"Philipsburg" Philipsburg by seagoingJLW

Philipsburg Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 68 photos

St. Maarten

The island is very interesting. It was sighted by Columbus on November 11, 1493 which is the holy day of St. Martin of Tours. In 1630 both the Dutch and the French established small settlements on the island.

The Spanish saw this asa threat and attacked, but were finally repelled and driven from the Eastern Caribbean altogether in 1644.

The Dutch and the French signed an accord in 1648. the boundary between the two was the subject of numerous disputes and was finally established in 1817. During the time of the disputes the island changed hands between the French and the Dutch sixteen times.

The island has an area of only 37 square miles, making it the smallest landmass in the world divided between two governments.


According to popular legend, the final division of the island between the Dutch and the French was settled with a race.

A Dutchman and a Frenchman stood back-to-back and started to circumnavigate the island on foot. It is claimed that the starting point is the area known today at Oyster Pond; the Frenchman was ordered to walk North along the coast while the Dutchman was to go South. The spot where the two would meet, would determine the border.

The legend has it, that the Dutchman walked with a flask of old Dutch Gin, and the Frenchman, true to his roots, carried a flask of wine. The Frenchman managed to cover much more ground than his rival, and won France the larger portion of the island - 21 square miles. The Dutchman, who it is claimed covered less because he stopped for several gin-breaks ended up with only 16 square miles of territory.


Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice to walk around in.
  • Cons:Nothing in particular
  • In a nutshell:I like the Dutch islands very much.
  • Intro Updated Oct 21, 2004
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