The Dutch arrived in the 1620s and began to harvesting and exporting the island's salt ponds. Salt being such a valuable commodity, the Spanish and the French arrived soon afterwards to get a piece of the action and for the next 20 years, the three countries fought over control of the island. In 1648 the French and the Dutch drove the Spanish off the island for good and agreed to divide it between themselves.
Local legend says that to divide the island, it was agreed that a Frenchman would walk south, starting at the northern tip of the island while a Dutchman would walk north, starting from the southernmost point. Where they eventually met, would be the dividing line. Apparently the Frenchman brought a bottle of wine to drink along the way (but of course!), while the Dutchman drank beer while he walked and as he had to make frequent stops to pee, the French got the larger share of the island!
Until the end of 18th century, the island's main economy came from salt and sugarcane but today the island’s main industry is tourism, not surprising considering its many beautiful beaches and surrounding blue turquoise seas. The Dutch side is a lively place with an abundance of high rises, beach resorts, bars, casinos, shopping venues and nightlife. Philipsburg, the capital, hosts the port and large cruise ship docks.
The French side, where Taka Trois is moored, is more under-stated and relaxed with a touch of sophistication. The resorts and beaches tend to be quieter and more secluded. Marigot, its main town, has a Mediterranean atmosphere with open-air markets, shops, cafes, and excellent restaurants lining the waterfront. It is a place where we love to walk around enjoying the atmosphere and have a hot chocolate and a croissant or a glass of rosé wine in one of the charming little cafés. It's a taste of home, France that is, with all the warmth of the Caribbean--sheer bliss!