Your search results

HISTORY OF ST. MAARTEN

The story of the Caribbean and that of St. Maarten/St. Martin did not start with the explorer Christopher Columbus spotting the island in 1493. What the history books don’t tell is there was possibly a group of St. Maarteners standing on a beach or a hilltop with shaded eyes watching the billowing sails slip pass.

Who were those possible onlookers? If they were indeed there, they were probably the remains of a Carib village. This war-like tribe made their way from the Amazon Rainforest to the Caribbean isles more than 1,000 years ago. They followed the similar path in their canoes as the predecessors the Arawaks. They pushed the peace loving Arawaks, who called St. Maarten Soualiga (Land of Salt), out and took the island for themselves.

So when Columbus sighted the island on November 11, 1493, the holy day of St. Martin of Tours, claimed it for Spain and named it honour of the saint, it already had a more ancient name.

Today, the island bears the dual Dutch and French (also English) spelling of Columbus name. The legacy of the Arawaks, possibly the island’s first people, lives on with Soualiga still being used by many.

Concerned with the greater conquests of Mexico and South America, the Spaniards ignored St. Maarten and this slice of paradise was virtually forgotten by Europeans until the 1620s. Dutch traders began extracting salt from St. Maarten’s ponds and exporting it to the Netherlands. The Spaniards were not amused. They drove out the Dutch and established permanent fortifications on the island.

In 1644, a Dutch fleet under the command of Peter Stuyvesant attempted unsuccessfully to retake the island. Stuyvesant, who later became governor of New Amsterdam (present-day New York), lost a leg to a Spanish cannonball during the fighting.

With the end of the Eighty Years War between Spain and the Netherlands, the Spaniards left St. Maarten, and the island was soon claimed by both the French (who sailed over from St. Kitts) and the Dutch (from St. Eustatius). The two European powers signed a treaty in 1648 which divided the island between them. The neighbours were not peacefully at first leading to the island changing hands sixteen times between 1648 and 1816.

Today, the island bears the dual Dutch and French (also English) spelling of Columbus name. The legacy of the Arawaks, possibly the island’s first people, lives on with Soualiga still being used by many.

Concerned with the greater conquests of Mexico and South America, the Spaniards ignored St. Maarten and this slice of paradise was virtually forgotten by Europeans until the 1620s. Dutch traders began extracting salt from St. Maarten’s ponds and exporting it to the Netherlands. The Spaniards were not amused. They drove out the Dutch and established permanent fortifications on the island.

In 1644, a Dutch fleet under the command of Peter Stuyvesant attempted unsuccessfully to retake the island. Stuyvesant, who later became governor of New Amsterdam (present-day New York), lost a leg to a Spanish cannonball during the fighting.

With the end of the Eighty Years War between Spain and the Netherlands, the Spaniards left St. Maarten, and the island was soon claimed by both the French (who sailed over from St. Kitts) and the Dutch (from St. Eustatius). The two European powers signed a treaty in 1648 which divided the island between them. The neighbours were not peacefully at first leading to the island changing hands sixteen times between 1648 and 1816.

  • HISTORY
  • BEACHES
  • ACTIVITIES
  • EVENTS
WP Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com