Updated: Sep 18
Saint Barthélemy, officiallyCollectivité territoriale de Saint-Barthélemy.
Often abbreviated to St-Barth in French, and St. Barths or St. Barts in English.
Saint-Barthélemy is an overseas collectivity of France in the Caribbean, the island lies about 35 kilometers (22 mi) southeast of the Caribbean island Saint Martin and northeast of the Dutch islands of Saba, Sint Eustatius, and the independent country of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Reason for naming the country
The island was named by Christopher Columbus for his younger brother Bartholomew Columbus in 1493.
Saint Barthelemy is a French Overseas collectivity and therefore uses the French flag. The coat of arms was adopted in 1977.
The coat of arms serves as the unofficial flag of Saint Barthélemy, it is composed of a blue shield with a red stripe at the center that divides the flag into three unequal parts. The top blue part of the shield contains three mural crowns (Fleurs-de-lis). The red center stripe has a Maltase cross while the bottom blue part of the shield contains three gold crowns. On top of the shield is a castle with three rooks and inlets. Two pelicans, each with one foot stepping on the shield, face each other laterally on either side with their wings flapped open. The other feet of the two pelicans rest on a ribbon below the shield with the words OUANALAO.
Colors on the coat of arms were originally adopted from the French Tricolor, Blue and red colors are the original colors of Paris - the former represents Saint Martin while the latter is Saint-Denis.
The Maltese Cross represents the fact that the island was French and governed in the order of Malta.
The Three golden crowns show the Swedish rule on the island spanning from 1785 to 1878. The mural crown is an ancient symbol of the Greek gods protecting the lands. The two pelicans represent the natural fauna found on the island while the “Ouanalao” is the island’s local name given by its original inhabitants, the Arawak, in 1493.
French is the official language of St. Barthélemy, and the majority speak Saint Barthelemy French which is the dialect of French spoken in the Caribbean.
There are different Creole dialects used on the island, and as much as the French Dialect and Patois are the main dialects on the Island, various parts of the country have their dialects as well.
The dialect commonly used in Gustavia is the Guadeloupe Creole.
There is a minority of the population speaks Spanish, also English is spoken throughout the island.