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Bishop of Tours in France from c. 371 till his death in c. 400. Born c. 316 in Pannonia (Hungary), educated at Pavia in Italy, and became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers. He returned to Pannonia but the Arian party was strong there, and to escape persecution he went to France, founding a monastery near Poitiers.

He was reluctant to become bishop (nolo episcopari) and founded another monastery at Marmoutier for his own use. His life was written by his contemporary Sulpicius Severus. Many miracles were ascribed to St Martin. His cloak (Latin cappa or diminutive cappella) gave rise to the word chapel.


A small island in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, about half way between St Kitts and the Virgin Islands. It has the unusual property that for most of its colonial history it has been divided between France and the Netherlands. The French northern half is called Saint-Martin and is administered from the island of Guadeloupe; the Dutch half is called Sint Maarten and is one of the five members of the Netherlands Antilles.

It was originally (1631) a Dutch colony, then (1633) Spanish. In 1648 it was divided between France and Holland, and this division continued 1648-1690, 1702-1781, 1784-1795, 1802-1810, and from 1816 onwards. At other times one or another colonial power has occupied the whole island: England (later Britain) in 1690, 1781, 1801, and 1810; and France in 1699, 1781, and 1795.

The Dutch half became part of the Dutch West Indies colony (which included Dutch Guiana (now Suriname) in 1828, then the Netherlands Antilles in 1848, together with five other islands; this became an associated state in the Dutch crown in 1954. Between 1919 and 1983 the other tiny islands of Saba and St Eustatius were ruled from St Martin.

The inhabitants have inherited a mix of English and Dutch names: but currently the governor is Franklin Richards and the leader of the government is Sarah Wescott-Williams.

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