St Martin is an island in the northeast section of the Caribbean. It is the smallest, inhabited island that is harmoniously occupied by two different countries. The southern portion of the island is Dutch, a territory of the Netherlands Antilles. The northern part of the island is French, an overseas collectivity of France. Both nations peacefully agreed to share the island and all of its wealth in 1648.
As two nations, St. Martin has two official flags. The southern, French portion of the island flies the French flag. This flag is equally divided in thirds vertically. The left third is blue, the middle section is white, and the right third is red. This is the national flag of St. Martin.
Another flag that is often seen in the southern, French portion, is the flag of the Collectivity of Saint Martin. This is a white flag with a blue and green ribbon that makes up the letters “S” and “M” in an artistic way. The flag also says “Saint Martin” and “French Caribbean” in both English in French. The blue and green ribbon are intertwined to denote unity. This is an unofficial flag of St. Martin.
The Dutch fly a different national flag on the northern half of the island. The right side of the flag is divided in half horizontally with the top half red and the bottom being blue. The left side of the flag is a white triangle extending from the two left corners to the center of the flag, dividing the red and blue sections. On the white triangle is the coat of arms of Sint Maarten. The coat of arms depicts the sun at the top of the shield and the country’s motto at the bottom. On the shield is the courthouse of Sint Maarten with an orange sage, the country’s national flower, to the left, and the border monument on the right. A brown pelican is flying above the shield. This flag was officially adopted in 1985. The red in this flag symbolizes bloodshed, while the blue represents peace. The white is for purity and faith.
St. Martin is a small island with two official flags, two cultures, and two official languages, French and Dutch, though English is predominant throughout. Though divided, this small island has shared the land peacefully for more than 350 years. The border between the two nations is barely visible as natives and visitors enjoy the many different aspects of this beautiful place.