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Central America and Caribbean :: Saint Barthelemy
(overseas collectivity of France)
Page last updated on November 19, 2015
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Saint Barthelemy
  • Introduction :: SAINT BARTHELEMY

  • 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.
  • Geography :: SAINT BARTHELEMY

  • 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
    17 90 N, 62 85 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    21 sq km
    less than one-eighth the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    tropical, with practically no variation in temperature; has two seasons (dry and humid)
    hilly, almost completely surrounded by shallow-water reefs, with plentiful beaches
    lowest point: Caribbean Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Morne du Vitet 286 m
    few natural resources; beaches foster tourism
    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 and Society :: SAINT BARTHELEMY

  • white, Creole (mulatto), black, Guadeloupe Mestizo (French-East Asia)
    French (primary), English
    Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witnesses
    7,237 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 227
    0-14 years: 17.36% (male 645/female 611)
    15-24 years: 7.03% (male 269/female 240)
    25-54 years: 45.32% (male 1,783/female 1,497)
    55-64 years: 15.3% (male 602/female 505)
    65 years and over: 14.99% (male 542/female 543) (2015 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total: 43 years
    male: 43 years
    female: 43 years (2015 est.)
    at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.12 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1.19 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1.19 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 1 male(s)/female
    total population: 1.13 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
  • Government :: SAINT BARTHELEMY

  • 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)
    overseas collectivity of France
    name: Gustavia
    geographic coordinates: 17 53 N, 62 51 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    none (overseas collectivity of France)
    Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1789); note - local holiday is St. Barthelemy Day, 24 August (1572)
    4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
    French civil law
    18 years of age, universal
    chief of state: President Francois HOLLANDE (since 15 May 2012), represented by Prefect Philippe CHOPIN (since 16 November 2011)
    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 in July 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
    election results: Bruno MAGRAS (SBA) reelected president; Territorial Council vote NA
    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)
    note: Saint Barthelemy holds one seat in the French Senate; elections last held on 28 September 2014 (next to be held not later than September 2017); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats by party UMP 1; Saint Barthelemy elects one seat to the French National Assembly; elections last held on 17 June 2012 (next to be held by June 2017); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats by party UMP 1
    elections: last held on 18 March 2012 (next to be held in July 2017)
    election results: percent of vote by party - SBA 73.8%, Ensemble pour Saint-Barthelemy 15.9%, Tous Unis pour Saint-Barthelemy 10.3%; seats by party - SBA 16, Ensemble pour Saint-Barthelemy 2, Tous Unis pour Saint-Barthelemy 1
    Action-Equilibre-Transparence [Maxime DESOUCHES]
    Ensemble pour Saint-Barthelemy [Benoit CHAUVIN]
    Saint-Barth d'Abord! or SBA [Bruno MAGRAS]
    Tous Unis pour Saint-Barthelemy [Karine MIOT-RICHARD]
    Rotary Club
    none (overseas collectivity of France)
    none (overseas collectivity of France)
    the flag of France is used
    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)

  • 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.
    euros (EUR) per US dollar -
    0.7489 (2014 est.)
    0.7634 2013 est.)
    0.7752 (2012 est.)
    0.7185 (2011 est.)
    0.755 (2010 est.)
  • Communications :: SAINT BARTHELEMY

  • general assessment: fully integrated access
    domestic: direct dial capability with both fixed and wireless systems
    international: country code - 590; undersea fiber-optic cable provides voice and data connectivity to Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe (2008)
    no local TV broadcasters; 3 FM radio channels (2 via repeater)
    .bl; note - .gp, the Internet country code for Guadeloupe, and .fr, the Internet country code for France, might also be encountered
  • Transportation :: SAINT BARTHELEMY

  • 1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 231
    total: 1
    under 914 m: 1 (2013)
    major seaport(s): Gustavia
    nearest airport for international flights is Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) located on Sint Maarten
  • Military :: SAINT BARTHELEMY

  • males age 16-49: 1,495
    females age 16-49: 1,263 (2010 est.)
    male: 23
    female: 21 (2010 est.)
    defense is the responsibility of France