“Semper pro grediens”



“Semper pro grediens”

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A fond welcome to locals and visitors!

Each and every visit to the Caribbean is like no other. There is always something new to learn, places to go or things to do. Sculpted by nature, the islands are ever-changing and evolving. With so many islands to choose from it is never easy to decide on where to stop.
We want to introduce you to our beautifully unique islands. Make sure you stay a while, take your time! In the Caribbean there’s no rush, let’s just ‘go with the flow’.
The more you learn, the more you will want to know, so relax and discover

The wonderful island of St. Maarten



Philipsburg is the main town and capital of the country of Sint Maarten. The town is situated on a narrow stretch of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond. Philipsburg was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy; the settlement soon became a bustling centre of international trade. Two historic forts bear witness to Philipsburg’s strategic importance in St. Maarten’s history: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.


Philipsburg is the main town and capital of the country of Sint Maarten. The town is situated on a narrow stretch of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond. Philipsburg was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy; the settlement soon became a bustling centre of international trade. Two historic forts bear witness to Philipsburg’s strategic importance in St. Maarten’s history: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.


Maho Beach has become an extremely popular tourist destination as it sits at the end of the runway of the Princess Juliana International Airport. Visitors flock to the beach to see the huge the jumbo passenger jets pass as they sunbathe. Some even grab a hold of the airport fence to feel the back blast from the jet engines – an extreme sport in itself (please do be careful!). A beautiful beach with a little added excitement.
Welcome to Casino Royal in St Maarten. Playing is the main thing and you won’t have to wait for “Lady Luck” to have a fantastic time at Casino Royale in St Maarten. Name your game and we’ve got it somewhere on our casino floor – and you won’t want to miss our many giveaways. Casino Royale is the largest on the island of St Maarten, boasting 21,000 square feet of gaming.

Official Website: playmaho.com

Guavaberry is the legendary folk liqueur of Sint Maarten/St Martin. It was first made here centuries ago in private homes. People made what they needed for family & friends. It became an integral part of local culture & tradition. Guavaberry is our national liqueur. It is a cherished symbol of the olden days. There are folk songs & stories about it. At the Guavaverry Company Emporium expect to be offered plenty of free samples of the curious tasting tipple, available in a variety of flavours. 
Want to have the Scuba diving experience, but you don’t have the qualifications? SNUBA is the place for you. The SNUBA team of a professionally guided, shallow water diving program to snorkelers and novice divers of all ages. It doesn’t require any formal training, so it’s great for those who just want to give diving a go! Guests are tethered to the raft and their diving partner with a 20-foot air line, whilst their air tank floats in a little raft on the surface.  Have an entertaining time exploring an old shipwreck whilst increasing your marine awareness.

History of St. Maarten

ST. MAARTENThe Amerindian people, descended from the Arawak Indians who came to St. Martin/ St. Maarten around 800 AD. They used to call the island ‘Sualouiga’ or ‘Land of Salt’ as salt ponds were scattered all over the island. The Spaniards were the first Europeans to exploit these salt ponds, but it was the Dutch that started the wide-scale exploitation. They used salt to preserve meat and the tons of fish they netted in the Baltic Sea. With the break from Spain in the 16th century the Dutch lost access to Portugal’s natural salt deposits and were in dire need of a new source. They cast their eyes on St. Martin/St. Maarten with its numerous salt ponds and a new and important trade developed.

At the time that the Dutch finally established a settlement in St. Martin/St. Maarten in 1631, there was already a colony of 14 French families based on the island. In 1633 the Spaniards invaded St. Martin/St. Maarten and the attempts of the French and Dutch to protect their settlements were futile, so they retreated until the Spanish troops left the island in 1648. On March 23rd 1648, The French and Dutch signed the “Treaty of Concordia”. The island has been divided, and the story of how it happened has been embellished throughout history to become the ‘Legend of St. Martin/St. Maarten’. Even after the signing of the treaty however, the island changed hand 16 times with even English powers vying for control. In 1817 the partition treaty was eventually enforced, giving the French 21 square miles and the Dutch 16 square miles and giving shape to the island as we know it today.

The slave trade first made its mark on St. Martin/St. Maarten in 1648 with the development of sugar plantations and was to last 220 years until its abolition in 1848. With the abolition of slavery, the plantations on St. Martin/St. Maarten dried out leaving virtually no sugar industry. The island was now wholly dependent on its salt treasure. The ‘white gold’ was produced in great quantities and St. Martin/St. Maarten became a king in the world of salt production. In 1850 more then 330,000 barrels were produced and a third of the island’s population was employed in the industry. After the 1920’s the salt industry endured a period of stagnation and decline until in 1949 the salt ponds eventually breathed their last.

With the closing down of the plantations and the slowing down of the salt production many unemployed migrated to other islands in hope of a better life. In 1914 there were still 3000 living souls on St. Martin/St. Maarten, but by the 1940’s the population was down to 2000. The imposed isolation by the two world wars also helped along the decline. World War II had the greatest effect on St. Martin. During this war, German submarines threatened the entire Caribbean. The US Army tried to eliminate these U-boats from the air and was forced to build many air runways on numerous islands, which is how St. Martin/St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana airport began its life in 1943. With the airport, a gateway was opened to the rest of the world and the new industry of tourism nestled on the island.

The duty-free status, a result of the import and export taxes being rescinded in 1939, and the many unspoiled white sandy beaches, made St. Martin/St. Maarten a popular travel destination. The influx of people and money changed the island completely. Not only did St. Martin/St. Maarten go through huge economic growth; in 1965 the population jumped to more than 4000 inhabitants. In five years the population had doubled and by the mid-80’s 40,000 people were living on the island.

The laid-back island attitude of old has now made place for a patchwork of more than 100 hotels and guest-houses and innumerable luxury villa’s and apartments. The island welcomes almost 900 000 cruise ship visitors and more than 570,000 plane arrivals a year. In less than a decade the little pearl of the Caribbean has become one of the most affluent in the region.

We cannot go through St. Martin/St. Maarten’s history without mentioning the most significant recent events that left a deep impact on the island. In 1995 the powerful and destructive hurricane Luis struck the islands with huge devastation. It took four years for the island to recover but in 1999 hurricane Lenny was destined to pass over the island to wreak more havoc. Despite serious damage inflicted by rain and flood, the people of St. Martin/St. Maarten know how laughter can heal the soul, and that is one of the reasons visitors keep coming to the island, the prime tropical escape of the Caribbean.

Information courtesy of st-maarten.com


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The flag of St Maarten was designed by Roselle Richardson and was officially adopted on 13th June 1985.

The red, white, and blue colors are symbolic of the Dutch flag. The red also symbolises solidarity and courage. The blue depicts peace whilst the white symbolises purity and faith. The island coat of arms is displayed on the left in a white chevron.

St Maarten’s coat of arms is made up of a shield with a rising sun above, and the island motto displayed on a ribbon below. It reads “Semper pro grediens” meaning “Always for progressing”

The St Maarten courthouse is displayed in the middle of the shield, with an orange-yellow sage (the national flower) to the left, and the border monument to the right. Flying above the shield, in front of the sun, is a brown pelican, which is the national bird.

St Maarten is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and so the dutch national anthem ‘Het Wilhelmus’ is the official national anthem.

The entire island both the dutch and French parts use  “O Sweet Saint Martin’s Land” as a local anthem.

O Sweet Martins Land Lyrics:

1. Where over the world, say where,
You find an island there,
So lovely small with nations free
With people French and Dutch
Though talking English much,
As thee Saint Martin in the sea?

O sweet Saint Martin’s Land
So bright by beach and strand
With sailors on the sea and harbors free
Where the chains of mountains green
Variously in sunshine sheen

Oh I love thy Paradise,
Nature beauty fairly nice
Oh I love thy Paradise,
Nature beauty fairly nice

2. How pretty between all green
Flamboyants beaming gleam
Of flowers red by sunlight set
Thy cows and sheep and goats
In meadows or on the roads
Thy donkeys keen I can’t forget


3. Thy useful birds in white
Their morn and evening flight
Like aircrafts-wings in unity
Their coming down for food
Then turning back to roost
Bring home to me their harmony


4. Saint Martin I like thy name
In which Columbus fame
And memories of old are closed
For me a great delight
Thy Southern Cross the night
May God the Lord protect thy coast!




    Atlantic Standard Time (AST)






    Constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands


    Mixed black/Creole, Dutch, Surinamese, East Asian, Dominican and other




    Conch & Dumplings

    Check out the recipe




Eugene Holiday


Leona Marlin-Romeo

Prime Minister





Prime Ministers



TOOK OFFICE: 10/10/2010 – LEFT OFFICE: 21/05/2012

TOOK OFFICE: 21/05/2012 – LEFT OFFICE: 14/06/2013

TOOK OFFICE: 14/06/2013 – LEFT OFFICE: 19/12/2014



TOOK OFFICE: 19/12/2014 – LEFT OFFICE: 19/12/2015



TOOK OFFICE: 19/12/2015 – LEFT OFFICE: 20/12/2016

TOOK OFFICE: 20/12/2016 – LEFT OFFICE: 24/11/2017



TOOK OFFICE: 24/11/2017 – LEFT OFFICE: 15/01/2018





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The team at caribbean1st.com would like to thank all contributors. The amazing websites we found that hold a wealth of resources and the individuals who have taken time to send us information and great pictures.

Our aim is to offer a complete and useful list of information to discover each island and their people. Your contribution would be much appreciated. Please feel free to send us any information that you would like us to feature in this website and we will do our best to keep every page up to date.