Photos of 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. 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. Hurricane Irma hit the island in September 2017 causing extensive damage, but Saint Barthelemy recovered by early 2018.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



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


total: 25 sq km

land: 25 sq km

water: negligible

comparison ranking: total 238

Area - comparative

less than one-eighth the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 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


highest point: Morne du Vitet 286 m

lowest point: Caribbean Ocean 0 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

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


7,093 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 225

Ethnic groups

French, Portuguese, Caribbean, Afro-Caribbean


French (primary), English

major-language sample(s):
The World Factbook, une source indispensable d'informations de base. (French)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

French audio sample:


Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witnesses

Age structure

0-14 years: 14.1% (male 515/female 485)

15-64 years: 63.8% (male 2,442/female 2,083)

65 years and over: 22.11% (2023 est.) (male 787/female 781)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 30.8

youth dependency ratio: 17.5

elderly dependency ratio: 13.3

potential support ratio: 7.5 (2021)

Median age

total: 45.6 years

male: 45.5 years

female: 45.8 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 8

Population growth rate

-0.11% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 204

Birth rate

9.3 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 195

Death rate

9.16 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 56

Net migration rate

-1.27 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 152

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: 1.06 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.17 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.01 male(s)/female

total population: 1.12 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 6.58 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 7.7 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 5.42 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 161

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 80.8 years

male: 77.72 years

female: 84.01 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 47

Total fertility rate

1.64 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 176

Gross reproduction rate

0.79 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: NA

total: 100% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: NA

total: 0% of population (2020)


total population: NA

male: NA

female: NA


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


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


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

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Territorial Council); overseas collectivity of France

Dependency status

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)

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


none (overseas collectivity of France)

National holiday

Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1790); note - local holiday is St. Barthelemy Day, 24 August (1572)


history: 4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

amendments: amendment procedures of France's constitution apply

Legal system

French civil law


see France


18 years of age, universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Emmanuel MACRON (since 14 May 2017), represented by Prefect Vincent BERTON (since 28 March 2022)

head of government: President of Territorial Council Xavier LEDEE (since 3 April 2022)

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 27 March 2022 (next to be held in 2027)

election results:
2022: Xavier LEDEE (Saint Barth United) elected president; Territorial Council vote - 13 votes for, 6 blank votes

Bruno MAGRAS (Saint Barth First) elected president; Territorial Council vote - 14 out of 19 votes

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 - first round held on 20 March 2022 (next to be held in 2027); second round held on 27 March 2022
French Senate - election last held on 24 September 2020 (next to be held in September 2023)
French National Assembly - election last held on 12 and 19 June 2022 (next to be held by June 2027)

election results: Territorial Council - percent of vote by party (first round) - SBA 46.2%, Saint Barth Action Equilibre 27.1%, Unis pour Saint Barthelemy 26.8%; percent of vote by party (second round) - Saint Barth Action Equilibre and Unis pour Saint Barthelemy 50.9%, SBA 49.2%, seats by party - Saint Barth Action Equilibre and Unis pour Saint Barthelemy 13, SBA 6; composition - men NA, women NA, percent of women NA
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 Action Equilibre [Marie-Hélène BERNIER]
Saint Barth First! (Saint-Barth d'Abord!) or SBA [Romaric MAGRAS] (affiliated with France's Republican party, Les Republicans)
Saint Barth United (Unis pour Saint-Barthelemy) [Xavier LEDEE]

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 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)


Economic overview

high-income French Caribbean territorial economy; duty-free luxury commerce and tourism industries; import-dependent for food, water, energy, and manufacturing; large Brazilian and Portuguese labor supply; environmentally fragile

Exports - partners

France 60%, Germany 27% (2019)

Exports - commodities

beauty products, broadcasting equipment, sunflower seed oil, plastics, cars (2019)

Imports - partners

France 78%, Switzerland 7%, Italy 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

furniture, wine, refined petroleum, jewelry, food preparation materials (2019)

Exchange rates

0.885 (2017 est.)
0.903 (2016 est.)
0.9214 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


Telecommunication systems

general assessment: fully integrated access; 4G and LTE services (2019)

domestic: direct dial capability with both fixed and wireless systems, 3 FM channels, no broadcasting (2018)

international: country code - 590; landing points for the SSCS and the Southern Caribbean Fiber submarine cables providing voice and data connectivity to numerous Caribbean Islands (2019)

Broadcast media

2 local TV broadcasters; 5 FM radio channels (2021)

Internet country code

.bl; note - .gp, the Internet country code for Guadeloupe, and .fr, the Internet country code for France, might also be encountered

Internet users

total: 7,077 (2022 est.)

percent of population: 71.3% (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total 220



1 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 212

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)


total: 40 km

comparison ranking: total 218

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Gustavia

Transportation - note

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

Military and Security

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of France

Transnational Issues