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St. Maarten information - Island’s timeline

  • Circa AD 800 — Settled by Arawak Indians who arrived from South America; The Carib indians followed later and gave the island the name Soualiga, or Land of Salt.
  • November 11, 1493 — Claimed for Spain by Columbus, named Isla de San Martín upon his arrival.
  • 1624 — Some French cultivate tobacco in French Quarter.
  • 1631 — Dutch small colony on Groot Baai (“Great Bay”) to collect salt.
  • 1633–1648 — The Spanish navy captures Saint Martin from the Dutch until the peace of Westhpalia. Spanish army from Puerto Rico builds the first military fort.[citation needed
  • March 23, 1648 — Divided into French (north) and Dutch (south) zones (Dutch zone subordinate to Saint Eustatius until 1672).
  • 1679–1689 — French occupy entire island.
  • 1689–1792 — Dutch zone under Dutch West India Company administration.
  • 1690–1699 — English occupy entire island.
  • 1699–1702 — French occupy entire island.
  • 1703–1717 — Dutch occupy entire island.
  • February 24, 1779 – February 3, 1781 — French occupy entire island.
  • February 3, 1781 – November 26, 1781 — British occupy entire island.
  • May 18, 1793 – April 5, 1794 — Dutch administer entire island.
  • April 29, 1795 – March 24, 1801 — French occupy entire island.
  • March 24, 1801 – December 1, 1802 — British occupy entire island.
  • July 9, 1810 — Annexed along with the Netherlands by France (not effected).
  • 1810–1816 — British occupy entire island.
  • 1816 — French and Dutch zones restored.
  • 1919 — Saba, Saint Eustatius and Sint Maarten united as Netherlands Windward Islands.
  • 1936 — Dutch side officially adopts the Dutch spelling Sint Maarten.
  • December 15, 1954 — Saba, Saint Eustatius and Sint Maarten united with Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao as the Netherlands Antilles, a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • September 4, 1960 — Hurricane Donna hits the island causing extensive damage.
  • January 1, 1986 — Aruba attains a “status aparte” within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and leaves the Netherlands Antilles
  • September 5, 1995 — Hurricane Luis devastates the island.
  • November 20, 1999 — Hurricane Lenny slams the island causing catastrophic damage and claims 3 lives.
  • June 23, 2000 — Referendum on Sint Maarten obtaining a “status aparte” within the Kingdom of the Netherlands receives 68.9% support.
  • December 7, 2003 — The population of the French part of the island votes in favor of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity (COM) of France.
  • February 22, 2007 — French side becomes a separate overseas collectivity (COM).
  • October 10, 2010 — The Netherlands Antilles are dissolved. Sint Maarten becomes one of the four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
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