(part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Introduction ::Sint Maarten

    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 the island of Saint Martin to the French and Dutch, who divided it amongst themselves in 1648. The establishment of cotton, tobacco, and sugar plantations dramatically expanded African slavery on the island in the 18th and 19th centuries; the practice was not abolished in the Dutch half until 1863. The island's economy declined until 1939 when it became a free port; the tourism industry was dramatically expanded beginning in the 1950s. In 1954, Sint Maarten and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the Netherlands Antilles. In a 2000 referendum, the citizens of Sint Maarten voted to become a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The change in status became effective in October of 2010 with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles.

Geography ::Sint Maarten

People and Society ::Sint Maarten

    English (official) 67.5%, Spanish 12.9%, Creole 8.2%, Dutch (official) 4.2%, Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 2.2%, French 1.5%, other 3.5% (2001 census)
    Roman Catholic 39%, Protestant 44.8% (Pentecostal 11.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 6.2%, other Protestant 27%), none 6.7%, other 5.4%, Jewish 3.4%, not reported 0.7% (2001 census)
    39,689 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    0-14 years: 19.7% (male 3,986/female 3,704)
    15-24 years: 16.3% (male 3,130/female 3,253)
    25-54 years: 45.3% (male 8,626/female 9,077)
    55-64 years: 12.9% (male 2,448/female 2,596)
    65 years and over: 5.8% (male 1,087/female 1,181) (2013 est.)
    total: 39.7 years
    male: 38.9 years
    female: 40.4 years (2013 est.)
    1.51% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    13 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    4.51 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 200
    6.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 17
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    total: 9.05 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 151
    male: 9.84 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 8.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 77.61 years
    country comparison to the world: 63
    male: 75.34 years
    female: 79.99 years (2013 est.)
    2.09 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113

Government ::Sint Maarten

    Dutch long form: Land Sint Maarten
    Dutch short form: Sint Maarten
    English long form: Country of Sint Maarten
    English short form: Sint Maarten
    former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies
    constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 2010; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
    name: Philipsburg
    geographic coordinates: 18 1 N, 63 2 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    Queen's Day (Birthday of Queen-Mother JULIANA and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX), 30 April (1909 and 1980)
    Staatsregeling, 10 October 2010; revised Kingdom Charter pending
    based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen BEATRIX of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980); represented by Governor General Eugene HOLIDAY (since 10 October 2010)
    head of government: Sarah WESCOTT-WILLIAMS (since 10 October 2010)
    cabinet: Cabinet
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch for a six-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually elected prime minister by the legislature
    unicameral parliament or Staten (15 seats; members elected by popular vote for four-year term)
    elections: last held 17 September 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: percent of vote by party - National Alliance 45.9%, UPP 36.1%, Democratic Party 17.1%, other .9%; seats by party - National Alliance 7, UPP 6, Democratic Party 2
    highest court(s): Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatitus, and Saba or "Joint Court of Justice" (consists of the presiding judge, other members, and their substitutes); final appeals heard by the Supreme Court, in The Hague, Netherlands
    note - prior to 2010, the Joint Court of Justice was the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba
    judge selection and term of office: Joint Court judges appointed by the monarch for life
    subordinate courts: Courts in First Instance
    Democratic Party or DP [Sarah WESCOTT-WILLIAMS]
    National Alliance or NA [William MARLIN]
    United People's Party or UPP [Theodore HEYLIGER]
    Concordia Political Alliance or CPA [Jeffery RICHARDSON]
    none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    the US does not have an embassy in Sint Maarten; the Consul General to Curacao is accredited to Sint Maarten
    two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and blue with a white isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; the center of the triangle displays the Sint Maarten coat of arms; the arms consist of an orange-bordered blue shield prominently displaying the white court house in Philipsburg, as well as a bouquet of yellow sage (the national flower) in the upper left, and the silhouette of a Dutch-French friendship monument in the upper right; the shield is surmounted by a yellow rising sun in front of which is a Brown Pelican in flight; a yellow scroll below the shield bears the motto: SEMPER PROGREDIENS (Always Progressing); the three main colors are identical to those on the Dutch flag
    note: the flag somewhat resembles that of the Philippines, but with the main red and blue bands reversed; the banner more closely evokes the wartime Philippine flag
    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" is 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" is official on the Dutch side (see Netherlands)

Economy ::Sint Maarten

    The economy of Sint Maarten centers around tourism with nearly four-fifths of the labor force engaged in this sector. Nearly two million visitors come to the island each year by cruise ship and roughly 500,000 visitors arrived through Princess Juliana International Airport in 2012. Cruise ships and yachts also call on Sint Maarten's numerous ports and harbors. No significant agriculture and limited local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported. Sint Maarten had the highest per capita income among the five islands that formerly comprised the Netherlands Antilles.
    $798.3 million (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    $794.7 million (2008 est.)
    $748.9 million (2007 est.)
    $794.7 million (2008)
    4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    1.6% (2008 est.)
    4.5% (2007 est.)
    $15,400 (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    agriculture: 0.4%
    industry: 18.3%
    services: 81.3% (2008 est.)
    tourism, light industry, and manufacturing
    23,200 (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    agriculture: 1.1%
    industry: 15.2%
    services: 83.7% (2008 est.)
    12% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    10.6% (2008 est.)
    4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    0.7% (2009 est.)
    Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -
    1.79 (2012)
    1.79 (2011)
    1.79 (2009)
    1.79 (2008)
    1.79 (2007)
    note: The Netherland Antillean guilder was replaced by the newly created Caribbean guilder in 2013

Energy ::Sint Maarten

Communications ::Sint Maarten

    general assessment: generally adequate facilities
    domestic: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
    international: country code - 1-721; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the Americas-2 submarine cable systems provide connectivity to Central America, parts of South America and the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
    .sx; note - IANA has designated .sx for Sint Maarten, but has not yet assigned it to a sponsoring organization

Transportation ::Sint Maarten

Military ::Sint Maarten