......When first Dutch settlers became awareof the importance of the
island, mostly because of the presence of salt in the saltponds, they
built Fort Amsterdam in 1631.
In the years thereafter, St.Maaren changed hands many times, so battles
among Spanish, English and Dutch occurred frequently.
On Sunday January 29, 1995, history was made by removing five cannons and their
carriages from Fort Amsterdam.
The cannons were placed on the fort by the English during their occupation
of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin from 1801-1816.
One cannon has the coat of arms from King George, with the letters GR: George
The cannons and especially their carriages are in a bad state of repair. During
a visit of the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles to the insular Department
of Physical Planning and Environment (VROM), Brigade General F.E. van Kappen of
the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, offered to restore the five cannons.
With the cooperation of the Department of VROM, the Divi Group and the Heritage
Foundation, this offer is becoming a reality. So, after almost two hundred years
on Fort Amsterdam, the cannons and their Carriages wore picked up by the men from
MIDAS (thanks Johnny !) and taken to the harbor where the Dutch Navy Supply Ship
"Pelikaan" was waiting for them.
The Commander of the Pelikaan and his crew were very proud to receive the historical
artifacts. They will take them to the Curaçao Navy Base at Parera, where they
will be restored. This will take about a year, after which they will be returned
to their original place on the ramparts of Fort Amsterdam.
You will find weapens, utensils, artifacts, part of a skeleton and tools
of this period on display.
The restoration of artifacts is, like the conservation and protection of traditional
Caribbean houses, forts and plantations, all part of the government policy to
preserve the cultural heritage of Sint Maarten. At the department of VROM a
booklet "Proposed Protected Historical Sites and Buildings On Sint Maarten"
can be picked up for free.
This booklet contains pictures and information about monuments which the Island
Government intents to protect as part of the historical patrimony of Sint Maarten.