Originally settled by a native tribe, the Arawak were just about gone by the time the Spanish (Columbus by sailing by and claiming the island), the French and the Dutch in combination, serially and sequentially laid claim to the island. Since the Spanish never really controlled the island – it is not surprising that, at the end that the island is controlled by the French on one side and the Dutch on the other.
Today – the French side is administered and overseen by the French government. The Gendarmerie comes directly from France and is provided housing, schools and support for the tours (accompanied by families) in this far away from Paris location. The currency is Euros, the license plates are French (complete with EU symbol). In contrast, the Netherlands side is part of the Netherland Antilles reorganisation. Support is present, but the country is quasi independent. The currency is the US$, the language is Dutch, but English is defacto spoken.
I walked around Philipsburg in the morning visiting various locations, shops and finishing at the Museum.
In the afternoon, I took the bus over to Marigot – the capital on the French side. True to their spirit as tour operators – we stopped in a tourist market area rather than the main shopping and city area for the locals. with only 45 minutes off the bus, I didn’t get to the museum.
(pictures to be added when I can upload)