Facts About Saint Martin (Location, Size, Ownership, Language, and History)

Saint Martin, probably the southern Caribbean’s quirkiest island, is twice packed with all the best things you can ask for a Caribbean experience. Think two, for the price of one. Two birds with one stone. This island will certainly give eager travelers that proverbial cultural hangover.
Facts About Saint Martin
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Divided by the French to the north, and the Dutch to the south, the island of Saint Martin’s political, and bicultural setup in itself is probably one of its best draws. French Saint-Martin boasts its laissez-faire approach to the Caribbean experience, packed with a rich, and colorful history, not to mention all the beaches, combined with the Dutch Sint Maarten to the south.

Where Is Saint Martin Located?

Saint Martin lies at the northern side of the Lesser Antilles, sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Caribbean to the west. The island is situated in the northeastern Caribbean, neighboring other Caribbean jewels like St. Barts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and Anguilla to the north.

The island is divided into two separate administrations controlled by European countries. Saint Martin, which makes about a third of the island’s northern part, is French, Sint Maarten, the southern third is controlled by the Netherlands. This is one of the many things that make the island unique, which makes gives everyone more reasons to visit this small island.

How Big Is Saint Martin?

The total landmass of this Caribbean jewel is approximately 87 sq km, or 34 sq miles, its dimensions are big enough for curious travelers and beach bums to conquer this postcard beauty. Separately, however, Saint-Martin, the French collectivity is roughly 53 sq. km, or 29 sq. mi, while Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is 34 sq. km, or 13 sq. mi.

This situation is the only land border shared by the French Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as opposed in the continental mainland. Despite their seeming separation, there are interconnecting highways and main roads that run through and around Saint Martin and Sint Maarten, making navigation across the island easier.

How Many Square Miles Is Saint Martin?

The island has a total of 34 square miles, which includes both of the separately controlled sides. Separately, the French northern side, has a land area of 29 square miles, while the southern Dutch constituent country has a territory of 13 square miles.

What Is the Population of Saint Martin?

As of the latest data gathered by the UN, Saint Martin has an estimated population of 39,234, which has a 1.75% growth from the 2020s 38,666. Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of the island, has a bigger population with over 43,412 based on the latest 2021 data and estimation of the UN, which has seen a growth rate of 1.24% from the 42,876 of 2020. These estimates bring the island’s population to a total of 82,646.

Are There States in Saint Martin?

The island of Saint Martin is in itself an island with two separate states, controlled, or partially controlled by two former European powers. The northern reach of the island is a French collectivity, one of the few islands and territories controlled by France in the Caribbean, and thus has its own local government and policies. While the southern end is a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands and thus has its own set of laws, and a government with a degree of autonomy from the Dutch central government.

While these separations may seem like they’re separate states, French Saint Martin is a part of the French Republic and functions the same as the many departments in metropolitan France. Sint Maarten is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and has a certain degree of autonomy like domestic policies and trade.

What Is the Capital City of Saint Martin?

The charming, seaside city of Marigot is Saint Martin’s capital, located at the eastern coasts of the French side. Even after the destruction brought about by Irma in 2017, however, the town was able to restore and save its charm despite the tragedy. Now, dominated by colorful buildings, some of which are historical, complete with brightly colored roofs, wrought-iron balconies, and belle-epoque lampposts.

With the island’s persistent tourism throughout the years, Marigot offers a ton of things to do and to experience for the eager adventurer. Culture buffs will surely love the city’s diverse culture, thanks to centuries worth of mixed history with heavy French undertones. Foodies can enjoy the many restaurants that serve authentic Caribbean cuisine, and French boulangeries that line the city that can surely satisfy your diverse palate.

What Country Owns Saint Martin?

Saint Martin isn’t owned, per se, but rather controlled. The French collectivity is an overseas territory of the French Republic, in every sense of the word, Saint Martin is part of France and is controlled by the French. Saint Martin, along with Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Saint Barthelemy, is France’s department in the Caribbean.

Historically, since Saint Martin’s conception after Christopher found the island on the feast of St. Martin of Tours, Saint Martin, especially the northern French side, has had colonial, historical, and now political, cultural, and economic ties with France. The collectivity used to be fully occupied by the Dutch, however, upon the end of the Eighty Years’ War, the French began settling in and ended up dividing the island without the use of war, via the Treaty of Concordia.

Saint Martin was used to housing plantations of sugar, tobacco, and cotton, and eventually imported and used slaves from Africa, which was later abolished in 1848. In the 20th century, Saint Martin was controlled by Guadeloupe as an arrondissement, along with Saint Barthelemy, which has established the island’s tourism. In 2007, Saint Martin detached from Guadeloupe and became a territorial collectivity.

What Is the Nationality of Saint Martin?

Being a French collectivity, one of France’s many overseas, or outer territories, citizens of Saint Martin are considered French. Despite being outside the metropolitan area of France, Saint Martinois enjoy the same right, and privileges of mainland French citizens, and are also considered part of European Union.

Is Saint Martin an Independent Country?

Saint Martin is an overseas collectivity of France, which means it isn’t an independent country, but rather an overseas territory of France. Despite its distance from the mainland, Saint Martin is governed by a territorial council, the council’s president, and an appointed Prefect, all under the Chief of State or the President of France.

Who Controls Saint Martin?

The French collectivity is an overseas territory of the French Republic, in every sense of the word, Saint Martin is part of France and is controlled by the French. Saint Martin, along with Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Saint Barthelemy, is France’s departments in the Caribbean. Saint Martin is governed by a territorial council, the council’s president, and an appointed Prefect, all under the Chief of State or the President of France.

What Type of Government Does Saint Martin Have?

After becoming a collectivity in 2007, separated from Guadeloupe, currently has a parliamentary democracy headed by a territorial council. Despite being a part of France, Saint Martin has broad authority over its internal affairs such as fiscal and legislative functions.

The president of France is the head of state, represented by an appointed prefect. Saint-Martin also sends a representative and a senator to the French Parliament. The government is headed by the president of the unicameral legislature, a 23-member Territorial Council. This council is voted into office every five years by the people of Saint Martin.

The executive branch consists of a seven-member Executive Council elected by the Territorial Council. Members of the legislative and executive branches serve five-year terms. There is also an Economic, Social, and Cultural Council that is consulted on fiscal and developmental matters as well as social and cultural projects.

Does Saint Martin Have a Flag?

Being a collectivity of France, Saint Martin uses the French flag, also known as the tricolor Flag. The Drapeau Tricolore was hoisted and used as the official flag of the French Republic after the July Revolution of 1830. All of the French-controlled territories were gradually becoming part of the republic and has consequently hoisted the flag. The French tricolor flag or the Drapeau Tricolore consists of three equal vertical bands of the colors blue, white, and red, alluding to three core French values, freedom, equality, and brotherhood.

Just like any French overseas territory, Saint Martin also has unofficial flags often used on certain events, like regional sports games, or for the purpose of tourism promotion. The first is the flag of the Collectivity of Saint Martin, which depicts a green and blue ribbon, with the words “Saint-Martin”, all in the center of a white field. The second one depicts a small red upside-down triangle in the center with a yellow semi-circle on top of it, all laying in a blue field.

Is Saint Martin Part of France?

The French collectivity is an overseas territory of the French Republic, in every sense of the word, Saint Martin is part of France and is controlled by the French. Saint Martin, along with Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Saint Barthelemy, is France’s departments in the Caribbean. Saint Martin is governed by a territorial council, the council’s president, and an appointed Prefect, all under the Chief of State or the President of France.

Is Saint Martin a Department of France?

Saint Martin is an overseas collectivity of France, which means that, while it is dependent on France, it isn’t fully controlled by it. Overseas collectivities or COM (collectivité d’outre-mer) resemble French regions by their governments. They have a semi-autonomous status, in which they have control of their fiscal and legislative matters without the sways of the central French government.

Is Saint Martin Part of Europe?

Saint Martin is an insular territory part of France and is thus outside mainland Europe. Only France and its metropolitan departments are part of Europe, geographically. Other overseas regions and territories, like Saint Barthelemy, French Polynesia, Saint Pierre, and Miquelon, Wallies and Futuna, New Caledonia, and the overseas departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe, Mayotte, French Reunion, and French Guiana are all parts of France to varying degrees, depending on their status but are not part of Europe.

Is Saint Martin in the EU?

As an official part of France, Saint Martin and all other overseas territories of the republic belong to are by association, considered to be inside the European Union, despite their insular locations. Being in the EU addresses these islands to the use of the Euro as their official currency. However, the US dollar is also accepted here due to the island’s large USD-using tourist demographic.

This gives EU citizens an advantage if ever they’ll decide to book a trip to Saint Martin, on a whim. EU citizens traveling to any of France’s overseas territories and regions can easily enter the island without a visa, just a passport, and a national ID. Should they decide, EU citizens can stay in Saint Martin, indefinitely.

Can EU Citizens Live in Saint Martin?

Due to lenient foreign laws and virtually non-existent borders within the European Union, EU citizens can easily enter and stay in Saint Martin, indefinitely. This allows anyone from EU member states to live their dream Caribbean life in this small yet jampacked island. EU citizens and citizens of Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marina, and Switzerland are also allowed to stay in Saint Martin for an unlimited period.

Is Saint Martin Part of the US?

Saint Martin is not in any association with the US, apart from diplomatic, and economic relations. US Americans are one of the largest tourist demographics in Saint Martin and have been the biggest users of the US dollar. US citizens can enter and stay at Saint Martin without a visa for a maximum of 90 days. All they need is a passport and a return or onward ticket.

Apart from tourism, the US is also one of the Collectivity’s biggest trading partners. The US is one of the biggest countries to have ever established ties in the Caribbean region that sometimes may seem like the superpower influences the region.

Is Saint Martin a US Territory?

Saint Martin is a territory of France, not the US. As one of France’s overseas territories and regions, Saint Martin is French to the skin. However, with a large constant influx of US American tourists each year, the US is a constant presence on the island, especially with the tourism industry’s wide acceptance of the US dollars.

Can a US Citizen Move to Saint Martin?

A US citizen easily moves to Saint Martin, however, they can only stay for a maximum of 90 days, and when it goes beyond that, they need to apply for a long-stay visa which grants temporary residence, different nationalities, not just for US citizens.

Is Saint Martin Part of the Virgin Islands?

The Virgin Islands are groups of islands straddling across the northeastern Caribbean Sea, along with the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. These islands are controlled by different political jurisdictions of three different countries, the UK controls the British Virgin Islands, the US controls the US Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico controls the Spanish Virgin Islands.

The French doesn’t have any control, influence, or claim to any of the Virgin Islands northwest of Saint Martin. The French Republic only controls Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy, Guadeloupe, and Martinique in the same region.

Is Saint Martin Part of the US Virgin Islands?

Despite their proximity, Saint Martin isn’t a part of the US Virgin Islands. Saint Martin is a part of France which is in itself a separate association from the US Virgin Islands, and the US, which the island group is a part of.

Is Saint Martin a British Virgin Island?

Despite their proximity, Saint Martin isn’t a part of the British Virgin Islands. Saint Martin is a part of France, a separate state from France. The United Kingdom of Great Britain holds control or a certain degree of which in the British Virgin Islands.

Is Saint Martin in the Bahamas?

The Bahamas is a chain of islands located further north of Saint Martin and isn’t related in any way shape or form. The Bahamas is an independent country consisting of a group of islands that is tied closely together, whereas Saint Martin is an overseas territory of France, completely separate both politically and geographically from The Bahamas.

Are There Two Saint Martins?

Saint Martin is the name of the island that houses two different divisions, ruled by two different countries. Saint-Martin lies at the northern reach of the island of the same name, a territory of France, and is in every way, French. Sint Maarten, Saint Martin translated into Dutch, occupies the smaller southern half of the island, and is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, hence, the “Dutchifying” of the same name.

What Language Do They Speak in Saint Martin?

Saint Martin, or the French-controlled north, speaks French, and is the official language, as a territory of France. French creole is also spoken in Saint Martin like most parts of the French Caribbean, mostly used by the creole population on the island. However, France remains to be the lingua franca.

Saint Martin has also seen a growing use of the English language, thanks to large anglophone tourists that visit the Collectivity every year. English is also important in diplomacy, and foreign trade, especially with the Dutch side of Sint Maarten considering English to be an official language.

Do People Speak French in Saint Martin?

As an overseas territory of France, Saint Martin speaks French, as the official language and lingua franca of the local population, despite the presence of the Collectivity’s version of French creole.

How Many People Speak French in Saint Martin?

Saint Martin has an estimated population of 39,234 in the latest data from the UN, however, an estimate of actual French speakers in Saint Martin is yet to be determined. It is expected that most of the people in this number speak French at a native level, however, due to immigration, that line blurs. One thing that’s clear is that while English is recognized and often used in Saint Martin, the French language still holds the dominant ground with the greatest number of speakers, and is widely taught and used.

Why Do They Speak French in Saint Martin?

From a historical point of view, shortly after the Spanish occupation, the island of Saint Martin became an interest for France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. After years of conflict and gaining control of the island between the Spanish and the Dutch but was stomped during the Eighty Years’ War. The island then lost its economic value to Spain, to the joy of the Dutch began occupying the island.

The French came in and began settling. However, this one did not result in conflict and war, but rather a treaty that divided the island into two parts. Via the Treaty of Concordia, the French occupied the northern side which would later become present-day Saint Martin. After centuries of French rule, the island came to use French officially.

Is English Spoken in Saint Martin?

English is spoken in Saint Martin, mainly by the tourism industry to cater to a more international market. Anglophone countries and others who made English their official second language are often the largest tourist demographic on the island, thus the need for the use of the language.

English is also the language of business and diplomacy and is thus encouraged to be taught and used by several if not all countries in the world. Saint Martin has seen a growing use of English to better communicate with others, and increase the island’s competency.

Who Discovered Saint Martin?

The island of Saint Martin was first discovered by the famous explorer Christopher Columbus. The famous Italian explorer sighted the island on the feast day of the saint of the same name, Saint Martin de Tours on November 11, 1493.

When Did Christopher Columbus Discover Saint Martin?

Christopher Columbus first sighted the island on November 11, 1493, on the feast day of the saint of the same name, Saint Martin de Tours. This was during his voyage that was commissioned by the Spanish Empire before the conquest of the new world.

Who Colonized Saint Martin?

The island of Saint Martin, after its discovery by Christopher Columbus, was colonized initially by the Spaniards. The colonizing Spaniards conquered the Caribs who, first decimated the original Arawak people on the island. But as the Spaniards began establishing their settlements around the Caribbean, other colonial powers are also making their stand, which then led to numerous armed conflicts.

This led to the Dutch settling into the island for its salt ponds, which led to a continuous war with the Spanish. After the Eighty Years’ War, the Spanish eventually saw no economic value to the island and left it, which was then occupied by the Dutch.

The French later began settling on the island and established plantations. The continuous development of the Dutch and French on the island has developed it into a flourishing outpost. However, this didn’t end in conflict, but rather an agreement to divide the island between their two territories.

You can say that the island is colonized by two former colonial powers, the southern side was controlled by the Dutch, which eventually became a constituent country called Sint Maarten. The north was controlled by the French, and became a collectivity of France, and became Saint Martin we know today,

Did British Own Saint Martin?

For a time, the British, due to the Anglo-Dutch war, have occupied and controlled the island for a time, taking it from the Dutch. The British also dislodged the occupying French during the French Revolutionary Wars. When a truce in Europe was made, the British gave the island back to the Dutch, only to retake it against the French during the Napoleonic Wars.

Is Saint Martin Still British?

The island may have been occupied by the British for certain periods, they never made a significant cultural impact on the island for it to be “anglicized’. The island is Dutch-French and would likely remain that way indefinitely. French Saint Martin, shows no sign of separation, as is with the Dutch Sint Maarten.

Who Is the Island of Saint Martin Named After?

The island was named after Saint Martin de Tours by Christopher Columbus who first discovered the island for Spain. He first sighted the island on the feast day of the saint on November 11, 1493.

Who Named Saint Martin?

The island of Saint Martin was first discovered by the famous explorer Christopher Columbus. The famous Italian explorer sighted the island on the feast day of the saint of the same name, Saint Martin de Tours on November 11, 1493.

When Was Slavery Abolished in Saint Martin?

Slavery was abolished in French Saint Martin on May 28th of 1848, while Dutch Sint Maarten didn’t emancipate their slaves until July 1, 1863. Both the Dutch and French imported African slaves to work in plantations cultivating cotton, tobacco, and sugar, which further developed the island.

Due to the work needed to be done, the territories keep importing African slaves until the slave population grew larger than that of the landowners. Slaves began staging rebellions against cruel treatment, and poor living conditions. In 1848, the French abolished slavery in their colonies across the world, including French Saint Martin.

Slaves on the Dutch side, however, also protested and threatened to flee to the French side for asylum. The local Dutch authorities decided to emancipate the colonies’ slaves without a decree from the Dutch central power. However, the emancipation was respected locally, it was not until 1863 when the Dutch officially abolished slavery in all of their island colonies.

When Did Saint Martin Gain Independence?

Saint Martin never gained independence from its ruling power: the French. However, it changed status, from a colony to a commune of another territory, Guadeloupe, and now a collectivity. Basically, you can say, Saint Martin may not be fully independent but in some way, it was absorbed into the greater French Republic that spans across the 4 continents.

Apart from the tug-of-war of occupations, skirmishes, and race for conquest, Saint Martin has seen its fair share of settlements, occupation by the British, retaking of the Dutch, then the French, and finally, the partition of Saint Martin and Sint Maarten. While there are no plans, or movements calling for separation, Saint Martin will remain to be one of France’s little charming jewels in the Caribbean. After all, the French do love the sun.

Who Did Saint Martin Gain Independence From?

Saint Martin separated from the department of Guadeloupe, another territory of France, in 2007 and became an overseas collectivity. Saint Martin used to be a commune controlled via Guadeloupe, which happens to be an archipelago that also took Martinique under its rule. While Saint Martin may have become a separate body from Guadeloupe as a collectivity it is still under and within the French republic, with a certain degree of internal autonomy.

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