Fort Amsterdam (Great Bay, Sint Maarten) — Fort Amsterdam was the first fort to be built by Dutch settlers in the Caribbean, in 1631. The Spaniards seized the fort two years later and chose to enlarge it and strengthen its defences in order to protect the sea route to the Greater Antilles and Puerto Rico and to control access to Great Bay, opposite Philipsburg. In 1644, Peter Stuyvesant, founder of New York, then New Netherland, lost a leg in an attempt to recapture the fort for the Dutch. When the Spanish abandoned the island in 1648, the fort was destroyed. Ruins and foundations have been uncovered in recent archaeological digs. In 1737 the Dutch proclaimed it Fort Amsterdam. It was then occupied successively by the French and English until 1816.