Lead: On the morning of May 8, 1902, a massive cloud of volcanic matter rolled out of the conical summit of Mt. Pelée and plunged toward the coastal city of St. Pierre on the Caribbean island of Martinique. Within minutes the 30,000 citizens of St. Pierre had been incinerated.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Visited by Columbus on his fourth voyage in 1502, Martinique was first settled by Europeans when the French established a colony there in 1635. Except for a few years during wartime, they retained control and French Martinique remains in the twenty-first century. The island was formed by volcanoes, the principal of which was Mt. Pelée, a stratovolcano towering 4500 feet above the northern end of the Island. Until 1902 the chief commercial center of Martinique was the port of St. Pierre three miles distant from Mt. Pelée.

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