collectivity of France)
Discovered in 1493 by
Christopher COLUMBUS who named it for his brother
Bartolomeo, St. 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. St.
Barthelemy retained its free port status along with various Swedish
appelations 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. Its languages are: French (primary) and English.