(Sint Maarten, The Friendly Island)
Saint Martin Flag
- Location: Caribbean (West Indies)
- Capital: Philipsburg
- Language(s): English, Dutch
- Total Area: 34 sq km
- Population: 37,684
- Currency: Netherlands Antillean guilder
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Although small in size, you can get the choicest wines in Sint Maarten.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: Not available
- Most Popular Drink(s): Wines, beers
One of the constituents of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, Sint Maarten is located in the West Indies. Straddled between the islands of Saint-Barthélemy and Anguilla, Sint Maarten was once part of the Netherlands Antilles. However, like many of the other Dutch possessions in the Caribbean, Sint Maarten has a self-governing status. Even though Christopher Columbus was credited with the naming of the island, he never stepped his feet on Sint Maarten. There was a period during which Sint Maarten was a major center of slave activity with slaves shipped from Africa working on the sugar and cotton plantations.
Although relatively small, you will simply be blown away when you discover that Sint Maarten is home to about 200 different eateries, pubs and eateries! At any of these places, you can treat yourself to the finest meals from all parts of the Caribbean and even beyond. Traditional French, Spanish and Dutch dishes are yours. All you need to do is to place an order and you are on your way to culinary heaven! Of all the meals that you will come across in Sint Maarten, the unforgettable callalu soup is in a class of its own. Also called the Caribbean Greens, this dish is considered the national dish. A very exotic dish from all description, callalu soup is made from fresh cabbage, spinach, chicken, pork, okra, onions and spices. Named for the capital city, Philipsburg pancakes are also quite popular on the island. They are made from flour, mashed pumpkins, eggs and spices. As if that is not enough, you need to try out the famous crab backs, which are prepared using the freshest crabs, onions and tomatoes.
- A part of Sint Maarten is actually a part of Guadeloupe, which in turn is a dependency of France. That means that today, Sint Maarten is shared by both the Netherlands and France.
- The northern part is administered by France and is called Saint Martin. The southern portion on the other hand, is in Dutch hands and is called Sint Maarten.
- Like many of the other islands in the Caribbean, Sint Maarten was named by Christopher Columbus after a saint.
- Sint Maarten was also once a possession of the Spanish Crown.
- It was formerly referred to as Eilandgebied Sint Maarten or the Island Territory of Sint Maarten.
- Christopher Columbus is also credited with naming the island. He called it Isla de San Martin after a Christian holy man called St. Martin.
- Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is the head of state.
- Although Sint Maarten has a Dutch heritage, it was once controlled by Spain.
- Princess Juliana International Airport is the main gateway for the island, and it is often referred to as SXM.
- There are no rivers on the island.
- The original inhabitants of the island are the Arawak Indians, and they have a very amazing culture.
- The island's airport, the Princess Juliana, is a center for aviation photographers, and they troop there to take amazing pictures of planes incredibly close to the ground.
- To the north of Saint Martin lies Anguilla and both islands are separated by the Anguilla Channel.
- From time to time, the island suffers from hurricanes.
- Alongside Saba and Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten was once part of the Netherlands Antilles (Windward Islands).
- Like Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten is also home to a prestigious school of medicine with students from all parts of the world, especially from the United States.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).