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St Maarten Country Guide

Location

Eastern Caribbean, Windward Islands.

Time

GMT - 4.

Area

34 sq km (16 sq miles).

Population

41,000 (2008).

Population Density

1206 per sq km.

Capital

Philipsburg.

Geography

Politically, St Maarten is one of three Windward Islands in the Netherlands Antilles, although geographically it is allotment of the Leeward Accumulation of the Lesser Antilles, and not carefully an island – it occupies aloof one-third of an island contrarily beneath French ascendancy (the French breadth is alleged St Martin), lying 8km (5 miles) south of Anguilla, 232km (144 miles) east of Puerto Rico and 56km (35 miles) due arctic of St Eustatius. St Maarten is the southern sector, an breadth of abounding mountains ascent from white albino beaches. To the west, the mountains accord way to lagoons and alkali flats.

The Netherlands Antilles abide of Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten. The basic of the island accumulation is Willemstad, Curaçao.

For advice on the French breadth (St Martin), see the Guadeloupe section.

Government

Part of the Netherlands Antilles; annex of The Netherlands back 1630.

Head of State

Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, represented locally by Governor General Frits Goedgedrag.

Head of Government

Prime Minister Emily de Jongh-Elhage back 2006.

History

Occupied back antiquity by Carib Indians, St Maarten was sighted by Christopher Columbus on St Maarten's day in 1493. However, the aboriginal European settlers were French and Dutch who, in 1648, abstracted the island. The island has remained beneath bifold ascendancy anytime since, the Dutch breadth accomplishing fractional ability from the Netherlands in 1954 with the enactment of the Netherlands Antilles.

Recent years accept apparent the island adversity from austere baptize shortages, and some blow damage.

Language

Dutch is the official language. Papiamento (a admixture of African, Dutch, English, Portuguese and Spanish) is the frequently acclimated lingua franca. English and Spanish are additionally broadly spoken.

Religion

Protestant, with Roman Catholic and Jewish minorities.

Electricity

110/220 volts AC, 60Hz.

Social Conventions

Dutch community are still important throughout the Netherlands Antilles, but tourism has brought accretion US influences and St Maarten is conceivably added adjustable than the southern islands. Dress is accidental and failing cottons are advised, but it is accepted to dress up in the evening.

 

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