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Saint Martin vs. Sint Maarten

Introduction

Saint MartinSint Maarten
BackgroundAlthough sighted by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and claimed for Spain, it was the Dutch who occupied the island in 1631 and set about exploiting its salt deposits. The Spanish retook the island in 1633, but continued to be harassed by the Dutch. The Spanish finally relinquished Saint Martin to the French and Dutch, who divided it between themselves in 1648. Friction between the two sides caused the border to frequently fluctuate over the next two centuries, with the French eventually holding the greater portion of the island (about 57%). The cultivation of sugar cane introduced African slavery to the island in the late 18th century; the practice was not abolished until 1848. The island became a free port in 1939; the tourism industry was dramatically expanded during the 1970s and 1980s. In 2003, the populace of Saint Martin voted to secede from Guadeloupe and in 2007, the northern portion of the island became a French overseas collectivity. In 2010, the southern Dutch portion of the island became the independent nation of Sint Maarten within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Although sighted by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and claimed for Spain, it was the Dutch who occupied the island in 1631 and began exploiting its salt deposits. The Spanish retook the island in 1633, but continued to be harassed by the Dutch. The Spanish finally relinquished the island of Saint Martin to the French and Dutch, who divided it amongst themselves in 1648. The establishment of cotton, tobacco, and sugar plantations dramatically expanded African slavery on the island in the 18th and 19th centuries; the practice was not abolished in the Dutch half until 1863. The island's economy declined until 1939 when it became a free port; the tourism industry was dramatically expanded beginning in the 1950s. In 1954, Sint Maarten and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the Netherlands Antilles. In a 2000 referendum, the citizens of Sint Maarten voted to become a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The change in status became effective in October of 2010 with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles.

Geography

Saint MartinSint Maarten
LocationCaribbean, located in the Leeward Islands (northern) group; French part of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea; Saint Martin lies east of the US Virgin Islands
Caribbean, located in the Leeward Islands (northern) group; Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea; Sint Maarten lies east of the US Virgin Islands
Geographic coordinates18 05 N, 63 57 W
18 4 N, 63 4 W
Map referencesCentral America and the Caribbean
Central America and the Caribbean
Areatotal: 54.4 sq km
land: 54.4 sq km
water: NEGL
total: 34 sq km
land: 34 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin
Area - comparativemore than one-third the size of Washington, DC
one-fifth the size of Washington, DC
Land boundariestotal: 16 km
border countries (1): Sint Maarten 16 km
total: 16 km
border countries (1): Saint Martin (France) 16 km
Coastline58.9 km (for entire island)
58.9 km (for entire island)
Climatetemperature averages 27-29 degrees Celsius all year long; low humidity, gentle trade winds, brief, intense rain showers; hurricane season stretches from July to November
tropical marine climate, ameliorated by northeast trade winds, results in moderate temperatures; average rainfall of 150 cm/year; hurricane season stretches from July to November
Elevation extremesmean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pic du Paradis 424 m
mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Flagstaff 386 m
Natural resourcessalt
fish, salt
Natural hazardssubject to hurricanes from July to November
subject to hurricanes from July to November
Environment - current issuesfreshwater supply is dependent on desalination of sea water
NA
Geography - notethe island of Saint Martin is the smallest landmass in the world shared by two independent states, the French territory of Saint Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten
the northern border is shared with the French overseas collectivity of Saint Martin; together, these two entities make up the smallest landmass in the world shared by two self-governing states
Population distributionmost of the population is found along the coast, with a largest concentrations around Marigot, Orleans, and Grand-Case
most populous areas are Lower Prince's Quarter (north of Philipsburg), followed closely by Cul de Sac

Demographics

Saint MartinSint Maarten
Population31,949 (July 2016 est.)
41,486 (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 26.38% (male 4,197/female 4,232)
15-24 years: 10.43% (male 1,656/female 1,676)
25-54 years: 46.87% (male 7,139/female 7,836)
55-64 years: 8.67% (male 1,287/female 1,483)
65 years and over: 7.65% (male 1,085/female 1,358) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 18.45% (male 4,000/female 3,655)
15-24 years: 15.26% (male 3,127/female 3,204)
25-54 years: 42.6% (male 8,628/female 9,045)
55-64 years: 15.37% (male 3,057/female 3,319)
65 years and over: 8.32% (male 1,667/female 1,784) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 32.3 years
male: 31.3 years
female: 33.2 years (2016 est.)
total: 40.7 years
male: 39.8 years
female: 41.7 years (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Protestant, Hindu
Protestant 41.9% (Pentecostal 14.7%, Methodist 10.0%, Seventh Day Adventist 6.6%, Baptist 4.7%, Anglican 3.1%, other Protestant 2.8%), Roman Catholic 33.1%, Hindu 5.2%, Christian 4.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, Evangelical 1.4%, Muslim/Jewish 1.1%, other 1.3% (includes Buddhist, Sikh, Rastafarian), none 7.9%, no response 2.4% (2011 est.)
LanguagesFrench (official), English, Dutch, French Patois, Spanish, Papiamento (dialect of Netherlands Antilles)
English (official) 67.5%, Spanish 12.9%, Creole 8.2%, Dutch (official) 4.2%, Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 2.2%, French 1.5%, other 3.5% (2001 census)
Major infectious diseasesnote: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)

Government

Saint MartinSint Maarten
Country nameconventional long form: Overseas Collectivity of Saint Martin
conventional short form: Saint Martin
local long form: Collectivite d'outre mer de Saint-Martin
local short form: Saint-Martin
etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Sint Maarten
local long form: Land Sint Maarten (Dutch); Country of Sint Maarten (English)
local short form: Sint Maarten (Dutch and English)
former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies
etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day
Dependency statusoverseas collectivity of France
note: the only French overseas collectivity that is part of the EU
constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 2010; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Capitalname: Marigot
geographical coordinates: 18 04 N, 63 05 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Philipsburg
geographic coordinates: 18 1 N, 63 2 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Independencenone (overseas collectivity of France)
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
National holidayFete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - local holiday is Schoalcher Day (Slavery Abolition Day) 12 July (1848)
King's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967); note - King's or Queen's Day are observed on the ruling monarch's birthday; celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday
Constitution4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
Staatsregeling, 10 October 2010; revised Kingdom Charter pending previous 1947, 1955; latest adopted 21 July 2010, entered into force 10 October 2010 (regulates governance of Sint Maarten but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - in October 2010, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Sint Maarten became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Legal systemFrench civil law
based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
Suffrage18 years of age, universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017); represented by Prefect Anne LAUBIES (since 8 June 2015)
head of government: President of Territorial Council Daniel GIBBS (since 2 April 2017)
cabinet: Executive Council; note - there is also an advisory economic, social, and cultural council
elections/appointments: French president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); prefect appointed by French president on the advice of French Ministry of Interior; president of Territorial Council elected by its members for a 5-year term; election last held on 17 April 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Aline HANSON elected president by the Territorial Council
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980); represented by Governor General Eugene HOLIDAY (since 10 October 2010)
head of government: Prime Minister William MARLIN (since 19 November 2015)
cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the governor-general
elections/appointments: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch for a 6-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually elected prime minister by the legislature
Legislative branchdescription: unicameral Territorial Council (23 seats; members directly elected by absolute majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
note: Saint Martin elects 1 member to the French Senate; election last held on 28 September 2014 (next to be held not later than September 2017); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1; one seat (shared with Saint Barthelemy) was elected to the French National Assembly on 17 June 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1
elections: last held on 18 and 25 March 2012 (next to be held in March 2022)
election results: percent of seats by party - Team Daniel Gibbs 2017 49%, MJP 13.7%, MVP 12.3%, HOPE 8.7%, Continuons pour Saint-Martin 6.4%, other 9.9%; seats by party - NA; second round, percent of seats by party - Team Daniel Gibbs 2017 64.3%, MJP 24.1%, MVP 22.5%; seats by party - Team Daniel Gibbs 2017 18, MJP 4, MVP 1
description: unicameral Estates of Sint Maarten or Staten (15 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held 26 September 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
election results: percent of vote by party - UPP 28.5%, National Alliance 26.1%, US Party 19.3%, Democratic Party 12.5%; seats by party - National Alliance 5, UPP 5, US Party 3, Democratic Party 2
Political parties and leadersContinuons pour St. Martin
En marche vers le progres or MVP [Alain RICHARDSON]
Gereration Hope or HOPE [Jules CHARVILLE]
Movement for Justice and Prosperity or MJP [Louis MUSSINGTON]
Rally Responsibility Success (Rassemblement Responsabilite Reussite or RRR [Alain RICHARDSON]
Team Daniel Gibbs 2017 or TDG [Daniel GIBBS]
Union for Progress (Union Pour le Progres or UPP) [Louis-Constant FLEMING]; affiliated with UMP
Concordia Political Alliance or CPA [Jeffery RICHARDSON]
Democratic Party or DP [Sarah WESCOTT-WILLIAMS]
National Alliance or NA [William MARLIN]
United People's Party or UPP [Theodore HEYLIGER]
United Sint Maarten Party or US Party [Frans RICHARDSON]
Diplomatic representation in the USnone (overseas collectivity of France)
none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Diplomatic representation from the USnone (overseas collectivity of France)
the US does not have an embassy in Sint Maarten; the Consul General to Curacao is accredited to Sint Maarten
Flag descriptionthe flag of France is used
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and blue with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; the center of the triangle displays the Sint Maarten coat of arms; the arms consist of an orange-bordered blue shield prominently displaying the white court house in Philipsburg, as well as a bouquet of yellow sage (the national flower) in the upper left, and the silhouette of a Dutch-French friendship monument in the upper right; the shield is surmounted by a yellow rising sun in front of which is a brown pelican in flight; a yellow scroll below the shield bears the motto: SEMPER PROGREDIENS (Always Progressing); the three main colors are identical to those on the Dutch flag
note: the flag somewhat resembles that of the Philippines, but with the main red and blue bands reversed; the banner more closely evokes the wartime Philippine flag
National anthem"name: ""O Sweet Saint Martin's Land""
lyrics/music: Gerard KEMPS
note: the song, written in 1958, is used as an unofficial anthem for the entire island (both French and Dutch sides); as a collectivity of France, in addition to the local anthem, ""La Marseillaise"" remains official on the French side (see France); as a constituent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in addition to the local anthem, ""Het Wilhelmus"" remains official on the Dutch side (see Netherlands)
"
"name: ""O Sweet Saint Martin's Land""
lyrics/music: Gerard KEMPS
note: the song, written in 1958, is used as an unofficial anthem for the entire island (both French and Dutch sides); as a collectivity of France, in addition to the local anthem, ""La Marseillaise"" is official on the French side (see France); as a constituent part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in addition to the local anthem, ""Het Wilhelmus"" is official on the Dutch side (see Netherlands)
"
National symbol(s)brown pelican
brown pelican, yellow sage (flower); national colors: red, white, blue
Citizenshipsee France
see the Netherlands

Economy

Saint MartinSint Maarten
Economy - overviewThe economy of Saint Martin centers on tourism with 85% of the labor force engaged in this sector. Over one million visitors come to the island each year with most arriving through the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten. The financial sector is also important to Saint Martin’s economy as it facilitates financial mediation for its thriving tourism sector. No significant agriculture and limited local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported, primarily from Mexico and the US. Saint Martin is reported to have one of the highest per capita income in the Caribbean. As with the rest of the Caribbean, Saint Martin’s financial sector is having to deal with losing correspondent banking relationships.
The economy of Sint Maarten centers around tourism with nearly four-fifths of the labor force engaged in this sector. Nearly 1.8 million visitors came to the island by cruise ship and roughly 500,000 visitors arrived through Princess Juliana International Airport in 2013. Cruise ships and yachts also call on Sint Maarten's numerous ports and harbors. Limited agriculture and local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported. Sint Maarten had the highest per capita income among the five islands that formerly comprised the Netherlands Antilles.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$561.5 million (2005 est.)
$365.8 million (2014 est.)
$353.5 million (2013 est.)
$339.6 million (2012 est.)
note: datar are in 2014 US dollars
GDP - per capita (PPP)$19,300 (2005 est.)
$66,800 (2014 est.)
$65,500 (2013 est.)
$63,900 (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 1%
industry: 15%
services: 84% (2000)
agriculture: 0.4%
industry: 18.3%
services: 81.3% (2008 est.)
Labor force17,300 (2008 est.)
23,200 (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation85% directly or indirectly employed in tourist industry
agriculture: 1.1%
industry: 15.2%
services: 83.7% (2008 est.)
Industriestourism, light industry and manufacturing, heavy industry
tourism, light industry
Exchange rateseuros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.885 (2015 est.)
0.7489 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.7752 (2012 est.)
Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -
1.79 (2014 est.)
1.79 (2013)
1.79 (2012)
1.79 (2011)
GDP (official exchange rate)$561.5 million (2005 est.)
$304.1 billion (2014 est.)

Telecommunications

Saint MartinSint Maarten
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: fully integrated access
domestic: direct dial capability with both fixed and wireless systems
international: country code - 590; undersea fiber-optic cable provides voice and data connectivity to Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe (2009)
general assessment: generally adequate facilities
domestic: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
international: country code - 1-721; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the Americas-2 submarine cable systems provide connectivity to Central America, parts of South America and the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
Internet country code.mf; note - .gp, the Internet country code for Guadeloupe, and .fr, the Internet country code for France, might also be encountered
.sx; note - IANA has designated .sx for Sint Maarten, but has not yet assigned it to a sponsoring organization

Transportation

Saint MartinSint Maarten
Airports1 (2013)
1 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)

Military

Saint MartinSint Maarten
Military - notedefense is the responsibility of France
defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Source: CIA Factbook