Saint Martin (France)

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Saint Martin (French: Saint-Martin), officially the Collectivity of Saint Martin (French: Collectivité de Saint-Martin), is a new overseas collectivity of France. It was created on 22 February 2007. It consists of the northern parts of the island of Saint Martin and neighboring small islands. The southern half of the island is a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Demographics[change | change source]

The French part of the island has a land area of 53.20 km² (20.5 sq mi). At the October 2004 supplementary French census, the population in the French part of the island was 33,102 (up from only 8,072 inhabitants at the 1982 census), which means a population density of 622 inhabitants per km² in 2004.

Historical population
1885 1961 1967 1974 1982 1990 1999 2004
3,400 4,502 5,061 6,191 8,072 28,518 29,078 33,102
Official figures from French censuses.

Politics and government[change | change source]

Map showing the former constituent parts of the Guadeloupe region/department among the Leeward Islands, including Saint-Martin, prior to February 2007.

Saint Martin was for many years a French commune. It was part of Guadeloupe, which is an overseas région and overseas département of France. Because of this, it is in the European Union. In 2003 the population of the French part voted for a split from Guadeloupe. They wanted to make a separate overseas collectivity (COM) of France.[1] On February 9, 2007, the French Parliament passed a bill granting COM status to both the French part of Saint Martin and neighbouring Saint-Barthélemy.[2] The new took effect when the law was published in the Official Journal.[3]

Saint Martin remains part of the European Union.[source?] The official currency in Saint Martin is the euro (though the United States dollar is also widely accepted).

As a transitional measure, Saint Martin remains governed as it was when a commune within Guadeloupe—by a mayor and a municipal council elected by the European citizens living on the French side of the island. As is the case in metropolitan France since the promulgation of the Maastricht Treaty, nationals of any member state of the European Union are allowed to vote at the municipal elections. Nationals from countries not part of the European Union, which represent a large part of the population on the French side of the island, are not allowed to vote in the elections. A new governance structure befitting an overseas collectivity will take effect later in 2007.

References[change | change source]

  1. Staff reporter (2003-12-09). "French Caribbean voters reject change" (HTML). Caribbean Net News. Retrieved 2007-02-09. However voters on the two tiny French dependencies of Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin, which have been administratively attached to Guadeloupe, approved the referendum and are set to acquire the new status of "overseas collectivity". Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. Staff reporter (2007-02-09). "Saint-Barth To Become An Overseas Collectivity" (PDF). St. Barth Weekly. p. 2. Retrieved 2007-02-09. Check date values in: |date= (help)