an Island Divided

by Female Abroad

The smallest island in the world that is shared by two nations is Saint Martin/Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. Today's Saint Martin is a tranquil tropical island getaway haven. This was not always the case during the course of its protracted and frequently violent past. The Arawak people first settled on the island approximately 800-900 AD, when its history is first recorded. On the island of Sualouiga (salty land), they farmed, manufactured pottery, and lived peacefully until the Caribs arrived. The Caribs preferred warfare over agriculture. They gorged on the men and married off the ladies. It's difficult to fathom how horrible it must feel to be compelled to wed your ex-wife. husband's. The Spanish pronunciation of the Arawak term for Carib gave rise to the word "cannibal." The name "Caribbean" refers to the numerous islands in that area that the Carib people conquered.

The Spanish eventually defeated the Caribs and established forts on numerous islands. Some are still standing today, notably in Puerto Rico. The island was found by Columbus on November 11, 1493. At the time, Saint Martin of Tours, the patron saint of horses and soldiers, observed a holy day on that day. Columbus dubbed the territory Isla de San Martin and claimed it for Spain. Dutch merchants first came to Sint Maarten in the 1620s to harvest salt from the island's natural salt pans. On lengthy trips, sailors in that era utilised salt to preserve food. Salt was a common preservative in those days since people lacked access to contemporary techniques. Farmers from France quickly arrived in Saint Martin and started cultivating tobacco.

The first European settlement on the island was established by the Dutch in 1631 at a small salt-gathering colony on Groot Baai (Great Bay.) The first Dutch military installation in the Caribbean eventually emerged from this. The Dutch were temporarily driven off the island when the Spanish struck in 1633. The fort was taken seized by the Spanish, who expanded it and built a church there. The Spaniards left the island when a protracted conflict between Spain and Holland came to a conclusion in 1648. By that time, the Dutch had returned, and on Mt. Concordia, they signed a treaty dividing the island between them. The Concordia Agreement is now the oldest uncontested treaty that is still in effect.

A guy from each nation was sent to walk the island's perimeter in anticlockwise directions beginning at the same location. The island was split by a line running from where they began to where they met, with the French to the north and the Dutch to the south. 2/3 of the island was ultimately owned by the French. At the time, this treaty did not result in the island experiencing long-term peace. Up until 1816, when the French and Dutch re-established its former borders, it was frequently transferred between the French, Dutch, and English in power battles.

Pirates from the 1600s and later found St. Martin to be a secure sanctuary. The European nations fought each other for control of the island, wasting time and resources in the process. None had remained in place long enough to keep out pirates. At times, the numerous warring states even welcomed pirate raids against their adversaries. In island mythology, there are still tales of hidden pirate riches.

The boundary on Saint Martin/Sint Maarten today is solely delineated by signs and monuments, allowing people to freely cross from one side to the other. However, the two parties utilise separate currencies. Both Sint Maarten and Saint Martin accept US dollars, however Saint Martin uses the Euro and Sint Maarten the Netherlands Antillean guilder. Although the Dutch side has more inhabitants, the French side still has the most land. On both sides, English is a widely used language. Additionally, islanders may speak French, Dutch, or a regional dialect.

The year-round average temperature is between 80 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. That St. Martin has developed into a vacationer's paradise is due to the fantastic temperatures and numerous sunny days, at least the majority of the time. Violence still occasionally occurs on the island, but it does it now in the form of hurricanes. About 45 inches of rain fall there each year, mostly in the late summer and early fall. That and the conclusion of the primary hurricane season most likely account for why the Caribbean cruise ship season often begins in November.

There are several hotels, apartments, and timeshares, and rental cars are the primary mode of transportation for tourists. Princess Juliana International Airport is a significant airport on the Dutch side. Visitors swarm to the neighbouring Maho Beach to take up-close photos of 747s' undersides. They are cautioned not to approach the fence too closely since the jet explosion from leaving planes could knock them down. The largest city on the Dutch side, Phillipsburg, provides visitors with a thriving nightlife, many casinos, and diamond stores. Additionally, it has a crowded cruise ship port. There are ports of call for many different cruise companies, including Holland America.

To transport cruise ship passengers to Phillipsburg's beaches, casinos, and stores, water taxis are waiting nearby. Restaurants that can compete with any in New York City may be found in Marigot, the largest city on the French side. Additionally, there are nudist beaches and designer clothing stores on the French side. If they want to visit Marigot, cruise ship passengers can arrange shore excursions that take them there by bus. A cruise ship's brief stopover on the island is just long enough to whet visitors' appetites for longer stays. Some people enjoy it so much that they visit every year. Both sides have bustling, tourist-friendly shopping areas with duty-free businesses in every location. The French side features a small airport where travellers can hop islands to locations where large aircraft couldn't land. The island also has a tonne more activities to offer, such as horseback riding, zip-lining, sailing, and snorkelling tours. Take a boat excursion, and the crew will point out every vacation home owned by a wealthy or well-known person as you pass.

With its Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten has the largest lagoon in the Caribbean. The lagoon is connected to the sea by two constricting waterways with drawbridges. The lagoon is home to sailboats, a sizable fleet of yachts, and marinas. Along its shores are hotels, condominiums, and timeshares. With enough variety, Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is a fantastic vacation destination with something for everyone. Jets make it simple to travel anywhere in the world. St. Martin has it all, including beautiful sand beaches with warm blue water, unique beverages, shopping, relaxing, and sightseeing. It makes sense why it is one of the Caribbean islands with the highest tourist influx.