Saint barthelemy

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Introduction - Saint Barthelemy:


Saint Barthelemy


Discovered in 1493 by Christopher COLUMBUS who named it for his brother Bartolomeo, St. Barthelemy was first settled by the French in 1648. In 1784, the French sold the island to Sweden, who renamed the largest town Gustavia, after the Swedish King GUSTAV III, and made it a free port; the island prospered as a trade and supply center during the colonial wars of the 18th century. France repurchased the island in 1878 and placed it under the administration of Guadeloupe. St. Barthelemy retained its free port status along with various Swedish appelations such as Swedish street and town names, and the three-crown symbol on the coat of arms. In 2003, the populace of the island voted to secede from Guadeloupe and in 2007, the island became a French overseas collectivity.

Location - Saint Barthelemy:


located approximately 125 miles northwest of Guadeloupe

Geographic coordinates

17 90 N 62 85 W

Map references

Central America and the Caribbean


21 sq km

Area comparative

less than an eighth of the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


Current Weather

tropical, with practically no variation in temperature; has two seasons (dry and humid)


hilly, almost completely surrounded by shallow-water reefs, with 20 beaches

Elevation extremes

lowest point: Caribbean Ocean 0 m
highest point: Morne du Vitet 286 m

Natural resources

has few natural resouces, its beaches being the most important

Environment current issues

with no natural rivers or streams, fresh water is in short supply, especially in summer, and provided by desalinization of sea water, collection of rain water, or imported via water tanker

People - Saint Barthelemy:


6,852 (1999 March census)

Ethnic groups

white, Creole (mulatto), black, Guadeloupe Mestizo (French-East Asia)


Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovahs Witness

Transportation note

nearest airport for international flights is Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) located in Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles)


French (primary), English

Government - Saint Barthelemy:

Country name

conventional long form: Overseas Collectivity of Saint Barthelemy
conventional short form: Saint Barthelemy
local long form: Collectivite doutre mer de Saint-Barthelemy
local short form: Saint-Barthelemy


name: Gustavia
geographic coordinates: 17 53 N, 62 51 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour behind Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight savings: +1 hour, starts 20 March and ends 17 October


none (overseas collectivity of France)

National holiday

Bastille Day, 14 July (1789); note - local holiday is St. Barthelemy Day, 24 August


4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system

the laws of France, where applicable, apply


18 years of age, universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nicolas SARKOZY (since 16 May 2007), represented by Prefect Dominique LACROIX (since 21 March 2007)
head of government: President of the Territorial Council Bruno MAGRAS (since 16 July 2007)
cabinet: Executive Council; note - there is also an advisory, economic, social, and cultural council
elections: French president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior; president of the Territorial Council is elected by the members of the Council for a five-year term
election results: Bruno MAGRAS unanimously elected president by the Territorial Council on 16 July 2007

Legislative branch

unicameral Territorial Council (19 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 1 and 8 July 2007 (next to be held July 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - SBA 72.2%, other 27.8%; seats by party - SBA 16, other 3

Political parties and leaders

Saint-Barth dAbord! or SBA [Bruno MAGRAS]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

none (overseas collectivity of France)

Diplomatic representation from the us

none (overseas collectivity of France)

Flag description

the flag of France is used

Economy - Saint Barthelemy:

Economy overview

The economy of Saint Barthelemy is based upon high-end tourism and duty-free luxury commerce, serving visitors primarily from North America. The luxury hotels and villas host 70,000 visitors each year with another 130,000 arriving by boat. The relative isolation and high cost of living inhibits mass tourism. The construction and public sectors also enjoy significant investment in support of tourism. With limited fresh water resources, all food must be imported, as must all energy resources and most manufactured goods. Employment is strong and attracts labor from Brazil and Portugal.

Currency code

euro (EUR); note - US dollar (USD) widely used

Exchange rates

euros per US dollar - 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002)

Communications - Saint Barthelemy:

Telephone system

general assessment: fully integrated access
domestic: direct dial capability with both fixed and wireless systems
international: undersea fiber-optic cable provides voice and data connectivity to Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe; country code - 590

Internet country code

.gp; note - ccTLD for Guadeloupe remains in effect

Transportation - Saint Barthelemy:



Airports with paved runways

total: 1
under 914 m: 1

Military - Saint Barthelemy:
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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