Category Archives: Stories of St. Martin

Analysis of Soils

During St. Martin’s agricultural past, people had to understand the land. Much farming knowledge in the Caribbean was passed down from African and Amerindian traditions. These two cultures had experience with tropical crops, and their methods are still used today. In a little brown notebook Pierre Beauperthuy’s collection at The Old House we find another …

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For Improving Rum

The little brown book from Pierre Beauperthuy’s collection at The Old House is full of old knowledge. It contains recipes for medicines and techniques for making glue. It was carefully written. The pages were numbered. It contained very important things that had to be remembered. Like how to make rum better. There are some clues …

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For Mending Coppers

A little brown book from Pierre Beauperthuy’s collection at The Old House is full of handwritten recipes for cures. Various entries indicate it is from St. Martin in the 1800s, although we don’t yet know exactly when it is from, or who wrote it. Entries in different handwritings, using both English and French, show that …

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A Book of Cures

The little brown notebook is warped with water damage. It’s small enough to fit into a coat pocket and about 100 pages thick. Inside is local medical knowledge from a long time ago. It is all carefully written in script that is mostly still legible today. On the inside front cover is a quick primer …

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Beyond a Drought

Why is it so dry right now on St. Martin? The answer is pretty pretty complex, and a bit scary, too. For starters, spring is the dry season. This time of year, the island is usually as dry as it gets. That’s why people go camping on Easter and why you should never schedule an …

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Rice and Peas

The combination of rice and peas or beans is loved all over the Caribbean and has many variations. What are the roots of rice and peas on St. Martin, and why is this dish so popular? In St. Martin and the rest of the Eastern Caribbean, the Pigeon Pea (Cajanus cajan) is typically used in …

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Survivors

Nature on St. Martin is precious. It’s precious because it’s unique. It’s precious because it lives on through drought and hurricane. It’s precious because it protects us from floods and landslides. It’s precious because it is the natural heritage of everyone on the island. It’s precious because there isn’t so much of it left. It’s …

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Caribbean Cool

Traditional Caribbean houses were designed to stay cool in the tropical heat. There was no air conditioning, so builders used wind, shade and stone to make houses cool. The location of a home, the direction it faced and what was built around it could all make a difference. There were also many design elements that …

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5,000 Years of Eco

The idea of being eco-friendly is spreading on St. Martin. We can see images from around the world of birds, sea turtles, and even whales that died after eating plastics. We find litter on our own beaches, and the eternal fire of the Philipsburg dump is a constant reminder that we are making more waste …

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The Skinks of Tintamarre

Skinks are small, shiny lizards. With their sleek bodies and small legs they look like they want to be snakes, and maybe could be in a million years or so. For most of history, the skinks of the eastern Caribbean were all lumped into one species. Herpetologists—scientists who study reptiles and amphibians—knew that these skinks …

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