The first European settlers on St. Maarten were: the Dutch
They officially claimed the island in 1631 and built a Fort on the peninsula, between Great Bay and Little Bay.
The Spanish invaded the island in 1633. At the time the population consisted of 95 Dutch men, 2 Dutch women, 20 Negro men and 10 Negro women, and one Indian woman. The Dutch loss of St Maarten, led to the conquest of Curaçao.
The Spanish occupied St. Maarten until 1648. During their occupation they expanded the fort. The Dutch made an attempt to recapture St. Maarten in 1644. Stuyvesant failed to do so and lost his leg during this battle.
In 1874 Fort Amsterdam was used for the last time with the firing of a canon in honor of King William III silver reigning anniversary.
In 1987 a group of Dutch archaeologists, coordinated by Jan Baart archaeologist of the city of Amsterdam excavated a large portion of the fort during their three month stay. Some of the most important findings were the skeleton of a Spanish officer who died in the battle with the Dutch in 1644 and artifacts presenting the Spanish, Dutch and English occupations.