Saint Barthelemy

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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

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

Area

21 sq km

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

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Caribbean Ocean 0 m

highest point: Morne du Vitet 286 m

Natural resources

few natural resources; beaches foster tourism

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 and Society

Ethnic groups

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

Languages

French (primary), English

Religions

Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah's Witnesses

Population 227/238

7,237 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

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.)

Median age

total: 43 years

male: 43 years

female: 43 years (2015 est.)

Sex ratio

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

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)

Capital

name: Gustavia

geographic coordinates: 17.53° N, 62.51° W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Independence

none (overseas collectivity of France)

National holiday

Fete de la Federation, 14 July (1789); note - local holiday is St. Barthelemy Day, 24 August (1572)

Constitution

4 October 1958 (French Constitution)

Legal system

French civil law

Citizenship

see France

Suffrage

18 years of age, universal

Executive branch

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

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)

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

Political parties and leaders

All for Saint-Barth (Tous pour Saint-Barth) [Benoit CHAUVIN]

Saint-Barth First! (Saint-Barth d'Abord!) or SBA [Bruno MAGRAS]; affiliated with UMP

Saint-Barth in Motion (Saint-Barth en Mouvement) [Maxime DESOUCHES]

International organization participation

UPU

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

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.

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar -

0.89 (2015 est.)

0.75 (2014 est.)

0.76 2013 est.)

0.78 (2012 est.)

0.72 (2011 est.)

Communications

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 (2008)

Broadcast media

no local TV broadcasters; 3 FM radio channels (2 via repeater)

Internet country code

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

Transportation

Airports 231/236

1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Gustavia