Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Maarten, was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy, it soon became a active center of international trade. Although most of the vessels that arrive in the harbor today are cruise ships, international trade still thrives in St. Maarten thanks to its status as a leading duty-free port. St. Maarten enjoys the rare position of being the smallest landmass in the world to be divided and ruled by two self-governing powers. Ownership of the island is divided between the Dutch and the French, who have shared the island for more than 300 years. St. Maarten economy was historically based on salt production and cultivation. This legend of St. Maarten explains that the Dutch and French divided St. Maarten by means of a race. A Dutchman and a Frenchman stood back-to-back and started to walking around the island. The spot where the two would meet up would establish the border. Legend has it that the Frenchman carried a flask of wine, and the Dutchman had a flask of old Dutch Gin. The Frenchman covered more ground and claimed 21 square miles of territory. The Dutchman, who allegedly stopped for numerous breaks to drink his gin, ended up with only 16 square miles.
The island has a wonderful carnival. It is a vibrant, two-week festival of eating, dancing, parties, and parades.
One of the most famous things to do in St. Maarten is shop. Shopping on St. Maarten can become a full-time leisure interest. The island offers international items for as little as one half of their common prices. The stores and shops along Front Street in Philipsburg are stocked with high-fashion clothing, charming jewelry, and top-quality electronics.
There is also a bunch of sporting activities to embark upon. Some include snorkeling, sailing, sport fishing, scuba diving, golf, and even horseback riding.