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Plantation period

Plantation period
The plantation period covers different aspects of the industrial history of the island.
It started with the first Dutch arriving on the island in 1624. When they landed here to repair their ship they soon discovered the great Salt Pond and that the island had no habitants. These two facts led to the interest of other Europeans nations.
With the result that the island frequently changed hands during the following centuries. In 1735 John Philips, born in Arbroth Scotland, was appointed by W.I.C
(Dutch West India Company) as commander of St. Maarten.
He revived and increased the agriculture and salt industry, rebuilt the fort and named it Fort Amsterdam in 1737 and invited more investors (mostly English) to settle on the island. The increase of industry required more labour thus more enslaved Africans were brought in. In 1790 the island reached its peak of prosperity, with 92 small estates. In 1848 slavery was abolished (officially by the Dutch 1863). During this period most of the estates were in a state of decline with only a few remaining active around 1950. Some descendents of enslaved Africans bought/“inherited” the estates of their former “owners”. A few own this property up to this day.