Saint-Barthélemy is a French island in the carribean islands and overseas collectivity (COM) within the meaning of Article 74 of the Constitution since July 15, 2007. Before that date, on which the change of status takes effect at the first meeting of the newly elected territorial council, it was a town and a district, depending on the overseas department of Guadeloupe.
It is familiarly known St. Barts (or St Barts by English speakers). Its inhabitants are commonly known as St. Barths.
Its postal code is 97133 and its official geographic code (INSEE code) is 977 (or 97 701).
The island was discovered by Christopher Columbus, who named it in honor of his brother Bartolom, during his second voyage in 1493. He then claimed it for Spain. Originally the name of the Caribbean island was Ouanalao.
In 1648 took place the first occupation by the French decision of commander Lonvilliers Poincy. From 1651 to 1656, the island was ruled by the Knights of Malta. It was then abandoned until 1659, when she becomes a French colony. With poor soil and a very dry climate, it offers no economic potential, but remains a strategic issue in the northern Lesser Antilles notably its naturally protected harbor of Carenage. The inhabitants grow especially fishing, goat rearing, harvesting of salt, cotton and indigo.
In 1784, the island was ceded by the King Louis XVI Gustav III of Sweden against the right warehouse in Gothenburg. The Swedes Saint-Barthélemy free port in 1785. In homage to the king of Sweden, the main town of the island (The Shroud) is renamed Gustavia to 1787. An order of “Police General Swedish legislate slavery in Saint-Barthélemy from 1787 instead of the French Black Code, slavery was finally abolished it October 9, 1847.
The island was officially ceded back to France March 16, 1878 and then attached to Guadeloupe where she became a municipality in 1946. In 1957, David Rockefeller purchased a property and the island began his transformation into an upscale tourist destination.
From 1962 to 2007, the communes of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy were the third district of Guadeloupe (the “Northern Islands”) are administered by a sub-prefect whose main residence in Saint-Martin. December 7, 2003, the voters of St. Bartholomew approved by popular vote, with a participation of 78.71% and 95.51% of the votes cast, an institutional project doing their island a territorial assembly to single detached from the DOM Guadeloupe-ROM. The first territorial elections are convened Saint-Barthélemy in July 2007 and became the island, Sunday, July 15, 2007, officially collectivity overseas: the commune of Saint-Barthélemy is dissolved, as well as the district and departmental canton.
Saint-Barthélemy is located 230 km northwest of Guadeloupe and 25 miles southeast of Saint-Martin.
It is a mountainous island of volcanic rock made essentially of about 21 km2 (24 km2 with lets). It has 32 km of coastline.
Its population as of January 1, 2012 amounted to 9000 people.
The highest point of the island is bleak Vitet to 286 m.
The island is surrounded by several lets including the island Chevreau, Coco, Forked Island (important mooring craft), Frigate Island, Turtle Island, The Baker, The Grenadines, Sugarloaf Island, Pele Island Little John , Toc Vers, Gros Islets …
The island has an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 4000 km2.