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 capital of the French side is Marigot. 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. Infrastructure and utilities
St. Maarten has an excellent seaport and airport, which makes the island very attractive as a hub. Government is presently in the process of a major road enhancement project, which includes the construction of new roads, the re-paving of existing roads, the implementation of roundabouts and traffic lights.
St. Maarten has a modern and up-to-par telecommunication system. 3 companies offer telephone services and cellular phone services. St. Maarten also several Internet providers and a cable TV company that offers over 50 different channels. Electricity and water is produced and distributed at the island by Government controlled companies.
The French side is popularly known for Orient Beach and the adjacent nudist resort. However the towns of Marigot and Grand Case provide some of the best gourmet meals anywhere and plenty of interesting shops.
Beauty abounds on the island, with bluffs overlooking pretty harbors, sandy-cliffed beaches or just tranquil rocky coves where fish provide the beauty.
For more information please visit www.st-maarten.com.
With thanks to Wikitravel.org.