Central America and Caribbean :: Saint Barthelemy
(overseas collectivity of France)
page last updated on September 22, 2009
Flag of Saint Barthelemy
Location of Saint Barthelemy
Map of Saint Barthelemy
Introduction ::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 appellations 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.
Geography ::Saint Barthelemy
located approximately 125 miles northwest of Guadeloupe
17 90 N, 62 85 W
21 sq km
less than an eighth of 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 20 beaches
lowest point: Caribbean Ocean 0 m
highest point: Morne du Vitet 286 m
has few natural resources, its beaches being the most important
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
7,448 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 226
0-14 years: 19.2% (male 734/female 696)
15-64 years: 70.6% (male 2,855/female 2,402)
65 years and over: 10.2% (male 378/female 383) (2009 est.)
total: 39.1 years
male: 39.3 years
female: 38.9 years (2009 est.)
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.19 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.99 male(s)/female
total population: 1.14 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
white, Creole (mulatto), black, Guadeloupe Mestizo (French-East Asia)
Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witness
French (primary), English
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
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)
Bastille Day, 14 July (1789); note - local holiday is St. Barthelemy Day, 24 August
4 October 1958 (French Constitution)
the laws of France, where applicable, apply
18 years of age, universal
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
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 in July 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party - SBA 72.2%, Action-Equilibre-Transparence 9.9%, Ensemble pour Saint-Barthelemy 7.9%, Tous Unis pour Saint-Barthelemy 9.9%; seats by party - SBA 16, Action-Equilibre-Transparence 1, Ensemble pour Saint-Barthelemy 1, Tous Unis pour Saint-Barthelemy 1
note: Saint Barthelemy elects one seat to the French Senate; elections last held 21 September 2008 (next to be held in September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 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]
The Marine Reserve (protection of fish); Rotary Club
none (overseas collectivity of France)
none (overseas collectivity of France)
the flag of France is used
Economy ::Saint Barthelemy
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 - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
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
.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 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 215
total: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
nearest airport for international flights is Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) located in Sint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles)
Military ::Saint Barthelemy
males age 16-49: 1,594
females age 16-49: 1,340 (2009 est.)
male: 21
female: 20 (2009 est.)
defense is the responsibility of France