Island, Leeward Islands, eastern West Indies. It is located northwest of Saint Kitts and Nevis and covers an area of 33 sq mi (85 sq km). Saint Martin was discovered by Christopher Columbus and was divided in 1648 between the French and the Dutch. The northern section of the island, Saint-Martin (20 sq mi [52 sq km]; pop., 1999: 29,078), was formerly a dependency of the French overseas department of Guadeloupe but attained separate status as an overseas collectivity of France in 2007; its chief town is Marigot. The island's southern section, Sint Maarten (13 sq mi [34 sq km]; pop., 2005 est.: 35,035), is administratively part of the Netherlands Antilles; its main town is the island's capital, Philipsburg. The island's economy is based on tourism.