Collectivité de Saint-Barthélemy
Collectivity of Saint Barthélemy

Overseas collectivity of ‌France
Flag of France Coat of Arms of Saint Barthélemy
La Marseillaise
Map of Saint Barthélemy
Status Overseas collectivity
President of France
- From 2007Nicolas Sarkozy
- From 2009Dominique Lacroix
- 1648French colony
July 1, 1784Exchanged to Sweden
March 16, 1878Sold to France
February 22, 2007Overseas Collectivity
Area21 km²
- 20088,823

Saint Barthélemy is an overseas collectivity of France located in the Caribbean.


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, 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. 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 populace of the island voted to secede from Guadeloupe and in 2007, the island became a French overseas collectivity.[1]


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.[2]

President of France

  • Nicolas Sarkozy () (May 16, 2007 - )


  • Dominique Lacroix () (August 24, 2009 - )


French Overseas Collectivities


  1. The CIA World Factbook: Introduction - Background
  2. The CIA World Factbook: Economy - Overview

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