The French and the Dutch have shared the small Caribbean island of St. Martin/St. Maarten, amiably, for over 350 years. Marigot, capital of the French side (Saint-Martin), is a pleasing mix of Gallic elan and Caribbean spice. The aroma of fresh baguettes and croissants fill the morning air, the perfect accompaniment to a mug of dark, steaming coffee.
There is a folkloric story among locals of the island that surrounds the history of the border division between St. Martin and St. Maarten. In order to decide on the dividing line, the inhabitants were told to choose two walkers, one chosen by the French-dominated community and the other one by the Dutch-dominated community. It is recorded that they were made to walk from opposite extremes of the island, while sticking to the lattoral line. The point where they eventually met subsequently created the dividing line that was chosen as the frontier from 1648 until now. Seemingly, the French
walker had walked more than his Dutch counterpart (each earning 20.84 square miles/54 square kilometers and 12.35 square miles/32 square kilometers of land, respectively). As the French man chose wine as his stimulant prior to the race, while the latter chose Jenever (Dutch Gin), the difference between the beverages was said to be the cause of the territorial differences by French locals, while Dutch locals tended to blame the French walker for running.