The Foreign Service Journal, November 2022

64 NOVEMBER 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Memorializing the U.S. Consular Presence in Martinique Sébastien Perrot-Minnot, an archaeologist, is a research associate of several scientific institutions and a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the French West Indies. In addition, he is the honorary consul of Guatemala in Fort-de-France, Martinique. An associate member of AFSA, Dr. Perrot-Minnot was an adviser to the Municipality of St. Pierre for the French-American commemorations of May 8, 2022. FEATURE On the anniversary of the 1902 disaster in the French outpost, ceremonies honor those lost and celebrate French-American relations. BY SÉBAST I EN PERROT-M I NNOT T he 120th anniversary of the May 8, 1902, volcanic disaster in Martinique was marked by French-American com- memorative events there. St. Pierre, a small and quiet town in the northern part of the island, is world renowned for having suffered one of the worst volcanic disasters in modern history: On May 8, 1902, an eruption of Mount Pelée destroyed what was then the economic and cultural capital of the French colony, a brilliant city known as the “Little Paris of the West Indies.” The catastrophe took the lives of approximately 30,000 people, including Mayor Rodolphe Fouché, Governor of Martinique Louis Mouttet, and consular officials serving the interests of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. U.S. Consul Thomas T. Prentis and his colleague, Vice Consul J. Amédée Testart Grosval, appointed to St. Pierre in 1900 and 1898, respectively, were among the victims of the eruption, although their remains have never been recovered. [For more on Consul Thomas T. Prentis, see the article by Senior Foreign Service Officer William Bent, “The Unlucky Consul, ” published in the May 2020 issue of The Foreign Service Journal .] Prentis and Testart were honored by the U.S. Department of State and the American Foreign Service Association, their names engraved on the AFSAMemorial Plaques in the State Department lobby. Later, in 1935, the American engineer and volcanologist Frank Alvord Perret dedicated a memorial to Consul Prentis in St. Pierre; and in 1984, U.S. Ambassador to France Evan Griffith Galbraith had a plaque affixed to the monument in memory of Prentis’ wife and two daughters and Vice Consul Testart. That monument has, however, deteriorated with the passage of time. Under the circumstances, the Municipality of St. Pierre decided to commission a new memorial, dedicated to all mem- bers of the Prentis and Testart families who died in the 1902 eruption: Consul Thomas T. Prentis, his wife Clara Louisa,