Politics Of Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy (French: Saint-Barthélemy, ), officially the Territorial collectivity of Saint Barthélemy (French: Collectivité territoriale de Saint-Barthélemy), is an overseas collectivity of France. Often abbreviated to Saint-Barth in French, or St. Barts or St. Barths in English, the indigenous people called the island Ouanalao. St. Barts lies about 35 km (21.75 mi) southeast of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin, and north of St. Kitts. Puerto Rico is 240 km (149.1 mi) to its west in the Lesser Antilles.
The collectivity is one of four territories among the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean that comprise the French West Indies, along with Saint Martin, Guadeloupe (200 km southeast) and Martinique. Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, which is an overseas région and département of France and is therefore in the European Union.
Saint Barthélemy, a volcanic island fully encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 22.1 km² (8.5 mi²) and a population of 8,902 (Jan. 2009 census). Its capital is Gustavia, which also contains the main harbour to the island. 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 the rich and famous during the Christmas and New Year period.
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