The Making of an Island: St. Martin by Jean Glasscock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Around the World: 19 of 52 (Sint Maarten/ Saint Martin)
This book is a good overview of the history of the island of St. Martin/ St. Maarten. Although it is from the 1980s and the photos are slightly out of date, the overview is pretty solid, and many of the pieces of information were confirmed when I took a tour around the island.
I loved the stories of the early natives, and how they were killed off, not by westerners, but by the cannibal tribes of the Caribs. There is also a funny story in here about the blond-haired, blue-eyed Norwegian beach tribe that for a time was cut off from the rest of the island. St. Maarten has changed hands multiple times because it was a valuable salt resource in pre-refridgeration times, and even now is run half by the Dutch and half by the French. The common language is English.
After seeing Maho Beach, Simpson Bay, what is left of the salt pond, and both sides of the island, I felt this history really come to life. I was lucky to be in the country the same day I finished the book. The picture below is a hillside view of the port of Philipsburg, on the Dutch side.