Dawn Beach - St. Maarten

St. Maarten / St. Martin is the smallest island in the world to be divided between two different nations. The island is split between the Dutch and French, and the two cultures live very peacefully together on 37 sq. miles. In fact, the island's inhabitants are quite proud of their nearly 350-year history of peaceful co-existence.

This beautiful island has 37 beaches that are secluded areas of beautiful white sand. All kinds of water sports are available including; windsurfing, swimming, sailing, jet skiing, diving and snorkeling. Half-day or full-day sailing excursions to undeveloped beaches nearby are also available.

St. Maarten's / St. Martin's climate and natural beauty make it a perfect place for other types of sports and recreation. Golf, tennis, biking, horseback riding and hiking are just some of the other activities that allow you to explore the island's natural splendor.

The island has the best of nightlife on both sides of the island. Casinos (on the Dutch side), nightclubs and dance bars are just some of the attractions available on the island. In addition, there are literally hundreds of fine restaurants to choose from.

It is believed that the history of the island dates back to 4000 B.C. when an archaic tribe of Indians lived on the island. In 800 A.D., the Arawak Indians arrived on the island and lived peacefully, cultivating crops and building ships, until the arrival of the Europeans.

According to popular belief, Columbus 'discovered' the island in November 1493 and named it in honor of Bishop St Martin of Tours. However, some historians now think the island Columbus chanced upon that day was the more southerly Nevis and that he never actually sighted St Martin. At any rate, it wasn't until 1631 that the first colonization attempts were made, with the Dutch settling at Little Bay and the French in the Orleans area.

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