March 15, 2016

2382 FRANCE (Saint Martin) - Île Tintamarre

Île Tintamarre is a small island with an area of approximately 0.8 square kilometres, located at about 3km from the Northernest coast of the island of Saint Martin, now uninhabited. In the 18th century, after the French had retrieved it from the English, who had held it for some 40 years, it had approximately 150 inhabitants. It was owned by a succession of persons from Saint Christopher, who resisted French efforts to take possession of the island.

Then it passed to the van Romondt family. The first was Diederik Johannes van Romondt (1781-1849), who arrived from Holland in 1801, and served as governor of Sint Maarten from 1820 to 1840. From that time for more than a century the van Romondts were the undisputed leaders and social arbiters. The last member having the van Romondt name was Diederik Christian (1871-1948) who died at the age of 76 at Mary's Fancy, his estate in Dutch Cul de Sac.

Because of a dispute over property taxes, in 1902 Diederik Christian moved to the Isle of Tintamarre, and he reigned unmolested in almost regal independence. For the people working for him he founded a shop on the island, and in 1913 he imported 30,000 Dutch cents, which were circulated among them as a currency of his own. He raised 70 head of cattle and about 540 sheep, grew fine sea island cotton, and made cheese and butter which were renowned throughout the West Indies.

In 1931 he sold the island to Louis Constant Fleming, a merchant and mayor of Marigot, and the following year returned to Mary's Fancy. There are many rumours about U boat activity around Tintamarre during WWII. In 1946, when there were no airports on French St Martin, St Barths or Guadaloupe, Remy de Haenen founded the Compagnie Aerienne Antillaise. Until 1950, Tintamarre was the base for CAA, which flew planes from the island's 500m airstrip (no longer existent).

About the stamp
The stamp belong to the definitive series Marianne de la jeunesse, about which I wrote here.

Tintamarre Island, history by Andrew MacDonald

Sender: Denise
Sent from Marigot (Saint Martin / France), on 22.08.2015
Photo: Cyril Exbrayat

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