Sint Maarten(Dutch);: Saint-Martin,(French) is a tropical island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately 240 km (150 miles) east of Puerto Rico. The 98 km2 (38 square-mile) island is divided roughly in half between France and the Netherlands; it is the smallest inhabited land mass in the world that is divided between two nations The southern Dutch half is called Sint Maarten and used to be part of part of theNetherlands Antilles; the northern French half is called Saint-Martin and is part of the French overseas region and departement of Guadeloupe. Collectively, the two territories are known as, "St.-Martin/St. Maarten", "St. Martins", or simply, "SXM" (SXM is the IATA identifier for Princess Juliana International Airport, the island's main airport).
St.Maarten is at present an autonomous country within the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country belongs to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but received full autonomy in internal affairs in 2010. The Dutch Monarch serves as the head of state through a local Governor General, and a Prime Minister manages the government, heading a unicameral, multi-seat Staten. Dutch is the official language of the islands, but most speak Spanish, English(St.Maarten, Saba, Statia) or Papiamento, a dialect that combines Spanish, Portuguese, English and Dutch.The Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of The Netherlands(Europe), St.Maarten, Aruba and Curacao and the Netherlands BES Islands(Bonaire, St.Eustatius and Saba). Although the various entities(BES exluded)are autonomous, foreign affairs and defense remain in the hands of the Kingdom. However, since St.Maarten and Curacao have become an autonomous countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010 the Netherlands Antilles as a country does no longer exist!
The laws between the various entities are similar , but special laws are in place for the various countries and BES islands.
St.Maarten is known for it's beauty. It's airport and harbour facilities belong to the regions finest. Due to a liberal fiscal policy St.Maarten enjoys a vibrant economy. Various daily non-stop flights from the US, Europe and South America makes the island one of the principle hubs in the Eastern Caribbean.