Central America and Caribbean :: SINT MAARTEN
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  • 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 began 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

  • Caribbean, located in the Leeward Islands (northern) group; Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea; Sint Maarten lies east of the US Virgin Islands
    18 4 N, 63 4 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    total: 34 sq km
    land: 34 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    note: Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin
    country comparison to the world: 236
    one-fifth the size of Washington, DC
    total: 16 km
    border countries (1): Saint Martin (France) 16 km
    58.9 km (for entire island)
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
    tropical marine climate, ameliorated by northeast trade winds, results in moderate temperatures; average rainfall of 150 cm/year; hurricane season stretches from July to November
    low, hilly terrain, volcanic origin
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Mount Flagstaff 386 m
    fish, salt
    most populous areas are Lower Prince's Quarter (north of Philipsburg), followed closely by Cul de Sac
    subject to hurricanes from July to November
    the northern border is shared with the French overseas collectivity of Saint Martin; together, these two entities make up the smallest landmass in the world shared by two self-governing states
  • People and Society :: SINT MAARTEN

  • 41,486 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 213
    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)
    Protestant 41.9% (Pentecostal 14.7%, Methodist 10.0%, Seventh Day Adventist 6.6%, Baptist 4.7%, Anglican 3.1%, other Protestant 2.8%), Roman Catholic 33.1%, Hindu 5.2%, Christian 4.1%, Jehovah's Witness 1.7%, Evangelical 1.4%, Muslim/Jewish 1.1%, other 1.3% (includes Buddhist, Sikh, Rastafarian), none 7.9%, no response 2.4% (2011 est.)
    0-14 years: 18.45% (male 4,000/female 3,655)
    15-24 years: 15.26% (male 3,127/female 3,204)
    25-54 years: 42.6% (male 8,628/female 9,045)
    55-64 years: 15.37% (male 3,057/female 3,319)
    65 years and over: 8.32% (male 1,667/female 1,784) (2016 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 40.7 years
    male: 39.8 years
    female: 41.7 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    1.44% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    13.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    5 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    6.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 18
    most populous areas are Lower Prince's Quarter (north of Philipsburg), followed closely by Cul de Sac
    urban population: 100% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 1.97% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    PHILIPSBURG (capital) 1,327 (2011)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    total: 8.3 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 9.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 7.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    total population: 78.1 years
    male: 75.8 years
    female: 80.6 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    2.06 children born/woman (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus (2016)
  • 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
    etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island after Saint MARTIN of Tours because the 11 November 1493 day of discovery was the saint's feast day
    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)
    note: Sint Maarten is one of four constituent parts (countries) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three parts are the Netherlands, Aruba, and Curacao
    none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    King's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967)
    Staatsregeling, 10 October 2010; revised Kingdom Charter pending previous 1947, 1955; latest adopted 21 July 2010, entered into force 10 October 2010 (regulates governance of Sint Maarten but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - in October 2010, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Sint Maarten became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
    based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
    see the Netherlands
    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: Prime Minister William MARLIN (since 19 November 2015)
    cabinet: Cabinet nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the governor-general
    elections/appointments: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch for a 6-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually elected prime minister by the legislature
    description: unicameral Estates of Sint Maarten or Staten (15 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held 26 September 2016 (next to be held in 2020)
    election results: percent of vote by party - UPP 28.5%, National Alliance 26.1%, US Party 19.3%, Democratic Party 12.5%; seats by party - National Alliance 5, UPP 5, US Party 3, 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
    Concordia Political Alliance or CPA [Jeffery RICHARDSON]
    Democratic Party or DP [Sarah WESCOTT-WILLIAMS]
    National Alliance or NA [William MARLIN]
    United People's Party or UPP [Theodore HEYLIGER]
    United Sint Maarten Party or US Party [Frans 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
    brown pelican, yellow sage (flower); national colors: red, white, blue
    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 1.8 million visitors came to the island by cruise ship and roughly 500,000 visitors arrived through Princess Juliana International Airport in 2013. Cruise ships and yachts also call on Sint Maarten's numerous ports and harbors. Limited agriculture and 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.
    $365.8 million (2014 est.)
    $353.5 million (2013 est.)
    $339.6 million (2012 est.)
    note: datar are in 2014 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 215
    $304.1 billion (2014 est.)
    3.6% (2014 est.)
    4.1% (2013 est.)
    1.9% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    $66,800 (2014 est.)
    $65,500 (2013 est.)
    $63,900 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2015 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 13
    agriculture: 0.4%
    industry: 18.3%
    services: 81.3% (2008 est.)
    tourism, light industry
    23,200 (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    agriculture: 1.1%
    industry: 15.2%
    services: 83.7% (2008 est.)
    12% (2012 est.)
    10.6% (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    4% (2012 est.)
    0.7% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -
    1.79 (2014)
    1.79 (2013)
    1.79 (2013)
    1.79 (2012)
    1.79 (2011)
  • Energy :: SINT MAARTEN

  • 304.3 million kWh (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 178
  • 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

  • 1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 234
    total: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2012)
    total: 53 km
    country comparison to the world: 219
    major seaport(s): Philipsburg
    oil terminals: Coles Bay oil terminal
  • Military and Security :: SINT MAARTEN

  • no regular military forces (2012)
    defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands