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11 Facts About Saint Barthélemy

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Saint Barthélemy, officially the Territorial collectivity of Saint-Barthélemy, called Ouanalao by the indigenous people, is an overseas collectivity of France in the West Indies.

France, officially the French Republic, is a unitary sovereign state and transcontinental country consisting of territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories.

The French overseas collectivities, like the French regions, are first-order administrative divisions of France.

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Often abbreviated to St-Barth in French, and St. Barths or St. Barts in English, the island lies about 35 kilometres southeast of St. Martin and north of St. Kitts.

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Puerto Rico is 240 kilometres to the west in the Greater Antilles.

Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and formerly known as and sometimes called Porto Rico, is the largest insular territory of the United States, and it is located in the northeastern Caribbean Sea.

The Greater Antilles is a grouping of the larger islands in the Caribbean Sea: Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands.

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Saint Barthélemy was for many years a French commune forming part of Guadeloupe, which is an overseas region and department of France.

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In 2003, the island voted in favour of secession from Guadeloupe in order to form a separate overseas collectivity of France.

Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also any organization, union or military alliance.

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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, and Martinique.

The West Indies or Caribbean Basin is a region of the North Atlantic Ocean in the Caribbean that includes the island countries and surrounding waters of three major archipelagoes: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles and the Lucayan Archipelago.

Martinique is an insular region of France located in the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 square kilometres and a population of 385,551 inhabitants as of January 2013.

The term French West Indies or French Antilles refers to the seven territories currently under French sovereignty in the Antilles islands of the Caribbean:

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Saint Barthélemy, a volcanic island fully encircled by shallow reefs, has an area of 25 square kilometres and a population of 9,278.

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Its capital is Gustavia, which also contains the main harbour to the island.

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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.

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of major global conflicts pitting the French Empire, led by Napoleon I, against an array of European powers formed into various coalitions.

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Symbolism from the Swedish national arms, the Three Crowns, still appears in the island's coat of arms.

Three Crowns is a national emblem of Sweden, present in the coat of arms of Sweden, and composed of three yellow or gilded coronets ordered two above and one below, placed on a blue background.

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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.

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