Historic Figure: Empress Joséphine - Fort-de-France, Martinique

Empress Josephine
Fort-de-France, Martinique

N 14° 36.252 W 061° 04.071

Short Description:

The statue of the Empress Josephine is located on the north west area of Place de la Savane in Fort-de-France , Martinique. It was originally installed in the center of Place de la Savane and moved to this more inconspicuous location in La Savane by order of mayor Aimé Césaire in 1974.

Long Description:

A 5 meter high monument to Empress Josephine is sculpted out of white marble by Vital Dubray and dedicated on August 28, 1859.  The front of the base as a relief sculpture of the coronation of Josephine as Empress.

On the other three side of the monument are plaques commemorating: Josephine's date of birth, date of marriage, and the erection of the statue.

Joséphine de Beauharnais born Marie-Josèphe-Rose of Tascher de La Pagerie on June 23, 1763 in the French colony of Martinique. Her father was a wealthy sugarcane plantation owner who owned over 300 slaves. She had two children by her first husband, Alexander de Beauharnais, who was guillotined on July 23, 1794 during the French Revolution.

She then married Napoleon Bonaparte on March 8 , 1796.  As the first wife of the Emperor Napoleon I, she became the Empress of the French And the Queen of Italy until her divorce from Napoleon on December 16 , 1809.  After her divorce she retired to the castle Navarre where she lived as the of Duchess of Navarre until her death on May 29 , 1814.

While she was Napoleon's wife Josephine convinced him to reestablish slavery on Martinique and all other French Colonies, which was previously abolished by the French Revolution in 1794. It wasn't until April 27, 1848 that slavery was once again abolished in the French colonies. For this reason the statue is not warmly received by the people of Martinique. On September 1991, the statue was decapitated and later splashed with red paint. It remains in defiled condition until the present.

Philatelic Photograph: Prefecture of Martinique - Fort-de-France, Martinique

Prefecture of Martinique
Fort-de-France, Martinique

N 14° 36.297 W 061° 04.072

Quick Description: 

The Prefecture of Martinique was once the colonial governor's palace. Today it serves as the government center for Martinique. The entrance is on rue Victor Sévère in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

Long Description: 

Signs in three languages - French, French Creole, and English relate the history of the most important government building in Martinique, the Prefecture of Martinique. The main building was once the colonial governor's palace. It is now the prefecture of the Department of Martinique, an inclusive Department of France. The English language sign is inscribed:

Préfecture de
la Martinique:

From Governor Hotel to a state house in
the services of citizens

In the XVIIIth century, the various governors of Martinique left Fort Saint-Louis to settle in the new capital city, in a wooden building of colonial arhitecture located where the Prefecture now stands.

Two centuries later, in 1928, and after three years of construction work, the current buildings, the first ever to be built in reinforced concrete, replace the Governor' palace.

On March 1946, with the vote of the Law on departmentalization, the structure then became known as a prefecture.

In 1948, a ministerial decree relinquishes legal property rights to the department of Martinique. The State yet keeps exclusive use, free of charge and handles maintenance.

Hotspot of the political, social and administrative lie, the government Hall, then the Prefecture, bore witness to landmarks in Martinique's history, such as the welcoming of Victor Schoelcher, under-secretary of State to the Colonies who decreed the abolition of slavery in the colonies in 1848 or when the Prefecture took his quarters following the 1946 Law which turned Martinique into a department, the reporter of this law being none other than Aime Cesaire, deputy for Martinique. The Prefecture also harbored the celebration of numerous commemorations and a great many of social events were held there.

The different front appearances, roofs of "the palace" and of the two administrative buildings bordering the aisle of honor were protected as historical monuments on March 20 1990.

Since then, the outer buildings have undergone several renovation phases (1995-1996 and 2012-2013)

The Prefecture comprises three buildings:

The main building, "the palace", is, according to tradition, inspired from Le petit Trianon in Versailles. Built in a classically inspired arcitecture, the facade is regularly intersersed with great gaps. While the ground floor is from Doric order, an Ionic order was employed upstairs. Access is gained through great larhe stars and the main doors are made in art ironwork. They open on the vestibule leading to the Schoelcher and Eboue meeting rooms and to the central staircase. All the windows and doors are wood with louvered shutters.

The two administrative buildings along the main aisle, whose architecture follows from that of "the palace", open on passagesways leading to the offices.

Most of the period wooden work still sitting notably in the Prefect's office, were ordered to Mr. Antoine, cabinetmaker in Fort-de-France.

On October 17 2013 Manuel Valls, then Minister of the Interior, inaugurated two brand new modern and earthquake-resistant that were built at the rear of "the palace" (on Rue Louis Blanc) These wwo buildings enabled the merging of several on the same site as well as an improved reception of the service users. Between tradition and modernity, while still maintaining its luster of former times, the Prefecture of Martinique is resolutely turned towards the future.

The stamp was issued in 1940 by the then colony of Martinique as part of a set of 40 pictorial stamps issued between 1933 and 1940.

Statue of Historic Figure: Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc - Fort-de-France, Martinique

Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc
Fort-de-France, Martinique

N 14° 36.151 W 061° 04.126

Short Description: 

A statue of French trader and adventurer Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc is located at the southwest corner of La Savane in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

Long Description:

The identity of the statue in La Savane is identified as French trader and adventurer Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc by the website link

A 2.50 meter (8.2') bronze statue of Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc depicts the French trader and adventurer standing next to a large anchor on a 4 meter high, pink granite base on the front of which is a relief sculpture of a three-masted sailing ship. Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc is wearing a broad brimmed hat, belted jacket and knee high boots. He has a sheathed sword on his left hip. A coat is draped over his right arm which is bent to waist level. His left hand is shading his eyes as he looks into the distance. The monument was created by Marcel Gaumont and installed in the La Savane park on December 24, 1935.

Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc was born in 1585 in Alouville, France. Commanding a 14-gun brigantine with a crew of 40, he first sailed for St. Kitts where he founded a short lived colony in 1625. On September 1, 1635 he landed on the site of Saint-Pierre, Martinique with one hundred French settlers to create sugarcane plantations. On September 17 he formally took possession of Martinique for King Louis XIII.  He returned to St. Kitts where he died in 1636.

Library: Schoelcher Library - Fort-de-France, Martinique

Schoelcher Library
Fort-de-France, Martinique

N 14° 36.286 W 061° 04.079

Short Description: 

The Schoelcher Library is located at the corner of the Rue de la Liberté and Rue Victor Sévère, in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

Long Description:

The Schoelcher Library is a public library in Fort-de-France,  Martinique. It was designed by Pierre-Henri Picq and originally constructed for the Universal Exposition of 1889 held in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.

The building was constructed between 1886 and 1887 in the Tuileries Garden in Paris, near the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. It was presented at the World Fair in Paris in 1889. It held the extensive collection of books of abolitionist Victor Schœlcher who was a Member of the National Assembly of Martinique and Guadeloupe from 1848 to 1850, the main representative of the abolitionist movement in France. Reference: Web Link

After the Exposition is was dismantled and shipped to Fort-de-France, Martinique where is was reassembled. It is named after the French abolitionist Victor Schoelcher.

Reference: Web Link

"The Exhibition included a building by the Paris architect Pierre-Henri Picq. This was an elaborate iron and glass structure decorated with ceramic tiles in a Byzantine-Egyptian-Romanesque style. After the Exposition the building was shipped to Fort de France and reassembled there, the work being completed by 1893. Known as the Schoelcher Library, initially it contained the 10,000 books that Victor Schoelcher had donated to the island. Today it houses over 250,000 books and an ethnographic museum, and stands as a tribute to the man it is named after who led the movement to abolish slavery in Martinique."

War Memorial: Martinique War Memorial - Fort-de-France, Martinique

Martinique War Memorial
Fort-de-France, Martinique

N 14° 36.141 W 061° 04.052

Short Description: 

A memorial to the citizens from Martinique who died fighting for France is located in the southeast quadrant of La Savane in Fort-de-France, Martinique.

Long Description:

A bronze sculpture of the Goddess of Liberty and Reason, Marianne, who is the national symbol of the French Republic, stands on a stone base with a marble plaque. Behind Marianne is a rectangular stone wall and to either side are long, low benches and a wooden wall. Marianne is barefoot and dressed in ankle length robes. She is wearing a Phrygian-style cap, a symbol of revolutionary France, and is holding a flame over her head with both hands.

The marble plaque on the base is inscribed in gold letters.









Thursday, February 8, 2018

Philatelic Photograph: Fort Oranje Lighthouse - Kralendijk, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Fort Oranje & Lighthouse
Kralendijk, Bonaire
Caribbean Netherlands

N 12° 08.935 W 068° 16.609

Short Description: 

The Fort Oranje Lighthouse is located in Kralendijk harbor in Bonaire, opposite the cruise ship port.

Long Description:

The lighthouse at Fort Oranje is a four story, 44' high, square, tapered pyramidal, stone tower built in 1932. It replaced the wooden lighthouse built in 1868. It is an active lighthouse used as an aid to navigation. The light flashes white every 2 seconds. The harbor master's office is located within the fort.

Fort Oranje is the oldest existing structure in Bonaire. It was built by the Dutch in 1639. Above the defensive walls are four English cannons that date from 1808 - 1812. They were placed during the Napoleonic Wars, when the Netherlands lost control of Bonaire for the second time to the British from 1807 to 1816. Bonaire was returned to the Netherlands as a provision of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814.

Fort Oranje never saw any action. Until 1837 the fort was used by the commander of Bonaire. The buildings inside the fort were used by the government for police, fire brigade and as storage space.

The stamp was issued by the Caribbean Netherlands for the island of Bonaire on March 3, 2017 as part of a set of four stamps depicting lighthouses.

Lions Club Marker: Kralendijk, Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Lions Club Time Capsule
Kaya Grandi Pedestrian Mall
Kralendijk, Bonaire, 
Caribbean Netherlands

N 12° 09.018 W 068° 16.601

Short Description: 

The Lions Club of Bonaire has created a time capsule to celebrate its 40th anniversary. It is located along the Kaya Grandi Pedestrian Mall in the downtown commercial area of Kralendijk.

Long Description:

A prominent above ground time capsule was established buy the Bonaire Lions Club on 02 Febuary 2002. The 6' high blue and white truncated pyramid on a rectangular base has a nautical look with ship porthole windows on each side. The front of the time capsule has a sign depicting the Lions Internation emblems on each side and the inscription:

BONAIRE LIONS CLUB 02-02-1962 02-02-2002 02-02-20(remainder erased)

A sign on the left side is inscribed:

This monument, founded in 
2002 to commemorate the
40th anniversary of the Bonaire 
Lions Club, contains a
time capsule with letters and
contemporary articles, 
which will be opened in 2042 

The back has two bronze plaques. The upper plaque is the emblem of Lions International and below it a plaque inscribed: