Originally a commune of Guadeloupe, the population voted in 2003 to secede from Guadeloupe and become a separate overseas collectivity of France, and on 9 February 2007, the French Parliament passed a bill granting overseas collectivity statuses to both Saint Martin and (separately) the neighbouring Saint Barthelemy. On the 15th of July, 2007, the new status took effect once the local assemblies were elected.
On the 6th and 7th of September, 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the island, destroying 95% of the building on the French side. France sent aid as well as additional police and emergency personnel to the island to deal with looters. On September 10th, France announced that it was sending additional emergency supplies, including water and electrical equipment to help restore the power supply to Saint Martin as an early step to helping the residents survive and rebuild, and on the 12th of September, the president of France, Emanuel Macron, arrived in Saint Martin with emergency supplies and said that by the weekend "many things will be reopened". He also pledged 50 million euros of aid for Saint Martin and said that the rebuilding will be done quickly, but very well. However, some controversy arose as only tourists and visitors from France had been evacuated from Saint Martin at the time, leading to complaints by black and mixed-race residents that whites were being given priority over them.
The St. Martinois flag