We're always looking for ways to make better. Have an idea? See something that needs fixing? Let us know!


Although sighted by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1493 and claimed for Spain, it was the Dutch who occupied the island in 1631 and set about exploiting its salt deposits. The Spanish retook the island in 1633, but continued to be harassed by the Dutch. The Spanish finally relinquished Saint Martin to the French and Dutch, who divided it between themselves in 1648. Friction between the two sides caused the border to frequently fluctuate over the next two centuries, with the French eventually holding the greater portion of the island (about 57%). The cultivation of sugar cane introduced slavery to the island in the late 18th century; the practice was not abolished until 1848. The island became a free port in 1939; the tourism industry was dramatically expanded during the 1970s and 1980s. In 2003, the populace of Saint... See More



 Caribbean, located in the Leeward Islands (northern) group; French part of the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean Sea; Saint Martin lies east of the US Virgin Islands

Geographic Coordinates:

 18 05 N, 63 57 W


 Total: 54.4 sq km
Land: 54.4 sq km
Water: NEGL

Area - Comparative:

 More than one-third the size of Washington, DC

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 15 km
Border countries: Sint Maarten 15 km


 58.9 km (for entire island) (Rank: 178)


 Temperature averages 80-85 degrees all year long; low humidity, gentle trade winds, brief, intense rain showers; July-November is the hurricane season

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Caribbean Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Pic du Paradis 424 m

Natural Resources:


Natural Hazards:

 Subject to hurricanes from July to November

Environment - Current Issues:

 Freshwater supply is dependent on desalinization of sea water

Geography - Note:

 The island of Saint Martin is the smallest landmass in the world shared by two independent states, the French territory of Saint Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten

Back to the Top


Ethnic Groups:

 Creole (mulatto), black, Guadeloupe Mestizo (French-East Asia), white, East Indian


 French (official), English, Dutch, French Patois, Spanish, Papiamento (dialect of Netherlands Antilles)


 Roman Catholic, Jehovah's Witnesses, Protestant, Hindu


 30,615 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 26.9% (male 4,086/female 4,139)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 9,807/female 10,737)
65 years and over: 6% (male 829/female 1,017) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 31 years
Male: 29.9 years
Female: 31.8 years (2011 est.)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Back to the Top


Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Overseas Collectivity of Saint Martin
Conventional short form: Saint Martin
Local long form: Collectivity d'outre mer de Saint-Martin
Local short form: Saint-Martin


 Name: Marigot
Geographical coordinates: 18 04 N, 63 05 W
Time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Dependency Status:

 Overseas collectivity of France


 None (overseas collectivity of France)

National Holiday:

 Bastille Day, 14 July (1789); note - local holiday is Schoalcher Day (Slavery Abolition Day) 12 July (1848)


 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal System:

 French civil law


 18 years of age, universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007), represented by Prefect Philippe CHOPIN (since 16 November 2011)

Head of government: President of the Territorial Council Frantz GUMBS (since 5 May 2009)

Cabinet: Executive Council; note - there is also an advisory economic, social, and cultural council

Election: French president elected by popular vote to a five-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the Territorial Council elected by the members of the Council for a five-year term

Election results: Frantz GUMBS elected president by the Territorial Council on 7 August 2008 but election was declared invalid on 10 April 2009

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral Territorial Council (23 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

Elections: last held on 1 and 8 July 2007 (next to be held in July 2012)

Election results: percent of seats by party - UPP 49%, RRR 42.2%, Reussir Saint-Martin 8.9%; seats by party - UPP 16, RRR 6, Reussir Saint-Martin 1

Note: Saint Martin elects one member to the French Senate; election last held on 21 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Union Pour le Progres or UPP [Louis-Constant FLEMING]; Rassemblement Responsabilite Reussite or RRR [Alain RICHARDSON]; Reussir Saint-Martin [Jean-Luc HAMLET]

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 None (overseas collectivity of France)

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 None (overseas collectivity of France)

Flag Description:

 The flag of France is used

National Symbols:

 Brown pelican

National Anthem:

 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" remains 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" remains official on the Dutch side (see Netherlands)


 (overseas collectivity of France)

Back to the Top


Economy - Overview:

 The economy of Saint Martin centers around tourism with 85% of the labor force engaged in this sector. Over one million visitors come to the island each year with most arriving through the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten. No significant agriculture and limited local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported, primarily from Mexico and the United States. Saint Martin is reported to have the highest per capita income in the Caribbean.

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 1%
Industry: 15%
Services: 84% (2000)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 85% directly or indirectly employed in tourist industry


 Tourism, light industry and manufacturing, heavy industry

Imports - Commodities:

 Crude petroleum, food, manufactured items

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Euro to Any Currency

Euros (EUR) per US dollar -
0.7715 (2010)
0.7338 (2009)
0.6827 (2008)
0.7345 (2007)
0.7964 (2006)

Back to the Top


Telephone System:

 General assessment: fully integrated access

Domestic: direct dial capability with both fixed and wireless systems

International: country code - 590; undersea fiber-optic cable provides voice and data connectivity to Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe

Broadcast Media:

 1 local TV station; receives television broadcasts from the Netherlands Antilles; access to about 20 radio stations, including RFO Guadeloupe radio broadcasts via repeater (2008)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 0, FM 3, shortwave 0 (2007)

Internet Country Code:

 .mf; note - .gp, the Internet country code for Guadeloupe, and .fr, the Internet country code for France, might also be encountered

Back to the Top



 1 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Transportation - Note:

 Nearest airport for international flights is Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) located in Sint Maarten

Back to the Top


Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 6,435
Females age 16-49: 6,967 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 168
Female: 168 (2010 est.)

Military - Note:

 Defense is the responsibility of France

Back to the Top

Last Updated: December 2011

Saint Martin Main Page World Factbook Main Page


Click any image to enlarge.

National Flag

(€) Euro (EUR)
Convert to Any Currency


Locator Map