(overseas collectivity of France)

Introduction ::Saint Martin

    Although 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.

Geography ::Saint Martin

People and Society ::Saint Martin

    Creole (mulatto), black, Guadeloupe Mestizo (French-East Asia), white, East Indian
    French (official), English, Dutch, French Patois, Spanish, Papiamento (dialect of Netherlands Antilles)
    Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witnesses, Protestant, Hindu
    31,264 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 216
    0-14 years: 26.7% (male 4,157/female 4,196)
    15-24 years: 11% (male 1,768/female 1,681)
    25-54 years: 47.3% (male 6,972/female 7,822)
    55-64 years: 8.3% (male 1,217/female 1,379)
    65 years and over: 6.6% (male 928/female 1,144) (2013 est.)
    total: 31.5 years
    male: 30.5 years
    female: 32.4 years (2013 est.)
    at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2013 est.)

Government ::Saint Martin

    conventional 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
    overseas collectivity of France
    name: Marigot
    geographical coordinates: 18 04 N, 63 05 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    none (overseas collectivity of France)
    Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1789); note - local holiday is Schoalcher Day (Slavery Abolition Day) 12 July (1848)
    4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
    French civil law
    18 years of age, universal
    chief of state: President Francois HOLLANDE (since 15 May 2012), represented by Deputy Prefect Philippe CHOPIN (since 16 November 2011)
    head of government: President of the Territorial Council Aline HANSON (since 17 April 2013)
    cabinet: Executive Council; note - there is also an advisory economic, social, and cultural council
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    election: French president elected by popular vote to a five-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the Territorial Council elected by the members of the Council for a five-year term
    election results: Aline HANSON elected president by the Territorial Council on 17 April 2013 (next to be held in 2018); note - Alaine RICHARDSON was removed from the post
    unicameral Territorial Council (23 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
    elections: last held on 18 and 25 March 2012 (next to be held in July 2017)
    election results: percent of seats by party - RRR 34.1%, Team Daniel Gibbs 2012 32%, UPP 13.3%, Saint-Martin pour tous 9.4%, other 11.2%; seats by party - NA; second round, percent of seats by party - RRR 56.9%, Team Daniel Gibbs 43.1%; seats by party - RRR 17, Team Daniel Gibbs 6
    note: Saint Martin elects one member to the French Senate; election last held on 21 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2014); 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
    Union Pour le Progres or UPP [Louis-Constant FLEMING]
    Rassemblement Responsabilite Reussite or RRR [Alain RICHARDSON]
    Reussir Saint-Martin [Jean-Luc HAMLET]
    Saint-Martin pour tous
    Team Daniel Gibbs
    none (overseas collectivity of France)
    none (overseas collectivity of France)
    the flag of France is used
    brown pelican
    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)

Economy ::Saint Martin

Communications ::Saint Martin

    general 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)
    1 local TV station; access to about 20 radio stations, including RFO Guadeloupe radio broadcasts via repeater (2008)
    .mf; note - .gp, the Internet country code for Guadeloupe, and .fr, the Internet country code for France, might also be encountered

Transportation ::Saint Martin

Military ::Saint Martin