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  Saint Barthelemy   
  Introduction Back To Top

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.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

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

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Geographic coordinates:
17 90 N, 62 85 W

Natural resources:
has few natural resouces, its beaches being the most important

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

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

21 sq km

located approximately 125 miles northwest of Guadeloupe

Area - comparative:
less than an eighth of the size of Washington, DC

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 Back To Top

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

7,492 (July 2008 est.)

French (primary), English

Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witness

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas collectivity of France)

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

18 years of age, universal

Political pressure groups and leaders:
The Marine Reserve (protection of fish); Rotary Club

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas collectivity of France)

Dependency status:
overseas collectivity of France

International organization participation:

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%, 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 Barthelmey elects one seat to the French Senate; elections last held 21 September 2008 (next to be held September 2014); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - UMP 1

Legal system:
the laws of France, where applicable, apply

Flag description:
the flag of France is used

none (overseas collectivity of France)

Country name (Goverment):
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

Political parties and leaders:
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]

name: Gustavia
geographic coordinates: 17 53 N, 62 51 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exchange rates:
euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)

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

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.

  Communications Back To Top

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

Telephone system:
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

  Transportation Back To Top

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

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
under 914 m: 1


  Military Back To Top

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of France

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 21
female: 20 (2008 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

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