Going Back in Time at Fort Amsterdam
In 1631, Dutch settlers arrived to St. Maarten and claimed the island, building what we now know as Fort Amsterdam between Great Bay and Little Bay. This was a great defensive position, situated at the top of cliffs, connected to the mainland, and surrounded by water on three sides; however, in 1633, the Spanish invaded and took over, using the fort as a military post until 1648. When excavated, a variety of artifacts were uncovered at Fort Amsterdam, like a Spanish officer's copper-wire uniform buttons and the skeleton of a Spanish officer who died in battle. Today, visitors can see 19th-century cannons and ruins of radio signal huts and bastions, as well as read informational signs and see a large Brown Pelican breeding area nearby. Bring your camera, as the water views are beautiful.
By Jessie Festa, AFAR Local Expert
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