Topic: Welcome To St. Maarten Posted: 15 Apr 2008 at 9:29pm
Sint Maarten / Saint Martin
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
All About St. Maarten/St. Martin
St. Maarten is the smallest Island in the world to be shared by two sovereign governments-namely the Dutch and French. The Dutch side, with Philipsburg as its capital occupies the southern 17 square miles of this 37-square-mile island; St. Martin, a French dependency, occupies the northern half. The dual nationality adds variety to this most unique of island gems in the Caribbean Sea. Both Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin have maintained a peaceful coexistence for over 350 years, the longest of any two bordering nations. The two territories have enjoyed harmonious relations through their history and have shared the prosperity of many years without dispute. The Treaty of Concordia executed on March 23rd 1648 established this coexistence and has the unique distinction of being the oldest Treaty still in force today.
As part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Dutch St. Maarten has been both politically and economically stable. The territory is not only a safe and pleasant place to do business, but also to establish roots and raise a family. The total population has grown from 13,156 in 1980 to nearly 39,000 in year 2000. It is estimated that the population of St. Maarten consists of 77 different nationalities. The native languages are English and Dutch.
Location/Size The island is in the Caribbean Sea, 18.02 latitude and 63.07 longitude, 150 miles southeast of Puerto Rico. it covers 37 square miles, with Dutch St. Maarten on the South spanning 16 square miles and French Saint Martin on the North covering 21. The island is the smallest landmass to be shared by two separate governments. Capitals - Philipsburg on Great Bay is the capital of St. Maarten. Marigot is the capital of Saint Martin.
Nationalities As a part of the Netherlands Antilles and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, St. Maarten boasts 140 different nationalities. Saint Martin is a commune of Guadeloupe, an overseas territory of France.
Languages English is spoken everywhere, but Dutch is the official language of St.Maarten, and French the official language of Saint Martin. On the Dutch side, you can also hear Spanish, Papiamentu, Italian, Hindi, Chinese, and other languages. On the French side, Creole Patois is also spoken.
Population 41,000 people live on St.Maarten and 36,000 on Saint Martin.
Climate Sunny and warm year-round, with some cooling from trade winds. Average temperature during the winter season is 80F (27C) and a few degrees warmer anymore humid in the summer. Occasional showers in late summer and early fall, with average annual rainfall of 45 inches.
Learn more about the Caribbean's most exciting vacation destination! If you appreciate gourmet food, world class duty free shopping, vibrant nightlife, pristine beaches, year-round warm climate and a cosmopolitan atmosphere with a Caribbean twist, Sint Maarten - Saint Martin is for you!
With an area of only 37 square miles, the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is the smallest land mass in the world to be divided between two governments. Its dual owners are the Dutch and the French, who have shared the tiny and paradisical island more or less peacefully for almost 350 years. This understated absence of conflict testifies to one of the island's most precious and attractive characteristics--its unusual serenity.
Situated about 150 miles east of Puerto Rico, Dutch St. Maarten (the French spell it St. Martin) covers 16 square miles of the southern part of the island, an area marked by verdant, rolling hills that languidly rest above mile after mile of beach, salt pond, and lagoon. Although the region falls under the government of Netherlands Antilles and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, its diversity and the strong influence of West-Indian traditions make its culture anything but exclusively Dutch. St. Maarten's atmosphere is a winning blend of Caribbean hospitality and European sophistication.
Philipsburg, the Dutch capital since 1768, is widely known for its colonial architecture. The town began as a Dutch trading center, and the forts around Philipsburg are haunting reminders of its one-time strategic importance. Traders from throughout the empire once sailed through the protective arms of its Great Bay, establishing the town as a lively center of international commerce. Although most of the vessels that arrive in the harbor today are cruise ships, international trade still thrives in St. Maarten thanks to its status as a leading duty-free port. To put it simply, St. Maarten is a shopper's dream.
St. Maarten is also known throughout the Caribbean for its eclectic nightlife. The evening ritually begins at sunset, when cafes and night clubs open their doors and the music of steel drum bands floats along the beaches. The island's festive spirit peaks during carnival, a vibrant, two-week festival of feasting, street dancing, parties, and parades.
St. Maarten's dependable trade winds free the island from oppressive heat or prolonged leaden skies, and its temperate climate is consistently graced by the sun.
The island's sugary-white beaches are spiritually restive and abundant, and walkers who encounter them are often struck by their splendid seclusion. Off-shore, St. Maarten's life-rich waters provide superb boating and fishing, as well as excellent diving areas. The inland region, with its gentle valleys and hills, is ideal for biking, horseback riding, and exploration. All these offerings have made St. Maarten a famous tropical destination, and the island is dotted with world-class resorts. Private guest houses are also an increasingly popular form of lodging, catering to visitors seeking traditional Caribbean hospitality.
I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.
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