In Terres Basses

I’d love to know more about the history of Terres Basses, the lowlands area to the west of the Simpson Bay Lagoon. From what I can gather, it was mostly uninhabited and unused until the mid-1950s, when most of it was bought by an investor from the US Virgin Islands. One gentleman I spoke with recalled the area from his childhood, when his father was helping to build some of the first villas in the area. He mentioned that there used to be a sand road through the area that was at times entirely covered with red crabs. Apparently workers from Guadeloupe who had come up to do construction were amazed that St. Martiners didn’t eat the crabs.

Because the area is relatively flat and dry, it was probably of little agricultural value, leaving little incentive to make the area accessible. Apparently the first real road was built privately, starting in 1963, turned over to the government in 1968 and only paved in 1975. As fascinating as it would be to know the history of the area before the first tourist development, perhaps there wasn’t much history there to speak of.

Below are a few photos of animals seen on a recent visit to Terres Basses. Because the area is somewhat separated from the rest of Saint Martin, it could potentially host some species that are not found, or rarely found, on the rest of the island. The spider with the green abdomen (probably some kind of Eustala), for example, I have seen only in that area. It was also interesting to find two tetrio sphinx caterpillars that were not on frangipani plants, which is their normal larval host.

One Response to “In Terres Basses”

  1. Christian Alexander Papaliolios Says:

    Nice pic’s Mark…save for the vile Rat Paw!