March 1648: after signing the peace treaty, France and the Netherlands agreed to
split St. Maarten in two nations. But how to do this without fighting again?
What determined the boundaries was a foot race, or more precisely, a trek along
the coast. Walking fast was allowed, but not running. Each community chose its
athlete. The name of the Dutch athlete was, Menno Versteeg, the French champion
has been lost to history. The two men were placed back to back and took off
along the coast in opposite directions. A line across the island would be traced
from the starting point to the place where they would meet. This line became the
border dividing Saint Martin from Sint Maarten.
After the race it was clear that the French would have more territory. The
French athlete walked faster than the Dutch and to explain this they confirmed
their athlete had been drinking wine before the race while the Dutch drank beer.
This allowed the French to say that the energetic and invigorating effects of
the wine had outweighed those of beer. And thus history is made!
The isle is half French and half Dutch, Saint Martin is
portion and Sint Maarten is the Dutch one,
lying 140 miles north-east from Guadalupe, is barren, formed by a big
perforated by coastal lagoons and surrounded by something like forty beaches.
From the west coast stands a peninsula looking like an atoll, with
thin edges closing as a ring
around the Simpson bay lagoon.
The inland is hilly, its area is 95 kmq: (53 St.Martin and 42 Sint Maarten)
Subtropical, pleasant all
year long, expecially from November to June.
More wet and rainy from June to November.
Seawater temperature ranges between 26° and