Saint Barthelemy (France) Overview

By | January 29, 2022

Saint Barthelemy (Saint-Barthélemy in French; also St Barth) is an island in the Caribbean Sea 175 km north of the Guadeloupe archipelago (17 ° 54 ′ North 62 ° 50 ′ West). Administratively is a commune of Guadalupe, although the 6 of Decemberof 2003 residents voted to become a separate territory of Guadeloupe, near the French side of St. Martin. Its surface area is 25,500 ha and its population of 8,450 residents, which mainly earns its livelihood from tourist services.


It was discovered on the second voyage of Christopher Columbus, who gave it the name of his brother. The Caribbean Indians called it Ouanalao.

The French captain Lonvilliers de Poincy occupied the island in 1648 and between 1651 and 1665 it was owned by the Order of Malta. Later the first settlers arrived, mainly Normans and Bretons. The dry climate and rocky geography did not allow the cultivation of sugar cane as in other Caribbean islands, so there was no massive entry of slaves. Yes, instead, it served as the basis for pirate raids.

It was a French possession from then on, with the exception of almost a century of Swedish rule between 1785 and 1877, which is reflected in the name of its main town, Gustavia, named after Gustav III of Sweden. Gustavia was converted by the Swedes into a free port, which ensured the island’s prosperity in the 19th century. The French had ceded the island in exchange for port rights in Gothenburg ; they recovered it on August 10, 1877 by paying 80,000 francs.

The 6 of December of 2003 residents voted to become a separate territory of Guadeloupe, near the French side of St. Martin. On February 22 of the 2007 San Bartholomew and San Martin they became a territorial collectivity, segregating of the overseas department of Guadeloupe, which depended until that date.


Most of the residents are French-speaking descendants of the early Norman and Breton settlers, so French is the official language, yet everyone speaks English. Gustavia is the main town.


Every year, St. Barth sponsors the Music Festival, which attracts the best international musicians during the months of January and February, and a film festival in April specializing in Caribbean cinema.

According to, the St. Barthélémy Municipal Museum in Gustavia presents the history of the island through photos, documents, costumes, and antiques. The inter-oceans museum in Corossol has a collection of 7,000 seashells. The mountainous vicinity of Vitet, with stone-fenced farms and houses with tile roofs.


It has a small airport to which charter flights and regional airlines arrive. St. Jean Airport is the only airport serving the island of St. Barths. The airport has a small runway where you cannot maneuver anything larger than a 20-seat ADAC and it is not equipped for night landings. There are no direct flights from the UK, however Air France and KLM fly via Paris to Dutch Saint Martin, where there are flights connecting with Gustave III Airport (SBH). Private charter flights can also be scheduled from many other islands and there is a frequent ferry service from Saint Martin (Dutch).

The port of Gustavia admits yachts and other small draft vessels.

Saint Barthelemy (France) Overview