Like most islands in the region, St. Martin was discovered by Christopher Columbus’ expedition in 1493. At first, the Spaniards showed no interest in the island, and so, shortly after, it became the bone of contention for the French and the Dutch, who ended up dividing it between their two territories. In 1648, they joined forces to keep the Spanish at bay and secured this Caribbean paradise for themselves.
As a result, St. Martin remains, to this day, the world’s smallest inhabited island shared by two independent governments. Its northern part is an overseas collectivity of France known as Saint-Martin, while the southern part, Sint Maarten, is a self-governing state which enjoys a significant degree of autonomy within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
St. Martin is a well-established and popular holiday destination for Europeans, boasting excellent facilities for tourists. Accommodation options include chain hotels with a full range of amenities and entertainment, cosy B&B apartments on the seaside, private villas with stunning views and secluded bungalows.
The border between the French side and the Dutch side is just a line on the map. Local residents and tourists are free to explore the entire island with its 37 beaches and over 300 restaurants – French, Italian, Japanese, Caribbean, Indonesian, Creole, and other. St. Martin is a bustling hotspot 24/7. During the day, you can take a boat trip to the nearby islands, both inhabited and uninhabited, hitch a ride on a helicopter, go fishing, diving, surfing or engage in other water sports, and at night, you can revel in the hustle and bustle of bars and discos or even challenge Lady Luck in a casino on the Dutch side.
DATA AND FACTS:
St. Martin is an island in the Caribbean, divided between France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands and shared by two independent governments.
Area: 87 km²
Climate: tropical, average air temperature 27° C, average water temperature 27° C
Population: around 30,000
Capital: Marigot (FR), Philipsburg (NL)
Official language: French (FR, Dutch and English (NL)
Currency: Euro (FR), Netherlands Antillean guilder (NL)
Local Time: Saturday 24th of June 2017 - 10:00:54 AM
Country code: 1 264