Marigalante

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This territory is part of the Altverse universe.
Marigalante

Overseas Territory of Mariana
Flag of Marigalante
Flag
of Marigalante
Coat of arms
Anthem: Marcha Real
Map of Marigalante
Map of Marigalante
Capital
and largest city
Grand-Bourg
Official languages Spanish, English
Recognised regional languages Galantian Patois (Patois gallet)
Demonym(s) Galantian, Gallet
Government constitutional monarchy
• Queen
Helene of Mariana
• President of Marigalante
Francisco Warner
Area
• Total
170 km2 (66 sq mi)
Population
• 2015 estimate
13,656
Currency Marianan lira (MAL)
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Driving side 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[edit | edit source]

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 patois, the people are 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[edit | edit source]

Early history[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Early colonial history[edit | edit source]

File:Baron Martinus Van Damme.jpg
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[edit | edit source]

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.

In March 1808 the Royal Navy took possession of Marigalante to stop French privateers using its port. The British returned the island to Spain in 1815.

20th century[edit | edit source]

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 Marlowe (1862-1929) became the first president. In 1914, following the outbreak of war in Mariana, a permanent garrison of native soldiers was raised, starting with 40 soldiers that year to a high of 670 in 1944. With the entry of Mariana in the Great War, a number of Galantians were drafted into the army, 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.

Following World War II, the government 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. Emilio 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 Enrique Devant (1920-1994) of the left-wing Socialist 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-sixth of homes to be destroyed an saw three people dead. Center-right politician Martin Galante (1912-1967) devoted time and money to help in the reconstruction, and accused Devant of mismanagement of the issues. In 1962 the right-wing People's Party came to power, and under president Galante 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.

An Iberia DC-8 in Marigalante

Marigalante in the late 1950s and 1960s became a popular tourist destination among the jetset of Europe and North America. Mariana's then flag carrier, Iberia, had a special Madrid-Marigalante flight served by the new Douglas DC-8 jets. Between 1954 and 1969, 14 resorts were built, the Golf Club Marigalante was founded and the first of the territory's headquartered banks, Banco de Marigalante Ltd was founded in 1965.

Modern history[edit | edit source]

In 1998, the Socialists came into power, ushering a 16 year rule in which the first ever female president, Maria Jimena 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 Socialists returned to power in 2002, and again in 2006, in each instance with a larger margin of votes over the PP. Gallows fell very ill in 2008 and 2009, and she announced she would not lead the party in the 2010 elections. Her deputy, Martin Torres (1939-) became the President after a successful 2010 election win, but the Socialists 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 PP's Francisco Warner (1972-) was elected leader. Warner was young and was previously a schoolteacher in Marigot town. 2014 was the first time a third party ran in the elections.

In September 2015 Gallows died, and on her funeral 6 September some 3500 people were out in the streets to mourn her.

Statutory changes in Marigalante[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Marigalante[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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

Fauna[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Elections and government[edit | edit source]

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.

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 Monarch, from Mariana, is able to signed locally passed bills into law.

Political status of Marigalante[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Tourism[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

There are two airports in Marigalante, all served by local airline Islandair. The largest airport is Enrique 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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

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 Fernando 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. Maria Vicente (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.

Cuisine[edit | edit source]

File:Rice bowl with carrots.jpg
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.

Music[edit | edit source]

Contradances were popular at the turn of the century, with several groups being brought to record in New York, and some to Barcelona in the 1910s. The becasse was a popular music style in the late 1940s and 1950s, related to Jamaican mento, calypso and the later Haitian compas.

Defense[edit | edit source]

Defense of Marigalante is undertaken by the army. There is a local reserve army unit, and a naval station on the island.

Flag of Mariana.png Kingdom of Mariana Flag of Mariana.png
Government Monarchy (Queen Helene) • Prime MinisterCongress of Deputies (HouseSenate)
Judiciary (Supreme Court • Constitutional Court • Judicial Courts • Regional Courts • Municipal Courts)
Marigalante Flag of Marigalante.png Settlements (Capesterre • Grand Anse • Grand-Bourg • Little Anse • Marigot • St. Louis • Terre de Haut Town) • Government (President • Parliament of Marigalante)
Bequia
File:Flag of Bequia.png
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
File:Coat of Arms Desiry.png
Settlements (Beausejour • Headley • Mowalt • South Side) • Government (Mayor of Desiry • Municipal government) • Education (Justus Pinckney Primary School • Princess Marianne College)