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    Saint-Barthélemyball, officially the Territorial Collectivity of Saint-Barthélemyball also known as St. Barts (English) or St. Barth(French), is a overseas collectivityball of Franceball in the Caribbean. The island lies about 30 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of the island of Saint Martinball; it is northeast of the Dutch islands of Sababall and Sint Eustatiusball, as well as north of the independent country of Saint Kitts and Nevisball. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupeball, which is an overseas region and department of Franceball. In 2003 the island voted in favor of secession from Guadeloupeball to form a separate overseas collectivity (collectivité d'outre-mer, abbreviated to COM) of Franceball. The collectivity is one of four territories among the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean that make up the French West Indies, along with Saint Martinball, Guadeloupeball (200 kilometres (120 mi) southeast), and Martiniqueball. Saint Barthélemyball, a volcanic island fully encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 25 square kilometres (9.7 sq mi) and a population of 9,961 at the Jan. 2017 census. Its capital is Gustavia, which also contains the main harbour. It is the only Caribbean island that was a Swedish colony for any significant length of time (before the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Guadeloupeball came under Swedish rule for a year before the Treaty of Paris). It remained so for nearly a century before it returned to French rule after a referendum. 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, geared towards the high-end, luxury tourist market.


    Early period

    Before European contact the island was possibly frequented by Eastern Caribbean Taíno and Arawak people, who called the island 'Ouanalao', though it is believed that the island was not inhabited permanently due to its poor water sources and soil. Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter the island in 1493. Sporadic visits continued for the next hundred years until formal colonisation began taking shape.

    17th century

    By 1648 the island was settled by the French, encouraged by Phillippe de Longvilliers de Poincy, the lieutenant-governor of the French West India Company, and initially comprised about 50 to 60 settlers, later augmented by smaller numbers coming from St Kitts. Led by Jacques Gentes, the new arrivals began cultivating cacao. However, the settlement was attacked by Caribs in 1656 and briefly abandoned. De Poincy was the dominant administrator in this period and a member of the Order of Saint John. He facilitated the transfer of ownership from the Compagnie des Îles de l'Amérique to the Order. He continued to rule the island until he died in 1660. Five years later, it was bought by the French West India Company along with the Order's other Caribbean. By 1674, the company was dissolved and the islands became part of the Kingdom of Franceball and added to the colony of Guadeloupeball.

    18th century

    The island proved economically unsuccessful, and was subject to the activities of pirates (most notably Daniel Montbars aka 'Montbars the Exterminator'), as well as the British, who attacked the island in 1744. Thus deeming it to be of little worth, Franceball traded the island to Swedenball in 1784 in return for trading privileges in Gothenburg. This change of control saw progress and prosperity as the Swedes declared Gustavia (named after the Swedish king Gustav III who ruled at that time) a free port, convenient for trading by the Europeans for goods, including contraband material.

    19th century

    Slavery was practised in St. Barthélemy under the Ordinance concerning the Police of Slaves and free Colored People of 1787. The last legally owned slaves in the Swedish colony of St. Barthélemy were granted their freedom by the state on 9 October 1847. Since the island was not a plantation area, the freed slaves 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. The economy suffered, and thus Sweden sought to relieve themselves of the island. In 1867, a volcano “nearly destroyed the island” as recorded in the Illustrated London News. Following a referendum in 1877, Swedenball sold the island back to Franceball in 1878, after which it was administered as part of Guadeloupeball.

    20th century

    On 19 March 1946, the people of the island became French citizens with full rights. With few economic prospects on the islands, many men from St. Barthélemy took jobs on Saint Thomas to support their families. Organised tourism and hotels began in earnest in the 1960s and developed in the 1970s onwards, particularly after the building of the island's landing strip that can accommodate mid-sized aircraft. The island soon became renowned as a high-class luxury destination, being frequented by numerous celebrities such as Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Benjamin de Rothschild, David Rockefeller, Lorne Michaels, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Jimmy Buffett and Johnny Hallyday. The boost in tourist numbers has led to a rise in living standards and rapid modernisation. The island was not electrified until the 1980s.

    21st century

    Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupeball, which is an overseas region and department of France. Through a referendum in 2003, island residents sought separation from the administrative jurisdiction of Guadeloupeball, and it was finally accomplished in 2007. The island of Saint Barthélemyball became an Overseas Collectivity (COM). 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. St. Barthélemy has retained its free port status. Saint Barthélemy ceased being an outermost region and left the EU, to become an OCT, (Overseas Country or Territory) on 1 January 2012. The island sustained damage from Hurricane Irma in September 2017 but recovered quickly, and by early 2018 transport and electricity were largely operational.



    Swedish Empireball - Dad