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Saint Barthélemy

Electricity and water had been restored; internet service and cell phone service were widely available.

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Wriedt has a background in both financial management and counseling. Need Help With an Addiction? Take the first step to recovery today. Call Now - Often abbreviated to St-Barth in French, and St. Martin and north of St. In , the island voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity COM of France.

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. Symbolism from the Swedish national arms , the Three Crowns , 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, especially for the rich and famous during the Christmas and New Year period.

He named it after his brother Bartolomeo. Sporadic visits continued for the next hundred years until formal colonization began taking shape.

By , the island was settled from St. Christopher, but the settlement was attacked and destroyed by Caribs six years later. Led by Jacques Gentes, the new arrivals began cultivating cacao , until the Carib attack forced them to retreat. De Poincy was the dominant administrator in this period and a member of the Order of Saint John.

He continued to rule the island until his death in Five years later, it was bought by the French West India Company along with the Order's other possessions in the Caribbean.

By , the company was dissolved and the islands became part of the French Kingdom. There was a very brief takeover by the British in The island was given to Sweden in in exchange for trade rights in Gothenburg. 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.

Slavery was practiced in St. The last legally-owned slaves in the Swedish colony of St. In , a devastating hurricane [ verification needed ] hit the island and this was followed by a fire. Following a referendum in , Sweden gave the island back to France in , [16] after which it was administered as part of Guadeloupe. On 19 March , the people of the island became French citizens with full rights.

Many men from St. The island received electricity circa Organised tourism and hotels began in earnest the s and developed in the s onwards particularly after the building of the island's landing strip which can accommodate mid-sized aircraft; capitalizing on its low population density, tropical peaks and sandy coastline with many coves.

The coves and beach-side hotels attract catered and self-catered yachts and honeymooners. The capital has many businesses and attracts cruise liners. Through a referendum in , island residents sought separation from the administrative jurisdiction of Guadeloupe, and it was finally accomplished in A governing territorial council was elected for its administration, which has provided the island with a certain degree of autonomy.

A senator represents the island in Paris. The island sustained damage from Hurricane Irma in September but by March , the airport was handling daily flights and the ferry between St.

Electricity and water had been restored; internet service and cell phone service were widely available. Some hotels were not yet open but most were expected to be operating by the fall of the year. The cruise ship port in Gustavia was operational. It is one of the Renaissance Islands. Some small satellite islets belong to St.

Other rocky islets which include Coco, the Roques or little Turtle rocks , the Goat, and the Sugarloaf. Martin, Anguilla, and Dog Island , a distinct group that lies upon the western edge of a flat bank of soundings composed chiefly of shells, sand, and coral.

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 kilometres 14 miles 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. 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 , covers more than 1, hectares 2, acres of protected and vulnerable habitats, bays and islands, and includes a zone that is restricted to scientific observations only.

Environmental awareness is quite pronounced in St. There are as many as 22 public beaches most beaches on St. They are categorized and divided into two groups, 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. The beach of St Jean is suitable for water sports and facilities have been created for that purpose. The long beach at Lorient has shade and is a quiet beach as compared to St. Grand-cul-de-sac is a long beach with facilities for water sports.

Anse de Flamands is a very wide sandy beach and Le petit Anse The little beach , just to the north of Anse de Flamands is very safe and popular with the locals for their children.

Anse Toiny beach is in a remote location and is considered suitable for experienced surfers as the water current is very strong. On the leeward side, the notable beaches are: The area around the salt ponds near the Anse de Grande Saline beach is marshy and is a 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 "cove" 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 in , which resulted in erosion of the sand. This necessitated supplementing the beach with new sand in On the north coast, on the far eastern side of the island, there are two lagoons called the Anse de Marigot [ verification needed ] and Anse du Grand Cul-de-Sac.

Morne du Vitet , metres feet in height, is the highest peak on 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. The population is spread among 40 quartiers , roughly corresponding to settlements.

They are grouped into two paroisses parishes:. The eastern side is wetter than the western. Although the climate is essentially arid, the rainfall does average 1, millimetres 39 inches annually, but with considerable variation over the terrain. 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 for nearly the entire year and even during the rainy season. Humidity, however, is not very high due to the winds. According to population estimates, St. Most of them are descendants of the first settlers, of Breton , Norman , Poitevin, Saintongeais and Angevin lineage. French is the native tongue of the population. English is understood in hotels and restaurants, and a small population of Anglophones have been resident in Gustavia for many years.

Until , administratively, the whole island of St. In , the population voted through referendum in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity COM of France. The new status took effect on 15 July , when the first territorial council was elected, according to the law.

Elections to these councils were first held on 1 July with the most recent election in March One senator represents the island in the French Senate. The first election was held on 21 September with the last election in September France is responsible for the defence of the island and as such has stationed a security force on the island comprising six policemen and thirteen gendarmes posted on two-year term.

The French State is represented by a prefect appointed by the president on the advice of the Minister of the Interior. As a collectivity of France, the island's national anthem is La Marseillaise.

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 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. Corossol is noted for its handicrafts; weaving hats and bags from palm fronds is a low income economic activity of the indigenous people. International investment and the wealth generated by tourists explain the high standard of living on the island.

Most of the food is imported from the US or France. Tourism attracts about , 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. The largest has 58 rooms. Of particular note are Eden Rock and Cheval Blanc. Hotel Le Toiny , the most expensive hotel on the island, has 12 rooms. Most places of accommodation are in the form of private villas, of which there are some available to rent on the island.

It also attracts a labour force from Brazil and Portugal. The height of tourism is New Year's Eve, with celebrities and the wealthy converging on the island in yachts up to feet metres in length for the occasion.

As the terrain is generally arid, the hills have mostly poor soil and support only cacti 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 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 and palm trees are a common sight with mangroves and shrubs surviving in the saline coastal swamps. Coconut palm was brought to the island from the Pacific islands. Important plants noted on the island are: There are Flamboyant trees , frangipanis , sabal palms , wild trumpet and Manchineel trees on the island. Other trees of note include the royal palm , sea grape trees in the form of shrubs on the beaches and as 5 to 7 metres 16 to 23 feet trees in the interior areas of the island, aloe or aloe vera brought from the Mediterranean , [42] the night blooming cereus , mamillaria nivosa , yellow prickly pear or barbary fig which was planted as barbed wire defences against invading British army in , Mexican cactus , stapelia gigantea , golden trumpet or yellow bell which was originally from South America, bougainvillea and others.

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 coastline 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. The leatherback sea 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 metres 9.

Avifauna in the wild, both native and migrating include brown pelican along the shore line, magnificent frigatebirds with long wingspans of up to 1. The marine life found here consists of anemones , urchins , sea cucumbers , and eels , which all live on the reefs along with turtles , conch and many varieties of marine fishes.