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ABOUT SXM
Longitude 63.5° West – Latitude 18.5° North
Sint Maarten is approximately 34 Km²
Capital - Philipsburg

History of St Martin

St Martin had originally been settled by Indians - Arawaks, a semi nomadic tribe who were hunters and fishermen; Caribs, the cannibalistic warriors feared by many; and the Taïnos, whom would have been the ones to welcome Christopher Columbus and his men.

On the 11th of November, on Columbus’ second journey into the Caribbean seas, he landed on the island and named it St Martin. For many years St Martin was also known as Soualiga – Land of Salt – as the many salt ponds located throughout the island were coveted by the buccaneers for the valuable salt deposits.

The name of “The Friendly Island” was given to Saint Martin on the 23rd of March 1648 as the Dutch and the French signed the Treaty of Concordia, effectively separating the island in two – the northern part to France and the southern part to the Dutch. The local legend says that the division was established when 2 soldiers, from each side, left from the further points and where they met is where the frontier was drawn. The French explain their larger part of the territory by saying that the French soldier was drinking good French wine while the Dutch soldier only had gin.

From that period, Saint Martin suffered from a period of unrest with occupation, fighting, pillaging and invasion during the 18th and 19th Century.

Since the 1980’s, St Martin has turned to Tourism for economic growth.





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