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Saint Barthélemy

Saint Barthélemy

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Saint Barthélemy officially the Territorial collectivity of Saint Barthélemy (French: Collectivité territoriale de Saint-Barthélemy), is an overseas collectivity of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

. Often abbreviated to Saint-Barth in French, or St. Barts (also, St. Barth's) in English, the indigenous people called the island Ouanalao. The collectivity is one of four territories among the Leeward Islands
Leeward Islands
The Leeward Islands are a group of islands in the West Indies. They are the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain. As a group they start east of Puerto Rico and reach southward to Dominica. They are situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean...

 in the northeastern Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 that comprise the French West Indies
French West Indies
The term French West Indies or French Antilles refers to the seven territories currently under French sovereignty in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean: the two overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the two overseas collectivities of Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy, plus...

, along with Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

 (200 km southeast), Martinique
Martinique
Martinique is an island in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of . Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. To the northwest lies Dominica, to the south St Lucia, and to the southeast Barbados...

 and Saint Martin. St. Barts lies c. 35 km southeast of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin
Saint Martin
Saint Martin is an island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately east of Puerto Rico. The 87 km2 island is divided roughly 60/40 between France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands ; however, the Dutch side has the larger population. It is one of the smallest sea islands divided between...

, and north of St Kitts. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 is 240 km to its west in the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

.

St. Barts, a volcanic island fully encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 21 km² and a population of 8,823 (census 2008). Its capital
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 is Gustavia, which also contains the main harbour to the island. It is the only Caribbean island which was a Swedish colony for any significant length of time; Guadeloupe was under Swedish rule only briefly, at the end of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

. Symbolism
Symbolism
Symbolism is the applied use of symbols. It is a representation that carries a particular meaning. It is a device in literature where an object represents an idea.A symbol is an object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself....

 from the Swedish national arms
Coat of arms of Sweden
The greater national coat of arms and the lesser national coat of arms are the official coats of arms of Sweden.- Escutcheon :...

, the Three Crowns
Three Crowns
Three Crowns is a national emblem of Sweden, present in the Coat of Arms of the Realm of Sweden, and composed by three yellow or gilded coronets ordered two above and one below, placed on a blue background....

, still appears in the island's coat of arms. The language, cuisine and culture, however, are distinctly French. The island is a popular tourist destination during the winter holiday season.

Etymology


The island was named by Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 after his brother Bartholomeo.

History



The ancient history of the island dates to about 1000 BC when the Ciboney people attempted to settle but left due to the lack of water, either for drinking or for practicing agriculture. It was much later, around 100 AD, that Arawak Indians
Arawakan languages
Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean based on the Arawakan languages. Sometimes the proposal is called Arawakan, in which case the central family is called Maipurean....

 started living on the island. They were pushed out by the Caribs around 800 AD. There have been archaeological finds, such as pottery and crude tools, related to the Carib existence on the island.

17th century


The first European colonisation of the island began in 1623 (settlers from Dieppe
Dieppe, Seine-Maritime
Dieppe is a commune in the Seine-Maritime department in France. In 1999, the population of the whole Dieppe urban area was 81,419.A port on the English Channel, famous for its scallops, and with a regular ferry service from the Gare Maritime to Newhaven in England, Dieppe also has a popular pebbled...

) when Pierre Belain d’Esnambuc, a private operator, established a company known as Compagnie de Saint-Cristophe. With financial support from Cardinal Richelieu, d'Esnambuc established hegemony
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

 of the French in the Caribbean islands including St. Barts. For this purpose, the company brought over farmers from the French provinces of Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 and Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

. St. Barts was claimed by France in 1648. In 1651, when Compagnie de Saint-Cristophe found it difficult to survive in the arid conditions, they sold it to the Knights of Malta
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

. In 1656 the Caribs rebelled against the European settlers and killed some of them.

18th century



There was a very brief takeover by the British in 1758. The island was given to Sweden in 1784 in exchange for trade rights in Gothenburg
Gothenburg
Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 519,399, with 549,839 in the urban area and total of 937,015 inhabitants in the metropolitan area...

. It was only after 1784, when King Louis XVI exchanged the island to Sweden, that the island's fortunes changed for the better. This change of control saw progress and prosperity as the Swedes declared Gustavia a free port, convenient for trading by the Europeans for goods, including contraband material. However, that prospertiy was short-lived and the island returned to a lean period.

19th century


Slavery was practiced in St. Barts under the "Ordinance concerning the Police of Slaves and free Coloured People" of 1787. The last legally owned slaves in the Swedish colony of St. Barts were granted their freedom by the state on 9 October 1847. Since the island was not a plantation area, the freed slave suffered economic hardships due to lack of opportunities for employment. In 1852, a devastating hurricane hit the island and this was followed by a fire. Sweden gave the island back to France in 1878. The Swedish period left its mark in the names of many of the streets and the town Gustavia (in honour of King Gustav III
Gustav III of Sweden
Gustav III was King of Sweden from 1771 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Adolph Frederick and Queen Louise Ulrica of Sweden, she a sister of Frederick the Great of Prussia....

), and the presence of Sweden's national arms, the Tre Kronor
Three Crowns
Three Crowns is a national emblem of Sweden, present in the Coat of Arms of the Realm of Sweden, and composed by three yellow or gilded coronets ordered two above and one below, placed on a blue background....

in the island's coat of arms. Other heraldry include the Maltese cross
Maltese cross
The Maltese cross, also known as the Amalfi cross, is identified as the symbol of an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights Hospitaller or Knights of Malta and through them came to be identified with the Mediterranean island of Malta and is one of the National symbols of Malta...

, the Fleur-de-lis
Fleur-de-lis
The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys is a stylized lily or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be "at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in heraldry...

, the mural crown
Mural crown
-Usage in ancient times:In Hellenistic culture, a mural crown identified the goddess Tyche, the embodiment of the fortune of a city, familiar to Romans as Fortuna...

 and two pelicans
Brown Pelican
The Brown Pelican is the smallest of the eight species of pelican, although it is a large bird in nearly every other regard. It is in length, weighs from and has a wingspan from .-Range and habits:...

.

20th century


On 19 March 1946, the people of the island became French citizens with full rights. The island was placed together with St. Martin and Guadeloupe and Martinique, and given legal status as a Department of France. The population of St. Barts was relatively impoverished. Since economic support was not forthcoming from France, the island developed a special relationship with US Virgin Islands. Many men from St. Barts took jobs on St Thomas in order to support their families. The island received electricity circa 1961. Tourism began in the 1960s, developed in the 1970s, and led to considerable international popularity beginning in the 1980s. Today the island is known for its exclusivity and posh tourism.

21st century


Through island-wide referendum in 2003, island residents sought separation from the administrative jurisdiction of Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

, and it was finally accomplished in 2007. The island became a Overseas Collectivity (COM). A governing territorial council was elected for its administration, which has provided the island with a certain degree of autonomy. The Hotel de Ville, which was the town hall, is now the Hotel de la Collectivité. A senator represents the island in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. St. Barts has retained its free port status.

Geography


Located approximately 250 kilometres (155.3 mi) east of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and the nearer Virgin Islands
Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, which form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean...

, St. Barts lies immediately southeast of the islands of Saint Martin
Saint Martin
Saint Martin is an island in the northeast Caribbean, approximately east of Puerto Rico. The 87 km2 island is divided roughly 60/40 between France and the Kingdom of the Netherlands ; however, the Dutch side has the larger population. It is one of the smallest sea islands divided between...

 and Anguilla
Anguilla
Anguilla is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the Caribbean. It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin...

. It is separated from Saint Martin by the Saint-Barthélemy Channel
Saint-Barthélemy Channel
Saint-Barthélemy Channel is a strait in the Caribbean Sea that separates the French overseas collectivity of Saint Barthélemy and the island of Saint Martin, which is divided between a separate French overseas collectivity and Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

. It lies northeast of Saba and St Eustatius, and north of St Kitts. Some small satellite islets belong to St. Barts including Île Chevreau (Île Bonhomme), Île Frégate, Île Toc Vers, Île Tortue and Gros Îlets (Îlots Syndare). A much bigger islet, Île Fourchue, lies on the north of the island, in the Saint-Barthélemy Channel. Other rocky islets which include Coco, the Roques (or little Turtle rocks), the Tortiie, Toevers, Grogatte, the Goat, and the Sugarloaf. As a leeward island of the Caribbean Sea it has an average elevation of 130 m with a shore line of 58.9 kilometres (36.6 mi).

Marine areas


St. Barts forms, with St. Martin, Anguilla, and Dog Island
Dog Island, Anguilla
Dog Island is an uninhabited small island of 511 acres in size located approximately 13km to the northwest of Anguilla.-References:...

, a distinct group that lies upon the western edge of a flat bank of soundings composed chiefly of shells, sand, and coral. From St. Barts, the bank extends east-southeast, ending in a small tongue or spit. It is separated from the main bank by a narrow length of deep water. East of the island, the edge of the bank lies 22 km away.

Grande Saline Bay provides temporary anchorage for small vessels while Colombier Bay, to the northwest, has a 4 fathoms patch near mid entrance. In the bight of St. Jean Bay there is a narrow cut through the reef. The north and east sides of the island are fringed, to a short distance from the shore, by a visible coral reef. Reefs are mostly in shallow waters and are clearly visible. The coastal areas abound with beaches and many of these have offshore reefs, some of which are part of a marine reserve. The marine reserve, founded in 1999, covers more than 1000 hectares (2,471.1 acre) of protected and vulnerable habitats, bays and islands, and includes a zone that is restricted to scientific observations only. As the sea surrounding the St. Barts is rich in corral reefs and other precious marine life, the area has been declared a protected area since 1996. Environmental awareness is quite pronounced in St. Barts and is promoted by the Environmental Commission.
There are as many as 22 public beaches of which 15 are considered suitable for swimming. They are categorized divided into two areas, the leeward side (calm waters protected by the island itself) and windward side (some of which are protected by hills and reefs). The windward beaches are popular for windsurfing. St Jean beach is suitable for water sports and all facilities have been created for the purpose. The long Lorient beach has shade and is a quiet beach as compared to the St. Jean beach. The Grand-cul-de-sac is a long beach with facilities for water sports. Anse Toiny beach is in a remote location and is considered suitable for experienced surfers as the water current is very strong. The Anse de Grande Saline beach is popular with nudists. On the leeward side, the notable beaches are: Anse du Gouverneur, the Anse du Colombier, and Anse des Flamands. The salt pond near the Flamands beach is marshy and is habitat for tropical birds. Ile islet, an offshoot of the leeward side, has a white sandy beach. Shell Beach, also called Anse de Grand Galet (in French, ‘Anse’ means “panhandle” and Galet means “pebble”), is a beach in the southwestern part of Gustavia. A large number of sea shells are scattered on this beach. This beach was subject to the strong waves of hurricane Lenny
Hurricane Lenny
Hurricane Lenny was the strongest November Atlantic hurricane on record. It was the twelfth tropical storm, eighth hurricane, and record-breaking fifth Category 4 hurricane in the 1999 Atlantic hurricane season. Lenny formed on November 13 in the western Caribbean Sea, and maintained an...

 in 1999, which resulted in erosion of the sand. This necessitated supplementing the beach with new sand in 2000.

On the north coast, on the far eastern side of the island, there are two lagoons called the Anse de Marigot and Anse du Grand Cul-de-Sac.

Interior areas


Morne Vitet, 286 m in height, is the highest peak in the island. There are few sheep pens built with stone walls on the slopes of the mountain. A hill road leads to the Grand Cul-de-Sac from where scenic views of the entire coast line can be witnessed. Hills and valleys of varying topography cover the rest of the island. Two other hills near the island's east end are of nearly the same elevation at 262 and 250 m above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

.

Populated areas


Small villages are seen spread out in the rolling hills in the interior. Gustavia, the capital of the island is located in a natural harbour which has witnessed many historical transitions. Yachts are a common sight in the harbour. The oldest settlement still remaining is the village of Lorient (or L'Orient). Lorient's sister village on the French mainland is the city of Lorient
Lorient
Lorient, or L'Orient, is a commune and a seaport in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.-History:At the beginning of the 17th century, merchants who were trading with India had established warehouses in Port-Louis...

 on the southern coast of Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

. The population is spread among 40 quartiers, roughly corresponding to settlements. They are grouped into two halves:
Sous le Vent
(Leeward)
Au Vent
(Windward)
Nr Quartier Colombier
Colombier, Saint Barthélemy
Colombier, Saint Barthélemy is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Flamands
Flamands
Flamands is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Terre Neuve
Terre-Neuve, Saint Barthélemy
Terre-Neuve is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Grande Vigie
Grande Vigie
Grande Vigie is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Corossol
Corossol
Corossol is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Merlette
Merlette
Merlette is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


La Grande Montagne
La Grande Montagne
La Grande Montagne is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Anse des Lézards
Anse des Lézards
Anse des Lézards is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Anse des Cayes
Anse des Cayes
Anse des Cayes is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Le Palidor
Le Palidor
Le Palidor is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Public
Public, Saint Barthélemy
Public is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the western part of the island and is one of the most densely inhabited and active areas of the area. Public lies north of the main centre of Gustavia and functions as its "Industrial Zone"....


Col de la Tourmente
Col de la Tourmente
Col de la Tourmente is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the western part of the island....


Quartier du Roi
Quartier du Roi
Quartier du Roi is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northwestern part of the island....


Le Château
Le Château, Saint Barthélemy
Le Château is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northern part of the island. The airport runway is located nearby....


Aéroport
Aéroport
Aéroport is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northern part of the island. As the name suggests, it contains the airport runway....


Saint-Jean
Saint-Jean, Saint Barthélemy
Saint-Jean is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northern part of the island. It contains one of the best known beaches on the island and is the centre of water sport activity on the island....


Gustavia
La Pointe
La Pointe, Saint Barthélemy
La Pointe is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the western part of the island at the end of Gustavia....


Lurin
Lurin
Lurin is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located east of Gustavia and is one of the more larger quartiers on the island....


Carénage
Carénage
Carénage is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the western-central part of the island and is one of the smallest quartiers on the island....

21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
Morne Criquet
Morne Criquet
Morne Criquet is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northern part of the island....


Morne de Dépoudré
Morne de Dépoudré
Morne de Dépoudré is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the very centre of the island....


Gouverneur
Gouverneur, Saint Barthélemy
Gouverneur is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the southernmost part of the island....


Anse du Gouverneur
Anse du Gouverneur
Anse du Gouverneur is a quartier and beach of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the southern part of the island....


Morne Rouge
Morne Rouge, Saint Barthélemy
Morne Rouge is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the southern part of the island....


Grande Saline
Grande Saline, Saint Barthélemy
Grande Saline is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the southern-central part of the island....


Petite Saline
Petite Saline
Petite Saline is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the central part of the island....


Lorient
Lorient, Saint Barthélemy
Lorient is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northern part of the island....


Barrière des Quatres Vents
Barrière des Quatres Vents
Barrière des Quatres Vents is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northeastern part of the island....


Camaruche
Camaruche
Camaruche is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the eastern-central part of the island....


Grand Fond
Grand Fond
Grand Fond is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the southeastern part of the island....


Toiny
Toiny
Toiny is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the southeastern part of the island....


Devet
Devet, Saint Barthélemy
Devet is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the eastern part of the island....


Vitet
Vitet
Vitet is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the eastern-central part of the island....


Grand Cul-de-Sac
Grand Cul-de-Sac
Grand Cul-de-Sac is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northeastern part of the island....


Pointe Milou
Pointe Milou
Pointe Milou is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northeastern part of the island....


Mont Jean
Mont Jean
Mont Jean is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northeastern part of the island....


Marigot
Marigot, Saint Barthélemy
Marigot is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northeastern part of the island....


Anse du Grand Cul-de-Sac
Anse du Grand Cul-de-Sac
Anse du Grand Cul-de-Sac is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the northeastern part of the island....


Petit Cul-de-Sac
Petit Cul-de-Sac
Petit Cul-de-Sac is a quartier of Saint Barthélemy in the Caribbean. It is located in the extreme eastern part of the island....


Climate


The island covers an area of c. 21 km². The eastern side is wetter than the western. Though an arid terrain, the rainfall still averages 1000 mm but varies very widely. Summer is from May to November which is also the rainy season. Winter from December to April is the dry season. Sunshine is very prominent almost all through the year and even during the rainy season. Humidity, however, is not very high because of the winds. It has an average temperature of 25°C with day temperatures rising to 32°C. The average temperature in January is 28°C (22°C) while in July it is 30°C (24°C). The lowest night temperature recorded is 13°C. The Caribbean sea waters in the vicinity generally maintain a temperature of about 27°C. Between May and November, brief showers of 10 to 15 minutes are commonplace. The island faces frequent catastrophic threats of cyclonic storms.

Demographics


According to the 2008 census, St. Barts had 8,823 inhabitants, with caucasian
Caucasian race
The term Caucasian race has been used to denote the general physical type of some or all of the populations of Europe, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Western Asia , Central Asia and South Asia...

 islanders forming the large majority.

The full-time residents are French citizens who work at the various establishments on the island. Most of them are descendants of the first settlers, Breton, Normand, Poitevin, Saintonge and Angevin lineage. French is the native tongue of the population, even though Norman dialect is still spoken by some. English is understood in hotels and restaurants, although a small population of Anglophones
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 has been resident in Gustavia for many years. The St. Barts French patois
Patois
Patois is any language that is considered nonstandard, although the term is not formally defined in linguistics. It can refer to pidgins, creoles, dialects, and other forms of native or local speech, but not commonly to jargon or slang, which are vocabulary-based forms of cant...

 is spoken by some 500–700 people in the leeward portion of the island and is superficially related to Quebec French
Quebec French
Quebec French , or Québécois French, is the predominant variety of the French language in Canada, in its formal and informal registers. Quebec French is used in everyday communication, as well as in education, the media, and government....

, whereas Creole French
French-based creole languages
A French Creole, or French-based Creole language, is a creole language based on the French language, more specifically on a 17th century koiné French extant in Paris, the French Atlantic harbors, and the nascent French colonies...

 is limited to the windward side. Unlike other populations in the Caribbean, language preference between the Creole and Patois is geographically determined, and not racially.
style="font-weight: bold; font-size: 1.1em; margin-bottom: 0.5em"| Historical population
1766 1785 1812 1885 1961 1967 1974 1982 1990 1999 2007
327 950 5,482 2,600 2,176 2,351 2,491 3,059 5,038 6,852 8,450
Official figures from French and Swedish censuses.

Politics and government



Until 2007, administratively, the whole island of St. Barts was a French commune (commune de Saint-Barthélemy) part of Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe is an archipelago located in the Leeward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles, with a land area of 1,628 square kilometres and a population of 400,000. It is the first overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. As with the other overseas departments, Guadeloupe...

, which is an overseas région
Région d'outre-mer
Overseas region is a recent designation given to the Overseas departments which have similar powers to those of the regions of metropolitan France. They have had these powers since 1982, when France's decentralisation policy dictated that they be given elected regional councils along with other...

 and overseas département
Département d'outre-mer
An overseas department is a department of France that is outside metropolitan France. They have the same political status as metropolitan departments. As integral parts of France and the European Union, overseas departments are represented in the National Assembly, Senate, and Economic and Social...

 of France, and therefore part of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. In 2003, the population voted through referendum in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity
Collectivité d'outre-mer
The French overseas collectivities , like the French regions are first-order administrative divisions of France. The COMs include some former French overseas territories and other French overseas entities with a particular status, all of which became COMs by constitutional reform on 28 March...

 (COM) of France. On 7 February 2007, the French Parliament passed a bill granting COM status to both St. Barts and (separately) to the neighbouring Saint Martin. The new status took effect on 15 July 2007, when the first territorial council was elected, according to the law. The island has a president (elected every 5 years), a unicameral Territorial Council of 19 members who are elected by popular vote and serve for five-year terms, and an executive council of 7 members. Elections to these councils were last held on 1, 8 and 15 July 2007 with the next election due in July 2012.

One senator is representing the island in the French Senate, election was held on 21 September 2008 with the next election due in September 2014. St. Barts remains part of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 : the island's inhabitants are French citizens with EU status holding EU passports. France is responsible for the defence of the island and as such has stationed a security force on the island comprising six policemen and 13 gendarmes (posted on two year term).

The present head of the State is President Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

, since 16 May 2007, represented by a prefect appointed by the French president on the advice of the French Ministry of Interior. The island's national anthem representing a collectivity of France is "La Marseillaise".

Heraldry



The Coat of arms of Saint-Barthélemy is a shield divided into three horizontal stripes, three gold fleur-de-lis
Fleur-de-lis
The fleur-de-lis or fleur-de-lys is a stylized lily or iris that is used as a decorative design or symbol. It may be "at one and the same time, political, dynastic, artistic, emblematic, and symbolic", especially in heraldry...

es on blue, above a white Maltese cross
Maltese cross
The Maltese cross, also known as the Amalfi cross, is identified as the symbol of an order of Christian warriors known as the Knights Hospitaller or Knights of Malta and through them came to be identified with the Mediterranean island of Malta and is one of the National symbols of Malta...

 on red, over three gold crowns
Three Crowns
Three Crowns is a national emblem of Sweden, present in the Coat of Arms of the Realm of Sweden, and composed by three yellow or gilded coronets ordered two above and one below, placed on a blue background....

 on blue, and reads "Ouanalao". On a white background, it serves as the unofficial Flag of Saint Barthélemy
Flag of Saint Barthélemy
The flag of Saint-Barthélemy consists of the island's coat of arms centered on a white field. Though used on the island, it has no official status. Because Saint Barthélemy is an overseas collectivity of France, its official flag is the French tricolor....

.

Economy



Agricultural production on the island is difficult given the dry and rocky terrain, but the early settlers managed to produce vegetables, cotton, pineapples, salt, bananas and also fishing. Sweet potato is also grown in patches. The islanders developed commerce through the port of Gustavia. Duty-free port attractions, retail trade, high-end tourism (mostly from North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

) and its luxury hotels and villas have increased the island's prosperity, reflected in the high standard of living of its citizens. The official currency of St. Barts is the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

. INSEE
INSEE
INSEE is the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies. It collects and publishes information on the French economy and society, carrying out the periodic national census. Located in Paris, it is the French branch of Eurostat, European Statistical System...

 estimated that the total GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 of St. Barts amounted to 179 million euros in 1999 (US$191 million at 1999 exchange rate; US$255 million at Oct. 2007 exchange rate). In that same year the GDP per capita of St. Barts was 26,000 euros (US$27,700 at 1999 exchanges rates; US$37,000 at Oct. 2007 exchange rates), which was 10% higher than the average GDP per capita of metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

 in 1999.

Handicrafts


Corossol is noted for its handicrafts; weaving hats and bags from palm fronds are a low income economic activity of the indigenous people.

Tourism


International investment and the wealth generated by wealthy tourists explain the high standard of living on the island. St. Barts is considered a playground of the rich and famous, especially as a winter haven, and is known for its beaches, gourmet dining and high-end designers. Most of the food is imported by airplane or boat from the US or France. Tourism attracts about 200,000 visitors every year. As a result, there is a boom in house building activity catering to the tourists and also to the permanent residents of the island, with prices as high as €61,200,000 for a beachfront villa. St. Barts has about 25 hotels, most of them with 15 rooms or fewer. The largest has 58 rooms. Hotels are classified in the traditional French manner; 3 Star, 4 Star and 4 Star Luxe. Most of places of accommodation are in the form of private villas, of which there are some 400 available to rent on the island. The island's tourism industry, though expensive, attracts 70,000 visitors every year to its luxury hotels and villas and another 130,000 people arrive by luxury boats. It also attracts a labour force from Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 and Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 to meet the industry needs.

The height of tourism is New Year's Eve, with celebrities and the wealthy converging on the island in yachts up to 550 ft in length for the occasion. Hotels for New Years are sold out well in advance.

Education


During Swedish rule, education was cantonized. French-Catholic schooling was provided to residents in the agricultural areas while those in the capital area received a Protestant English language education.

Flora



As the terrain is generally arid, the hills have mostly poor soil and support only cacti
Cacti
-See also:* RRDtool The underlying software upon which Cacti is built* MRTG The original Multi Router Traffic Grapher from which RRDtool was "extracted".* Munin -External links:******...

 and succulent plants. During the rainy season the area turns green with vegetation and grass. The eastern part of the island is greener as it receives more rainfall. A 1994 survey has revealed several hundred indigenous species of plants including the naturalized varieties of flora; some growing in irrigated areas while the dry areas are dominated by the cacti variety. Sea grapes
Coccoloba uvifera
Coccoloba uvifera is a species of flowering plant in the buckwheat family, Polygonaceae, that is native to coastal beaches throughout tropical America and the Caribbean, including southern Florida, the Bahamas, Barbados and Bermuda...

 and palm trees are a common sight with mangrove
Mangrove
Mangroves are various kinds of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes N and S...

s and shrub
Shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s surviving in the saline coastal swamps. Coconut palm was brought to the island from the Pacific islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

. Important plants noted on the island are: The Flamboyant trees of Madagascar
Madagascar
The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

, which have feathery leaves and blooms with clusters of orange red flowers, the frangipanis
Plumeria
Plumeria is a genus of flowering plants of the family that includes Dogbane: the Apocynaceae. It contains 7-8 species of mainly deciduous shrubs and small trees...

 of many varieties with pointed waxy leaves and which bloom in different colours of white, red and yellow, latanier
Sabal
Sabal is a genus of New World palms, many of the species being known as palmetto. They are fan palms , with the leaves with a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of numerous leaflets; in some of the species, the leaflets are joined for up to half of their length...

 or sabal palms
Sabal
Sabal is a genus of New World palms, many of the species being known as palmetto. They are fan palms , with the leaves with a bare petiole terminating in a rounded fan of numerous leaflets; in some of the species, the leaflets are joined for up to half of their length...

 at Lorient, wild trumpet (poui or pourier) trees, Manchineel trees on the sandy beaches which are harmful and even poisonous; anaconda
Anaconda
An anaconda is a large, non-venomous snake found in tropical South America. Although the name actually applies to a group of snakes, it is often used to refer only to one species in particular, the common or green anaconda, Eunectes murinus, which is one of the largest snakes in the world.Anaconda...

 or geranium trees etc. common.

Other trees of note include the royal palm, Sea grape trees in the form of shrubs in the beaches and as 5–7 m trees in the interior areas of the island, aloe
Aloe
Aloe , also Aloë, is a genus containing about 500 species of flowering succulent plants. The most common and well known of these is Aloe vera, or "true aloe"....

 or aloe vera
Aloe vera
Aloe vera, pronounced , also known as the true aloe or medicinal aloe, is a species of succulent plant in the genus Aloe that is believed to have originated in the Sudan. Aloe vera grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa, India, Nepal and other arid areas.The species is...

 (brought from the Mediterranean), the night blooming cereus
Cereus
Cereus is a genus of cactus. The term cereus is also used to describe cacti with very elongated bodies, including columnar growth cacti and epiphytic cacti...

, mamillaria nivosa
Mammillaria
The genus Mammillaria is one of the largest in the cactus family , with currently 171 known species and varieties recognized. Most of the mammillarias are native to Mexico, but some come from the southwest USA, the Caribbean, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala and Honduras.The first was described by...

, yellow prickly pear
Pear
The pear is any of several tree species of genus Pyrus and also the name of the pomaceous fruit of these trees. Several species of pear are valued by humans for their edible fruit, but the fruit of other species is small, hard, and astringent....

 or barbary fig which was planted as barbed wire defences against invading British army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 in 1773, Mexican cactus
Cactus
A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae. Their distinctive appearance is a result of adaptations to conserve water in dry and/or hot environments. In most species, the stem has evolved to become photosynthetic and succulent, while the leaves have evolved into spines...

, stapelia gigantea
Stapelia gigantea
Stapelia gigantea is a flowering plant in the Stapelia genus of plants commonly referred to as the Carrion or Toad Plant . Stapelia gigantea sometimes also goes by the name of Stapelia nobilis and Stapelia marlothii....

, golden trumpet or yellow bell which was originally from South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, bougainvillea
Bougainvillea
Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina . Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus...

 and others.

Fauna


Terrestrial animals found in the island were all brought from other countries since indigenous species did not exist in the island. Mongoose
Mongoose
Mongoose are a family of 33 living species of small carnivorans from southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. Four additional species from Madagascar in the subfamily Galidiinae, which were previously classified in this family, are also referred to as "mongooses" or "mongoose-like"...

 was the first animal, brought to eliminate the menace of rats
RATS
RATS may refer to:* RATS , Regression Analysis of Time Series, a statistical package* Rough Auditing Tool for Security, a computer program...

 and snakes. However, over the years they multiplied so largely that they became irritants. Iguanas were also imported into the island and are now scarce as they are seen only as pets in resorts. Marine mammals are many, such as the dolphins, porpoises and whales, which are seen here during the migration period from December till May. Turtles are a common sight along the coast line of the island. They are a protected species and in the endangered list. It is stated that it will take 15–50 years for this species to attain reproductive age. Though they live in the sea, the females come to the shore to lay eggs and are protected by private societies. Three species of turtles are particularly notable. These are: The Leatherback Turtles which have leather skin instead of a shell and are the largest of the type found here, some times measuring a much as 3 m (average is about 1.5 m) and weighing about 450 kg - Jelly fish is their favourite diet; the Hawkbill Turtles, which have hawk like beaks and found near reefs, generally about 90 cm in diameter and weigh about 60 kg and their diet consists of crabs and snails; and the Green Turtles, herbivores which have rounded heads, generally about 90  cm in diameter and live amidst tall sea grasses. The island has 12 reptile
Reptile
Reptiles are members of a class of air-breathing, ectothermic vertebrates which are characterized by laying shelled eggs , and having skin covered in scales and/or scutes. They are tetrapods, either having four limbs or being descended from four-limbed ancestors...

 and amphibian
Amphibian
Amphibians , are a class of vertebrate animals including animals such as toads, frogs, caecilians, and salamanders. They are characterized as non-amniote ectothermic tetrapods...

 species of which two (EVRI) are threatened.

Avifauna



Avifauna in the wild, both native and migrating include brown pelican
Brown Pelican
The Brown Pelican is the smallest of the eight species of pelican, although it is a large bird in nearly every other regard. It is in length, weighs from and has a wingspan from .-Range and habits:...

 along the shore line, magnificent frigate birds
Frigatebird
The frigatebirds are a family, Fregatidae, of seabirds. There are five species in the single genus Fregata. They are also sometimes called Man of War birds or Pirate birds. Since they are related to the pelicans, the term "frigate pelican" is also a name applied to them...

 with long spans of up to 1.8 m, the green backed heron, the snowy egret
Snowy Egret
The Snowy Egret is a small white heron. It is the American counterpart to the very similar Old World Little Egret, which has established a foothold in the Bahamas....

s, the kingfisher
Kingfisher
Kingfishers are a group of small to medium sized brightly coloured birds in the order Coraciiformes. They have a cosmopolitan distribution, with most species being found in the Old World and Australia...

; the Bananaquit
Bananaquit
The Bananaquit is a species of passerine bird of uncertain relation. It is tentatively placed in the tanager family, but classified as incertae sedis by other authorities such as the American Ornithologists' Union. Its classification is debated, and it is often placed in its own family: Coerebidae...

s; broadwinged hawk
Hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

s; two species of hummingbird
Hummingbird
Hummingbirds are birds that comprise the family Trochilidae. They are among the smallest of birds, most species measuring in the 7.5–13 cm range. Indeed, the smallest extant bird species is a hummingbird, the 5-cm Bee Hummingbird. They can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings...

s, the green throated Carib and Antillean Crested Hummingbird
Antillean Crested Hummingbird
The Antillean Crested Hummingbird is a species of hummingbird in the Trochilidae family.It is found in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Montserrat, north-east Puerto Rico, Saba, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin,...

; two species of doves
Doves
Doves are an English alternative indie rock band, originating from Wilmslow, Cheshire. The band comprises brothers Jez Williams and Andy Williams , and Jimi Goodwin . The members started working seriously together after meeting at The Haçienda in Manchester. Doves' unofficial fourth member is...

, the Zenaida doves
Zenaida Doves
The Zenaida doves make up a small genus of American doves. There are 7 species:* White-winged Dove, Zenaida asiatica* West Peruvian Dove, Zenaida meloda* Zenaida Dove, Zenaida aurita...

 and common turtle doves.

Aquafauna



The marine life found here consists of Anemones, urchins, sea cucumbers, and eels, which all live on the reefs along with turtles, conch
Conch
A conch is a common name which is applied to a number of different species of medium-sized to large sea snails or their shells, generally those which are large and have a high spire and a siphonal canal....

 and many varieties of marine fishes. The marine aquafauna is rich in Conch
Conch
A conch is a common name which is applied to a number of different species of medium-sized to large sea snails or their shells, generally those which are large and have a high spire and a siphonal canal....

, which has pearly-pink shells. Its meat is a favourite food supplement item and their shells are a collectors item. Other species of fish which are recorded close to the shore line in shallow waters are: sergeant majors, the blue chromis
Chromis cyanea
Chromis cyanea, also known as Blue Reef Chromis, or just Blue Chromis is a fish from the western Atlantic Ocean that occasionally is kept in marine aquariums.-Appearance:...

, brown chromis
Chromis
Chromis is a genus of fish in the family Pomacentridae. While the term Damselfish describes a group of marine fish larger than just one genus, most damselfish are in the genus Chromis...

, surgeon fish; blue tangs
Tangs
Tangs is a company that specialises in the retail market, selling goods to customers. It is based in Singapore, and owns Singapore's oldest store which has become an icon of the Singapore retail market...

  and trumpet fish. On the shore are Ghost crabs, which always live on the beach in small burrowed tunnels made in sand, and the Hermit crabs, which live in land but lay eggs in water and which also eat garbage and sewerage. They spend some months in the sea during and after the hatching season.

Landmarks and architecture


Apart from Gustavia, the capital of St. Barts there are many notable places and monuments in the island which testify to the colonial regime of the Spanish, Swedes, the British and the French, and now a French territory.

Gustavia



Gustavia is in a U shaped cove facing the harbour on the west. The water side arm of this cove is in a peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 while the dockyard is on the east side. The harbour ferry dock on the land side and the tourist office are located to the right of harbour facing the sea. The left arm of the U-shaped harbour is a peninsula whose tip is called the La Pointe where Fort Oscar and the Wall House are situated.

When the British invaded the harbour town in 1744, the town’s architectural buildings were destroyed. Subsequently, new structures were built in the town around the harbour area and the Swedes had also further added to the architectural beauty of the town in 1785 with more buildings, when they had occupied the town. Earlier to their occupation, the port was known as "Carénage". The Swedes renamed it as Gustavia in honour of their king Gustav III. It was then their prime trading center. The port maintained a neutral stance since the Caribbean war was on in the 18th century. They used it as trading post of contraband and the city of Gustavia prospered but this prosperity was short lived. These buildings also under went further destruction during the hurricanes and also by gutting in 1852. However, some monuments are still intact such as the residence of the then Swedish governor known as Mairie, which is now the town hall. The oldest colonial structure in the town is stated to be the bell tower (now without a bell) built in 1799, as part of a church (destroyed in the past), in the southeast end of the town on Rue Du Presbytere. Now, a large clock is installed in place of the bell.

The road that runs parallel to the harbour face of the sea called the Rue de la Republique and two other roads connect to the two arms of the U-shaped bay. The city has a network of roads, inherited from the Swedish period, that are laid in a grid pattern, which are either parallel or perpendicular to the three main roads that encompass the bay.

Église catholique de Gustavia


Église catholique de Gustavia, the Saint-Bartholomew Anglican Church, is an important religious building in the town built in 1885 with stones brought from St Eustatius. It is on one of the most elegant roads of the town called the Rue du Centenaire. It has a bell tower. A rock wall encircles the church.

Ancien presbytère de l'église catholique de Gustavia


Ancien presbytère de l'église catholique de Gustavia is the Catholic Church built in 1822 is a replacement of the oldest church of the same name in Lorient. This church also has a bell tower which is separated from the main church and which rings loud and clear.

Musée Territorial de St.-Barthélemy


Musée Territorial de St.-Barthélemy is a historical museum known as the "St. Barts Municipal Museum" also called the "Wall House" (musée – bibliothèque) in Gustavia, which is located on the far end of La Pointe. The museum is housed in an old stone house, a two-storey building which has been refurbished. The island’s past history relating to French, Swedish and British period of occupation is well presented in the museum with photographs, maps and paintings. Also on display are the ancestral costumes, antique tools, models of Creole
Creole
- Languages :A Creole language is a stable, full-fledged language that originated from a pidgin or combination of other languages.Creole languages subgroups may include:* Arabic-based creole languages* Dutch-based creole languages...

 houses and ancient fishing boats. It also houses a library.

Gustavia Lighthouse



The 9 metres (29.5 ft) white tower of the Gustavia Lighthouse was built in 1961. Situated on the crest of a hill north of the town, its focal plane is 64 metres (210 ft) above the level of the sea. It flashes every 12 seconds, white, green or red depending on direction. The round conical tower has a single red band at the top. The lantern which formerly was used in the lighthouse is now on display at the Musée Municipal de St.-Barthélemy in Gustavia.

Le Manoir de St. Barthélemy


Another interesting structure in village of Lorient is the Le Manoir de St. Barthélemy which was built by transporting in segments a Norman House built in 1610 to St. Barts in 1984. This reassembly of the old building in St. Barts was the creation of an author of a French book on the history of St. Barts.

Forts


Among the notable structures in the town are the three forts built by the Swedes for defense purposes. One of these forts, known as Fort Oscar (formerly Gustav Adolph), which overlooks the sea is located on the far side of La Pointe. However, the ruins have been replaced by a modern military building which now houses the local gendarmerie. The other fort known as Fort Karl now presents a very few ruins. The third fort built by the Swedes is the Fort Gustav, which is also seen in ruins strewn around the weather station and the Light House. The fort built in 1787 over a hill slope has ruins of ramparts, guardhouse, munitions depot, wood-burning oven and so forth.

Festivals and holidays


Some of the festivals held each year in St. Barts are:
  • The St. Barts Music Festival held every January, usually during the 2nd and 3rd weeks.
  • A French Carnival in February/March held for two weeks before Ash Wednesday
    Ash Wednesday
    Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter...

     and concluding with Ash Wednesday; on Ash Wednesday a black and white parade held at Shell Beach is the occasion to a notional burning of the image of Vaval, the Carnival King
  • St. Barts Festival of Caribbean Cinema when Caribbean films are screened
  • Armistice Day on May 8
  • Abolition of Slavery Day on May 27 & October 9
  • Bastille Day
    Bastille Day
    Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to the French National Day, which is celebrated on 14 July of each year. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale and commonly le quatorze juillet...

     on July 14
  • Victor Schoelcher Day on July 21 honouring Schoelcher, a French parliamentarian for his noble humanitarian act of abolishing slavery in French territory on April 27, 1848
  • Assumption Day on August 15
  • Fete de Saint, Barthélemy feast day of Saint Barthélemy on August 24 in honour of the patron saint of the island when the church bells peel and the boats are blessed, and is followed by regatta and fireworks concluded with a public ball
  • Festival of Gustavia held in August, an occasion of dragnet fishing and partying.
  • All Saints Day on November 1;
  • Remembrance Day or Armistice Day WWI
  • Christmas Day on December 25; and New Year’s Eve on December 31.


Some other festivals held are the Festival Gastronomique (April) and Yacht Festival (May). The national holidays observed are the Bastille Day and St. Barthélemy Day (day of adoption of French Constitution). Feast of St Louis is held on November 1 when thousands of candles are lit in the evening hours, which is a public holiday. All Souls Day
All Souls Day
All Souls' Day commemorates the faithful departed. In Western Christianity, this day is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes several All Souls' Days during the...

 is observed on November 2, and it is public holiday.

Music


The island is part of the Caribbean music culture, the birthplace of the calypso
Calypso music
Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago from African and European roots. The roots of the genre lay in the arrival of enslaved Africans, who, not being allowed to speak with each other, communicated through song...

, meringue
Meringue
Meringue is a type of dessert made from whipped egg whites and sugar, occasionally some recipes may call for adding an acid such as cream of tartar or a small amount of vinegar and a binding agent such as cornstarch found in icing sugar which may be added in addition to the corn starch which...

, soca
Soca music
Soca is a style of music from Trinidad and Tobago. Soca is a musical development of traditional Trinidadian calypso, through loans from the 1960s onwards from predominantly black popular music....

, zouk
Zouk
Zouk is a style of rhythmic music originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe & Martinique. Zouk means "party" or "festival" in the local Antillean Creole of French, although the word originally referred to, and is still used to refer to, a popular dance, based on the Polish dance, the...

 and reggae
Reggae
Reggae is a music genre first developed in Jamaica in the late 1960s. While sometimes used in a broader sense to refer to most types of Jamaican music, the term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady.Reggae is based...

. The St. Barts Music Festival http://www.stbartsmusicfestival.org is a major international performing arts event held every year, often during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of January. Live performances are held every night, or every other night, for about two weeks. Performances include ballet, orchestra, chamber music, opera and jazz. The Festival performers also do outreach to the schools of St Barts and there is considerable childrens participation. And every summer the island's Festival has a sister performing arts festival in the French countryside called "72 Hours of Music" and is held during the 3rd weekend of every August at a castle 2 hours south of Paris called Chateau Ainay le Vieil http://chateau-ainaylevieil.fr/, in the Berry region famous for Joan of Arc / Jeanne d'Arc. The 72 Hours of Music also includes considerable music outreach to the children.

Cuisine


French cuisine
French cuisine
French cuisine is a style of food preparation originating from France that has developed from centuries of social change. In the Middle Ages, Guillaume Tirel , a court chef, authored Le Viandier, one of the earliest recipe collections of Medieval France...

, West Indian cuisine, Creole cuisine, Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab cuisines...

 and Asian cuisine
Asian cuisine
Asian cuisine styles can be broken down into several tiny regional styles that have roots in the peoples and cultures of those regions. The major types can be roughly defined as East Asian with its origins in Imperial China and now encompassing modern Japan and the Korean peninsula; Southeast Asian...

 are common in St. Barts. The island has over 70 restaurants serving many dishes and others are a significant number of gourmet restaurants; many of the finest restaurants are located in the hotels. There are also a number of snack restaurants which the French call "les snacks" or "les petits creux" which include sandwiches, pizzas and salads. West Indian cuisine, steamed vegetables with fresh fish is common; Creole dishes tend to be spicier. The island hosts gastronomic events throughout the year, with dishes such as spring roll of shrimp and bacon, fresh grilled lobster
Lobster
Clawed lobsters comprise a family of large marine crustaceans. Highly prized as seafood, lobsters are economically important, and are often one of the most profitable commodities in coastal areas they populate.Though several groups of crustaceans are known as lobsters, the clawed lobsters are most...

, Chinese noodle salad with coconut milk, and grilled beef fillet etc.

In the early 1990s, the island had two cooking schools: the Saint Barts Cooking School which had emphasis on classical French cuisine
French cuisine
French cuisine is a style of food preparation originating from France that has developed from centuries of social change. In the Middle Ages, Guillaume Tirel , a court chef, authored Le Viandier, one of the earliest recipe collections of Medieval France...

, and Cooking in Paradise which had emphasis on creole cuisine.

Fashion


The traditional costume which is seen only among older women consists of starched white bonnets called kichnottes.

The tropical location and natural beauty of St. Barts makes it a prime location for modelling photo shoot
Photo shoot
A photo shoot is generally used in the fashion industry, whereby a model poses for a photographer at a studio where multiple photos are taken to find the best ones for the required brief...

s, particularly for swimwear publications. St. Barts is also a winter getaway for many fashion models in the industry.

Legend


A popular legend related to St. Barts is of a seafarer hooligan looking to loot Spanish ships. A French pirate Daniel Montbars
Daniel Montbars
Daniel Montbars , better known as Montbars the Exterminator, was a 17th-century French buccaneer. For several years, he was known as one of the most violent buccaneers active against the Spanish during the mid-17th century...

, who was given the epithet “Montbars the Exterminator”, took shelter in St. Barts during his pirate operations and hid the loot in the sandy coves at Anse du Gouverneur.

Sports


Rugby is a popular sport in the island One of the major teams on the island is "Les Barracuda
Barracuda
The barracuda is a ray-finned fish known for its large size and fearsome appearance. Its body is long, fairly compressed, and covered with small, smooth scales. Some species could reach up to 1.8m in length and 30 cm in width...

s", named after a ferocious fish of the Caribbean. They often play teams from Anguilla
Rugby union in Anguilla
Rugby union in Anguilla is a minor, but growing sport. It is not ranked by the IRB as it is not affiliated in its own right.-Governing body:...

 and other surrounding islands. The junior national French surf champion from Lorient achieved success in 2006.

Gustavia is also known as a haven for yachting, with many events being held in Gustavia. These events are the Saint-Barth Regatta during February, the Saint Barth’s Cup in April and the International Regatta in May. Deep sea fishing is also undertaken by Anglers from the waterfront of Lorient, Flamands and Corossol to fish for tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

, marlin
Marlin
Marlin, family Istiophoridae, are fish with an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a long rigid dorsal fin, which extends forward to form a crest. Its common name is thought to derive from its resemblance to a sailor's marlinspike...

, bonito
Bonito
Bonito is a name given to various species of medium-sized, predatory fish in the Scombridae family. First, bonito most commonly refers to species in the genus Sarda, including the Atlantic bonito and the Pacific bonito ; second, in Japanese cuisine, bonito refers to the skipjack tuna , which, in...

, barracuda
Barracuda
The barracuda is a ray-finned fish known for its large size and fearsome appearance. Its body is long, fairly compressed, and covered with small, smooth scales. Some species could reach up to 1.8m in length and 30 cm in width...

 and wahoo
Wahoo
The wahoo is a scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. It is best known to sports fishermen, as its speed and high-quality flesh make it a prize game fish...

. St Barth Open Fishing tournament is held in July. Transat AG2R Race, held every alternate year, is an event which originates in Concarneau in Brittany, France, reaching St. Barts. It is a boat race with boats of 10 m length with a single hull and with essential safety equipment. Each boat is navigated by two sailors. Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing or Kiteboarding is an adventure surface water sport that has been described as combining wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, and gymnastics into one extreme sport. Kitesurfing harnesses the power of the wind to propel a rider across the water on a small surfboard or a...

 and other water sports have also become popular on the island in recent years, especially at Grand Cul-de-Sac beach (Baie de Grand Cul de Sac) for windy sports as Kitesurfing and Saint Jean Beach ( Baie de Saint Jean), Lorient, Toiny and Anse des Cayes for surfing. Tennis is also popular on the island and it has several tennis clubs, Tennis Clube de Flamboyant in Grand Cul-de-Sac, AJOE Tennis Club in Orient and ASCO in Colombier. All the Tennis facilities are lighted, and the tennis club in St. Jean includes a stadium for spectators.

The Swedish Marathon Race, also called the Gustavialoppet, is held in December. Races of 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) and 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) are conducted when children, women and men participate in the races.

The island has many local sports and facilities, including a lighted football stadium with astroturf, lighted archery facilities, Judo club with its own building, Taekwando club with its own building, a public pool with lessons and a swim team, and a rugby facility.

Transport



St. Barts has a small airport known as Gustaf III Airport
Gustaf III Airport
-Charter:-Incidents and accidents:*A Piper PA-23 Aztec attempted the tricky runway 10 landing on May 23, 2009, eventually touching down from the departure end of the runway. Amateur video of the crash sequence shows the plane approaching higher and faster than usual before making the dive for the...

 on the north coast of the island that is served by small regional commercial aircraft and charters. It has a paved runway of 650 m length. All visiting aircraft carry fewer than twenty passengers, such as the Twin Otter
De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter
The DHC-6 Twin Otter is a Canadian 19-passenger STOL utility aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada and currently produced by Viking Air. The aircraft's fixed tricycle undercarriage, STOL abilities and high rate of climb have made it a successful cargo, regional passenger airliner and MEDEVAC...

, a common sight around St. Barts and throughout the northern West Indies. The short airstrip is at the base of a gentle slope ending directly on the beach at St Jean. The arrival descent is over the hilltop traffic circle and departing planes fly right over the heads of sunbathers on St. Jean Beach (although small signs advise sunbathers not to lie directly at the end of the runway).

The nearest commercial jet airport is on the neighboring Dutch island of Sint Maarten: Princess Juliana International Airport
Princess Juliana International Airport
Princess Juliana International Airport serves the Dutch part of the island of Sint Maarten. In 2007, the airport handled 1,647,824 passengers and 103,650 aircraft movements. The airport serves as a hub for Windward Islands Airways and is the major gateway for the smaller Leeward Islands,...

, which is preferred to use and then take a connecting flight (regional carrier) to St. Barts. Several international airlines and domestic Caribbean airlines operate in this sector. Many Inter Inland ferry services operate regularly between St. Martin and St. Barts. There are three airlines which serve the island, Win-Air and St. Barth's Commuter
St Barth Commuter
- History :The airline was founded in 1995 and began services to Saint Maarten with a single Britten-Norman BN2A Islander. In 2005 the fleet was increased and added new routes to San Juan, Puerto Rico and the French side of Saint Martin, Marigot...

 fly regularly to St. Martin Princess Julianna, and Tradewind Aviation services St. Thomas and San Juan.

Some others arriving on the island access it by ferry, private charter boat or yacht. Daily ferry service is also available. St Barts is a stop off point for various international cruise lines, although the harbour is too small to accommodate the cruise ships so they anchor off shore and bring small groups on tenders.

The narrow and congested roads, and difficulty in parking, have been an impetus for driving Smart car
Smart (automobile)
Smart is an automotive branch of Daimler AG. Smart is a German manufacturer of microcars produced in Hambach, France, and Böblingen, Germany...

s. Many visitors rent cars as there are many sites and restaurants outside of Gustavia.

Media


A weekly journal entitled Journal de St. Barth is published in the French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

. Its English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 abridged version is published as St. Barth Weekly only during the winter months. Other tourist related information is available at the airport and in the offices of the Tourist Authority.

There is no local TV broadcasting station. However, the island has three FM radio channels, out of which two operate via repeaters. The island has a fully integrated access telephone system and with capability for direct dial on fixed and wireless systems.

Health facilities


The island has a small hospital called the 'Hopital de Bruyn' in Gustavia with an adjacent diagnostic laboratory, there is also at least one private diagnostic facility. Specialists in cardiology, general medicine, dentists, ENT, OB/GYN, paediatrics and rheumatology
Rheumatology
Rheumatology is a sub-specialty in internal medicine and pediatrics, devoted to diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. Clinicians who specialize in rheumatology are called rheumatologists...

 are also available. There are many pharmacies dispensing medicines. For more sophisticated facilities, patients go to Guadeloupe, San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan , officially Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista , is the capital and most populous municipality in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 395,326 making it the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of...

, Miami or France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

Notable people

  • Eugénie Blanchard
    Eugénie Blanchard
    Anne Eugénie Blanchard was a French supercentenarian, who at the age of was the oldest living person at the time of her death. She became the recognised titleholder upon the death of Japanese supercentenarian Kama Chinen on 2 May 2010...

     was the world's oldest person (114 years, 261 days) at the time of her death on 4 November 2010. She was born on St. Barts and spent most of her life on Curaçao and St. Barts.

See also


  • Caribbean Sea
    Caribbean Sea
    The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....


  • Leeward Islands
    Leeward Islands
    The Leeward Islands are a group of islands in the West Indies. They are the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles chain. As a group they start east of Puerto Rico and reach southward to Dominica. They are situated where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean...



  • Overseas departments and territories of France
    Overseas departments and territories of France
    The French Overseas Departments and Territories consist broadly of French-administered territories outside of the European continent. These territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all have representation in the Parliament of France , and consequently the...



External links


Government
Historical and botanical information
General information