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Saint Martin

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Major Cities of Saint Martin in the Geographic Region of Central America and the Caribbean

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THE SAINT MARTIN COAT OF ARMS
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Saint Martin in France.svg
Location of Saint Martin within the Geographic Region of Central America and the Caribbean
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Map of Saint Martin
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Flag Description of Saint Martin: St. Martin is a part of the French overseas department of Guadeloupe, and therefore flies the flag of France.

The French national flag - the tricolore - consists of three vertical bands of equal width, displaying the country's national colors: blue, white and red. The blue band is positioned nearest the flag-staff, the white in the middle, and the red on the outside.

Red, white and blue have come to represent liberty, equality and fraternity - the ideals of the French Revolution. Blue and red are also the time-honored colors of Paris, while white is the color of the Royal House of Bourbon.

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Saint Martin - Sint Maarten: Almanac

  • Official Names: St. Martin, Sint Maarten.
  • Capitals: Marigot (St. Martin), Philipsburg (St. Maarten).
  • Population: St. Martin, 35,518; St. Maarten, 37,459.
  • Total Area: St. Martin/St. Maarten, 37 sq mi/96 sq km
  • Languages: Official: French (St. Martin), Dutch (St. Maarten); in St. Maarten English is almost universally spoken, and many people in French St. Martin can speak some English.
  • Climate: Tropical.
  • Economy: Tourism.
  • Government: St. Martin is a subprefecture of Guadeloupe, which is an Overseas Region of France. St. Maarten is an autonomous region of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant.
  • Currency: St. Martin: Euros (€). 100 cents = 1 Euro. St. Maarten: Netherlands Antilles florin or guilder (NAG). 100 cents = 1 NAG. Credit cards and traveler’s checks accepted in urban and tourist areas.
  • Time Zone: Atlantic; 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
  • Telecommunications: Good. Country code for Dutch side is 599. Island code is 5. Country code for the French side is 590. No city or island code needed.
  • Electricity: St. Martin, 220 V; St. Maarten, 110 V.

Background of Saint Martin

Saint-Martin, also spelled Saint Martin, overseas collectivity of France on the island of Saint Martin, Lesser Antilles, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The collectivity of Saint-Martin occupies the northern two-thirds of the island; the southern third, named Sint Maarten, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, is an autonomous country within the Dutch kingdom. Until February 2007 Saint-Martin was a commune and, together with Saint-Barthélemy, an arrondissement of the French overseas département of Guadeloupe. Marigot is the capital.

Vegetation on Saint-Martin consists primarily of dry forest with groves of latania (a kind of fan palm) and cactus. There is an airport at Grand Case, near Marigot. Elsewhere on the island in the Dutch sector, Princess Juliana International Airport, west of Philipsburg, serves both the Dutch and the French parts of the island. Marigot is an important port and trade centre.

The island was sighted by Christopher Columbus in November 1493 and was claimed by several European powers—notably the Dutch and French, who partitioned the island in 1648. The French portion came under the jurisdiction of the government in the colony of Guadeloupe. The sugarcane industry—which utilized slave labour—became the mainstay of the Saint-Martin economy. Slavery was abolished in 1848, and the economy languished for a time. In the 1970s Saint-Martin began developing its tourism sector; the island is now a major Caribbean tourist destination.

Spurred by popular feeling in Saint-Martin favouring independence, Guadeloupe began preparing in the mid-1990s for the devolution of Saint-Martin and its change in political status to that of an overseas collectivity. Voters approved the change in 2003, which took effect in February 2007. The collectivity, while remaining a part of France, has broad authority over its own fiscal and legislative affairs. The president of France is the head of state, represented by a local prefect. Saint-Martin also sends a representative and a senator to the French Parliament. The government is headed by the president of the unicameral legislature, a 23-member Territorial Council. The executive branch consists of a seven-member Executive Council elected by the Territorial Council. Members of the legislative and executive branches serve five-year terms. There is also an Economic, Social, and Cultural Council that is consulted on fiscal and developmental matters as well as social and cultural projects. On July 16, 2007, Louis-Constant Fleming was elected the first president of the Territorial Council. Area 21 square miles (55 square km). Pop. (2008 est.) 36,661.

Geography of Saint Martin

St-martin-geography-1.png
http://www.stmartinisland.org/


The island of St. Martin sits at the heart of the Antilles Archipelago in the Northern Hemisphere, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator. More precisely, it lies towards the north of the Lesser Antilles, created when the Atlantic Plate slid under the Caribbean Plate to form the string of islands that includes St. Martin. Approximately 240km to the south east is the island of Guadeloupe. Saint Martin faces out towards the Atlantic on its eastern side and is washed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea on the west coast. With a total surface area of 88km², the island is 15km long and 13km wide at its longest and widest points.

The island of St. Martin occupies a central position midway between Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe at the heart of the Caribbean Sea, and is the closest part of France to US shores.

St. Martin is a three-and-a-half-hour flight from New York, a two-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami (Florida), an hour and a half away from Caracas (Venezuela), and 45 minutes from the islands of Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico. The island lies at around 7,000km and eight flight hours from Europe. Neighbouring islands include Anguilla, St Barts, Saba, Statia, Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Longitude : 63.5° West / Latitude : 18.5° North Average elevation above sea level: 20 meters Highest point : Pic Paradis at 424 meters

Saint-Martin Located in the northern part of the island, the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin has a total surface area of approximately 54km². The inhabitants are known as Saint Martiners. Most of the island’s built-up areas are situated in its low-lying zones along the coast. The capital city is Marigot, where the “Hôtel de la collectivité”, prefecture and most of the collectivity’s administrative buildings and services are located. Other towns and districts include Grand Case, Colombier, Cul-de-Sac, Quartier d’Orléans, Nettle Bay and Terres Basses.

Sint-Maarten The Dutch part of the island, Sint-Maarten, covers a total surface area of around 34km². The inhabitants are known as Sint Maartiners. Located in the southern section of the island, St. Maarten was part of the Netherlands Antilles, a group of five islands that included Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Statia and St. Maarten. On October 10th 2010 Sint Maarten became a country within the Dutch Kingdom. The Dutch government remains responsible for defence and international politics within this autonomous status. This change of status puts and end to the Netherland Antilles that were created in 1956. Sint Maarten’s capital is Philipsburg, where the Parliament and most administrative buildings and services can be found. Other towns include Simpson Bay, Madame Estate, Cul de Sac, Dutch Quarter, Cole Bay, Oyster Pond, South Reward, St Peters, Pointe Blanche, Middle Region, Cay Hill, Upper Prince’s Quarter and Lower Prince’s Quarter. Sint Maarten’s built-up areas are mainly concentrated in low-lying zones along the coast, but are starting to spread into the hilly areas inland.


Demography of St. Martin

Saint Martin People Stats

  • Age structure > 0-14 years:

The distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group (0-14 years, 15-64 years, 65 years and over). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older populations (high percentage ages 65 and over) need to invest more in the health sector. The age structure can also be used to help predict potential political issues. For example, the rapid growth of a young adult population unable to find employment can lead to unrest.

  • Age structure > 15-24 years:

This entry is derived from People > Age structure, which provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group as follows: 0-14 years (children), 15-24 years (early working age), 25-54 years (prime working age), 55-64 years (mature working age), 65 years and over (elderly). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older populations (high percentage ages 65 and over) need to invest more in the health sector. The age structure can also be used to help predict potential political issues. For example, the rapid growth of a young adult population unable to find employment can lead to unrest.

  • Age structure > 15-64 years:

The distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group (0-14 years, 15-64 years, 65 years and over). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older populations (high percentage ages 65 and over) need to invest more in the health sector. The age structure can also be used to help predict potential political issues. For example, the rapid growth of a young adult population unable to find employment can lead to unrest.

  • Age structure > 25-54 years:

This entry is derived from People > Age structure, which provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group as follows: 0-14 years (children), 15-24 years (early working age), 25-54 years (prime working age), 55-64 years (mature working age), 65 years and over (elderly). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older populations (high percentage ages 65 and over) need to invest more in the health sector. The age structure can also be used to help predict potential political issues. For example, the rapid growth of a young adult population unable to find employment can lead to unrest.

  • Age structure > 55-64 years:

This entry is derived from People > Age structure, which provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by

  • sex and age group as follows:

0-14 years (children), 15-24 years (early working age), 25-54 years (prime working age), 55-64 years (mature working age), 65 years and over (elderly). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older populations (high percentage ages 65 and over) need to invest more in the health sector. The age structure can also be used to help predict potential political issues. For example, the rapid growth of a young adult population unable to find employment can lead to unrest.

  • Age structure > 65 years and over:

The distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group (0-14 years, 15-64 years, 65 years and over). The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues. Countries with young populations (high percentage under age 15) need to invest more in schools, while countries with older populations (high percentage ages 65 and over) need to invest more in the health sector. The age structure can also be used to help predict potential political issues. For example, the rapid growth of a young adult population unable to find employment can lead to unrest."

  • Ethnic groups:

This entry provides a rank ordering of ethnic groups starting with the largest and normally includes the percent of total population.

  • Median age > Total:

This entry is derived from People > Median age, which is the age that divides a population into two numerically equal groups; that is, half the people are younger than this age and half are older. It is a single index that summarizes the age distribution of a population. Currently, the median age ranges from a low of about 15 in Uganda and Gaza Strip to 40 or more in several European countries and Japan. See the entry for "Age structure" for the importance of a young versus an older age structure and, by implication, a low versus a higher median age.

  • Population:

Population, total refers to the total population.

  • Population > CIA Factbook:

This entry gives an estimate from the US Bureau of the Census based on statistics from population censuses, vital statistics registration systems, or sample surveys pertaining to the recent past and on assumptions about future trends. The total population presents one overall measure of the potential impact of the country on the world and within its region.

Note: starting with the 1993 Factbook, demographic estimates for some countries (mostly African) have explicitly taken into account the effects of the growing impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These countries are currently: The Bahamas, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

  • Religions:

This entry is an ordered listing of religions by adherents starting with the largest group and sometimes includes the percent of total population. The core characteristics and beliefs of the world's major religions are described below.

Baha'i - Founded by Mirza Husayn-Ali (known as Baha'u'llah) in Iran in 1852, Baha'i faith emphasizes monotheism and believes in one eternal transcendent God. Its guiding focus is to encourage the unity of all peoples on the earth so that justice and peace may be achieved on earth. Baha'i revelation contends the prophets of major world religions reflect some truth or element of the divine, believes all were manifestations of God given to specific communities in specific times, and that Baha'u'llah is an additional prophet meant to call all humankind. Bahais are an open community, located worldwide, with the greatest concentration of believers in South Asia.
Buddhism - Religion or philosophy inspired by the 5th century B.C. teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (also known as Gautama Buddha "the enlightened one"). Buddhism focuses on the goal of spiritual enlightenment centered on an understanding of Gautama Buddha's Four Noble Truths on the nature of suffering, and on the Eightfold Path of spiritual and moral practice, to break the cycle of suffering of which we are a part. Buddhism ascribes to a karmic system of rebirth. Several schools and sects of Buddhism exist, differing often on the nature of the Buddha, the extent to which enlightenment can be achieved - for one or for all, and by whom - religious orders or laity.

Basic Groupings

  • Theravada Buddhism:

The oldest Buddhist school, Theravada is practiced mostly in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, and Thailand, with minority representation elsewhere in Asia and the West. Theravadans follow the Pali Canon of Buddha's teachings, and believe that one may escape the cycle of rebirth, worldly attachment, and suffering for oneself; this process may take one or several lifetimes.

Mahayana Buddhism, including subsets Zen and Tibetan (Lamaistic) Buddhism: Forms of Mahayana Buddhism are common in East Asia and Tibet, and parts of the West. Mahayanas have additional scriptures beyond the Pali Canon and believe the Buddha is eternal and still teaching. Unlike Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana schools maintain the Buddha-nature is present in all beings and all will ultimately achieve enlightenment.
  • Hoa Hao: a minority tradition of Buddhism practiced in Vietnam that stresses lay participation, primarily by peasant farmers; it eschews

Saint Martin Economy Stats

Overview: The economy of Saint Martin centers around tourism with 85% of the labor force engaged in this sector. Over one million visitors come to the island each year with most arriving through the Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten. No significant agriculture and limited local fishing means that almost all food must be imported. Energy resources and manufactured goods are also imported, primarily from Mexico and the United States. Saint Martin is reported to have the highest per capita income in the Caribbean.


  • Exchange rates: The official value of a country's monetary unit at a given date or over a given period of time, as expressed in units of local currency per US dollar and as determined by international market forces or official fiat.
  • GDP > Composition by sector > Agriculture: The gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods produced by the agricultural sector within a nation in a given year. GDP dollar estimates in the Factbook are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations. See the CIA World Factbook for more information.
  • GDP > Composition by sector > Industry: The gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods produced by the industrial sector within a nation in a given year. GDP dollar estimates in the Factbook are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations. See the CIA World Factbook for more information.
  • GDP > Composition by sector > Services: The gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final services produced within a nation in a given year. GDP dollar estimates in the Factbook are derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations. See the CIA World Factbook for more information.
  • GDP > Composition, by sector of origin > Services: This entry is derived from Economy > GDP > Composition, by sector of origin, which shows where production takes place in an economy. The distribution gives the percentage contribution of agriculture, industry, and services to total GDP, and will total 100 percent of GDP if the data are complete. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other private economic activities that do not produce material goods.
  • GDP > Official exchange rate: This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at offical exchange rates (OER) is the home-currency-denominated annual GDP figure divided by the bilateral average US exchange rate with that country in that year. The measure is simple to compute and gives a precise measure of the value of output. Many economists prefer this measure when gauging the economic power an economy maintains vis-a-vis its neighbors, judging that an exchange rate captures the purchasing power a nation enjoys in the international marketplace. Official exchange rates, however, can be artifically fixed and/or subject to manipulation - resulting in claims of the country having an under- or over-valued currency - and are not necessarily the equivalent of a market-determined exchange rate. Moreover, even if the official exchange rate is market-determined, market exchange rates are frequently established by a relatively small set of goods and services (the ones the country trades) and may not capture the value of the larger set of goods the country produces. Furthermore, OER-converted GDP is not well suited to comparing domestic GDP over time, since appreciation/depreciation from one year to the next will make the OER GDP value rise/fall regardless of whether home-currency-denominated GDP changed.
  • GDP > Per capita > PPP: This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population as of 1 July for the same year.
  • GDP > Purchasing power parity: This entry gives the gross domestic product (GDP) or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's
  • GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States. This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. The measure is difficult to compute, as a US dollar value has to be assigned to all goods and services in the country regardless of whether these goods and services have a direct equivalent in the United States (for example, the value of an ox-cart or non-US military equipment); as a result, PPP estimates for some countries are based on a small and sometimes different set of goods and services. In addition, many countries do not formally participate in the World Bank's PPP project that calculates these measures, so the resulting GDP estimates for these countries may lack precision. For many developing countries, PPP-based GDP measures are multiples of the official exchange rate (OER) measure. The difference between the OER- and PPP-denominated GDP values for most of the weathly industrialized countries are generally much smaller.
  • Imports > Commodities: This entry provides a listing of the highest-valued imported products; it sometimes includes the percent of total dollar value.
  • Industries: A rank ordering of industries starting with the largest by value of annual output.
  • Labor force: This entry contains the total labor force figure.

Saint Martin Government Stats

Constitution: The dates of adoption, revisions, and major amendments to a nation's constitution

  • Country name > Conventional long form: This entry is derived from Government > Country name, which includes all forms of the country's name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (Italy is used as an example): conventional long form (Italian Republic), conventional short form (Italy), local long form (Repubblica Italiana), local short form (Italia), former (Kingdom of Italy), as well as the abbreviation. Also see the Terminology note.
  • Country name > Conventional short form: This entry is derived from Government > Country name, which includes all forms of the country's name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names (Italy is used as an example): conventional long form (Italian Republic), conventional short form (Italy), local long form (Repubblica Italiana), local short form (Italia), former (Kingdom of Italy), as well as the abbreviation. Also see the Terminology note.
  • Executive branch > Cabinet: Cabinet includes the official name for any body of high-ranking advisers roughly comparable to a U.S. Cabinet. Also notes the method for selection of members.
  • Executive branch > Elections: Elections includes the nature of election process or accession to power, date of the last election, and date of the next election
  • Executive branch > Head of government: Head of government includes the name and title of the top administrative leader who is designated to manage the day-to-day activities of the government. For example, in the UK, the monarch is the chief of state, and the prime minister is the head of government. In the US, the president is both the chief of state and the head of government.
  • Flag description: A written flag description produced from actual flags or the best information available at the time the entry was written. The flags of independent states are used by their dependencies unless there is an officially recognized local flag. Some disputed and other areas do not have flags.
  • Independence: For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession. Dependent areas include the notation "none" followed by the nature of their dependency status. "
  • International organization participation: This entry lists in alphabetical order by abbreviation those international organizations in which the subject country is a member or participates in some other way.
  • Legal system: A brief description of the legal system's historical roots, role in government, and acceptance of International Court of Justice (ICJ) jurisdiction.
  • Legislative branch: This entry contains information on the structure (unicameral, bicameral, tricameral), formal name, number of seats, and term of office. Elections includes the nature of election process or accession to power, date of the last election, and date of the next election. Election results includes the percent of vote and/or number of seats held by each party in the last election.
  • National holiday: The primary national day of celebration - often independence day.
  • Political parties and leaders: Significant political organizations and their leaders.
  • Political pressure groups and leaders: Organizations with leaders involved in politics, but not standing for legislative election.
  • Suffrage: The age at enfranchisement and whether the right to vote is universal or restricted


Art and Culture in St Martin / St Maarten

Although St Martin and St Maarten have one of the most developed tourism infrastructures in the Caribbean, their cultural life remains rich. Attractions include historic sites, art galleries and an annual carnival. There are significant cultural differences between the French and Dutch sides of the island. Carnival in St Maarten is larger and more grandiose than it is in St Martin, and the restaurants on the French side of the island are among the best in the Caribbean.

History of Saint Martin

A Walk Through History

The story of St. Maarten begins far to the south, in a region of the Amazon jungle known as the Orinoco river basin. It was from here that the island's first inhabitants--the Arawaks--migrated about a thousand years ago. They island-hopped north through the Caribbean, living peacefully off the bounty of the surrounding sea. The Arawaks who came to St. Maarten called their new home "Sualouiga," or "Land of Salt," naming it after the island's abundant salt pans.

The tranquility of the Arawaks would not last for long. They were followed by another Amazonian group, the Caribs. A warrior people, the Caribs steadily pushed the Arawaks off St. Maarten and took the island for themselves--only to lose it in turn to the Europeans. Christopher Columbus sighted the island on November 11, 1493, the holy day of St. Martin of Tours. He claimed it for Spain the same day, and it is from this day that the island bears its name.

Obsessed with the greater conquests of Mexico and South America, the Spanish ignored St. Maarten. It was virtually forgotten by Europeans until the 1620s, when Dutch settlers began extracting salt from St. Maarten's ponds and exporting it back to the Netherlands. The island's commercial possibilities soon caught the attention of the Spanish, who drove off the Dutch in 1633 and erected a fort to assert their authority. Known as the Old Spanish Fort, this bastion still stands at Point Blanche. In 1644, a Dutch fleet under the command of Peter Stuyvesant attempted unsuccessfully to retake the island. Stuyvesant, who later became governor of New Amsterdam (present-day New York), lost a leg to a Spanish cannonball during the fighting. Although Stuyvesant was buried in New York, his leg rests in a cemetery in Curaçao.

Events in Europe soon affected the island's destiny. With the end of the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands, the Spanish no longer needed a base in the Caribbean. They left St. Maarten, and the island was soon claimed by both the French (who sailed over from St. Kitts) and the Dutch (from St. Eustatius). After some skirmishes, the two powers signed a treaty in 1648 which divided the island between them. Although its historical truth is somewhat less than ironclad, local legend claims that a Dutchman and Frenchman stood back to back and walked in opposite directions around the shoreline, drawing the boundary from the spot where they met. As for why the French ended up with more land, the story notes the Dutchman's progress was slowed by the large quantity of Geneve that he required for the walk.

The neighbours did not coexist peacefully at first, and the territory changed hands sixteen times between 1648 and 1816. Nonetheless, the Dutch side of the island soon became an important trading center for salt, cotton, and tobacco. Wealth also arrived with the establishment of sugar plantations, worked by slave labor. When slavery was abolished in the mid-19th century, the plantations closed down and St. Maarten's prosperity ended. For the next one hundred years, the island sank into an economic depression.

The situation began to change in 1939, when all import and export taxes were rescinded and the island became a free port. Princess Juliana International Airport opened in 1943, and four years later the island's first hotel, the Sea View, welcomed its first guests. In the next few decades, St. Maarten boomed as an international trading and tourism center. Today, Dutch St. Maarten has nearly 3,000 hotel rooms and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year.

Disclaimer

This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, [1],[2], [3], [4], [5],[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24],[25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30],[31], [32], [33], [34], and the [35].

Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.