Central America :: Saint Barthelemy
  • Introduction :: Saint Barthelemy
  • Background:
    Discovered in 1493 by Christopher COLUMBUS who named it for his brother Bartolomeo, Saint Barthelemy was first settled by the French in 1648. In 1784, the French sold the island to Sweden, which 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 1877 and took control the following year. It was placed under the administration of Guadeloupe. Saint Barthelemy retained its free port status along with various Swedish appellations such as Swedish street and town names, and the three-crown symbol on the coat of arms. In 2003, the islanders voted to secede from Guadeloupe, and in 2007, the island became a French overseas collectivity. In 2012, it became an overseas territory of the EU, allowing it to exert local control over the permanent and temporary immigration of foreign workers including non-French European citizens.
  • Geography :: Saint Barthelemy
  • Location:
    Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean; located in the Leeward Islands (northern) group; Saint Barthelemy lies east of the US Virgin Islands
    Geographic coordinates:
    17 90 N, 62 85 W
    Map references:
    Central America and the Caribbean
    Area:
    total: 25 sq km
    land: 25 sq km
    water: negligible
    country comparison to the world: 239
    Area - comparative:
    less than one-eighth the size of Washington, DC
    Land boundaries:
    0 km
    Climate:
    tropical, with practically no variation in temperature; has two seasons (dry and humid)
    Terrain:
    hilly, almost completely surrounded by shallow-water reefs, with plentiful beaches
    Elevation:
    lowest point: Caribbean Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Morne du Vitet 286 m
    Natural resources:
    few natural resources; beaches foster tourism
    Population distribution:
    most of the populace concentrated in and around the capital of Gustavia, but scattered settlements exist around the island periphery
    Environment - current issues:
    land-based pollution; urbanization; with no natural rivers or streams, fresh water is in short supply, especially in summer, and is provided by the desalination of sea water, the collection of rain water, or imported via water tanker; overfishing
    Geography - note:
    a 1,200-hectare marine nature reserve, the Reserve Naturelle, is made up of five zones around the island that form a network to protect the island's coral reefs, seagrass, and endangered marine species
  • People and Society :: Saint Barthelemy
  • Population:
    7,160 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 226
    Ethnic groups:
    other white, Creole (mulatto), black, Guadeloupe Mestizo (French-East Asia)
    Languages:
    French (primary), English
    Religions:
    Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witnesses
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 15.96% (male 587 /female 556)
    15-24 years: 7.26% (male 272 /female 248)
    25-54 years: 43.13% (male 1,682 /female 1,406)
    55-64 years: 16.13% (male 621 /female 534)
    65 years and over: 17.51% (male 631 /female 623) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Median age:
    total: 44.7 years (2018 est.)
    male: 44.6 years
    female: 44.7 years
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Net migration rate:
    -4.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    Population distribution:
    most of the populace concentrated in and around the capital of Gustavia, but scattered settlements exist around the island periphery
    Sex ratio:
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.2 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.16 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.13 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
    NA
    Major infectious diseases:

    note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus

    Education expenditures:
    NA
  • Government :: Saint Barthelemy
  • Country name:
    conventional long form: Overseas Collectivity of Saint Barthelemy
    conventional short form: Saint Barthelemy
    local long form: Collectivite d'outre mer de Saint-Barthelemy
    local short form: Saint-Barthelemy
    abbreviation: Saint-Barth (French); St. Barts or St. Barths (English)
    etymology: explorer Christopher COLUMBUS named the island in honor of his brother Bartolomeo's namesake saint in 1493
    Dependency status:
    overseas collectivity of France
    Government type:
    parliamentary democracy (Territorial Council); overseas collectivity of France
    Capital:
    name: Gustavia
    geographic coordinates: 17 53 N, 62 51 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    etymology: named in honor of King Gustav III (1746-1792) of Sweden during whose reign the island was obtained from France in 1784; the name was retained when in 1878 the island was sold back to France
    Independence:
    none (overseas collectivity of France)
    National holiday:
    Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - local holiday is St. Barthelemy Day, 24 August (1572)
    Constitution:
    history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
    amendments: amendment procedures of France's constitution apply (2018)
    Citizenship:
    see France
    Suffrage:
    18 years of age, universal
    Executive branch:
    chief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017), represented by Prefect Anne LAUBIES (since 8 June 2015)
    head of government: President of Territorial Council Bruno MAGRAS (since 16 July 2007)
    cabinet: Executive Council elected by the Territorial Council; note - there is also an advisory, economic, social, and cultural council
    elections/appointments: French president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of French Ministry of Interior; president of Territorial Council indirectly elected by its members for a 5-year term; election last held on 2 April 2017 (next to be held in 2022)
    election results: Bruno MAGRAS (SBA) reelected president; Territorial Council vote - NA
    Legislative branch:
    description: unicameral Territorial Council (19 seats; members elected by absolute majority vote in the first round vote and proportional representation vote in the second round; members serve 5-year terms); Saint Barthelemy indirectly elects 1 senator to the French Senate by an electoral college for a 6-year term and directly elects 1 deputy (shared with Saint Martin) to the French National Assembly
    elections: Territorial Council - last held on 19 March 2017 (next to be held in September 2022) French Senate - election last held 24 September 2017 (next to be held in September 2020) French National Assembly - election last held on 11 and 18 June 2017 (next to be held by June 2022)
    election results: Territorial Council - percent of vote by party - SBA 53.7%, United for Saint Barth 20.6%, Saint Barth Essential 18.1%, All for Saint Barth 7.7%; seats by party - SBA 14, United for Saint Barth 2, Saint Barth Essential 2, All for Saint Barth 1; composition - men 9, women 10, percent of women 52.6%; French Senate - percent of vote by party NA; seats by party UMP 1 French National Assembly - percent of vote by party NA; seats by party UMP 1
    Political parties and leaders:
    All for Saint Barth (Tous pour Saint-Barth) [Bettina COINTRE]
    Saint Barth Essential (Saint-Barth Autrement) [Marie-Helene BERNIER]
    Saint Barth First! (Saint-Barth d'Abord!) or SBA [Bruno MAGRAS]
    Saint Barth United (Unis pour Saint-Barthelemy) [Xavier LEDEE]
    International organization participation:
    UPU
    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
    National symbol(s):
    pelican
    National anthem:
    name: "L'Hymne a St. Barthelemy" (Hymn to St. Barthelemy)
    lyrics/music: Isabelle Massart DERAVIN/Michael VALENTI

    note: local anthem in use since 1999; as a collectivity of France, "La Marseillaise" is official (see France)

  • 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. The tourism sector creates a strong employment demand and attracts labor from Brazil and Portugal. The country’s currency is the euro.
    Exchange rates:
    2013 est.)
    0.885 (2017 est.)
    0.903 (2016 est.)
    0.9214 (2015 est.)
    0.885 (2014 est.)
  • Communications :: Saint Barthelemy
  • Telephone system:
    general assessment: fully integrated access; 4G and LTE services (2018)
    domestic: direct dial capability with both fixed and wireless systems (2018)
    international: country code - 590; undersea fiber-optic cable provides voice and data connectivity to Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe
    Broadcast media:
    no local TV broadcasters; 3 FM radio channels (2019)
    Internet country code:
    .bl; note - .gp, the Internet country code for Guadeloupe, and .fr, the Internet country code for France, might also be encountered
  • Military and Security :: Saint Barthelemy
  • Military - note:
    defense is the responsibility of France
  • Transportation :: Saint Barthelemy
  • Airports:
    1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 234
    Airports - with paved runways:
    total: 1 (2017)
    under 914 m: 1 (2017)
    Ports and terminals:
    major seaport(s): Gustavia
    Transportation - note:
    nearest airport for international flights is Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) located on Sint Maarten