The southern half of this tropical island, called Sint Maarten, is part of the Netherlands Antilles. The northern half is part of the French West Indies and is called Saint Martin. It is the smallest island to be divided between two nations.

The Arawak indians who originally inhabited the  island called it Sualouiga, meaning Land of Salt. But it was the Carib indians who occupied the island when Christopher Columbus named it Isla de San Martin, claiming the island for Spain during his second voyage.