In the late 1800’s St. Pierre on the northwest coast of Martinique was the island’s capital and a crossroads of both trade and culture in the islands. Known as the Paris of the Caribbean, it was home to numerous large plantations with owners who were multi-millionares.
Ships from all over regularly filled the harbor at St. Pierre to load and unload goods.
Although not much was known about volcanoes at the time, the volcano gave the town ample warning that something bad was coming. There were several smaller eruptions in the previous months before the big one hit that covered farms with Ash and mud, killing numerous people, but the big plantation owners didn’t want to interrupt their commerce and bullied the leaders into doing nothing (sound familiar?).
the morning of May 8, 1902, the side of the mountain blew out and engulfed the town in superheated gas, killing thousands and destroying the city and numerous ships in the harbor..
Our trip there took longer than expected, but when we finally arrived we enjoyed a late lunch at a small restaurant on the waterfront named after a ship that was engulfed in ash and flames from the volcano called le Tamaya.
Then we visited the small museum to view some artifacts and learn more about the city before and after the eruption. The city elders appeared to be in denial about the volcano and the billowing smoke overhead didn’t change their minds until it was too late.
The ruins of a grand theater and a prison have been left untouched as a reminder of the devastation