Philipsburg is the capital of Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of the Caribbean island Saint Martin. Beachfront bars line the boardwalk along Great Bay. Voorstraat, or Front Street, has duty-free shops and casinos. The St. Maarten Zoo is home to parrots, monkeys and a playground. Sint Maarten Museum displays artifacts from the indigenous Arawak people. The ruins of 17th-century Fort Amsterdam stand on a nearby peninsula

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Philipsburg was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy; the settlement soon became a bustling centre of international trade. Two historic forts bear witness to Philipsburg's strategic importance in St. Maarten's history: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.Philipsburg has a tropical savannah climate and is drier than most parts of the northeastern Caribbean due to a rain shadow from the island's mountains, drying the northeast trade winds. The driest months are from January to July, and the wettest from September to November, when hurricanes are a frequent occurrence in the region.