Flag of Saint Barthelemy

Flag of Saint Barthelemy
Country St. Barthelemy
Population 9,131 (2012)
Area (Km²) 21
Сontinent North America
Emoji 🇧🇱
  hex rgb
#002654 0, 38, 84
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255
#ED2939 237, 41, 57

St. Barthelemy, also known as St. Barts, is one of the most prestigious and exclusive islands in the Caribbean. It is an overseas territory of France, so the official flag is the French flag. Despite this, residents have created their own unofficial flag to reflect their unique history and identity. This flag includes the island's coat of arms, which contains elements symbolizing different stages of its colonial history.

Meaning of the flag of Saint Barthelemy

The official flag of Saint-Barthélemy is the tricolor flag of France, which consists of three vertical stripes: blue, white and red in the appropriate sequence.

The unofficial flag of St. Barthelemy

The unofficial flag of Saint-Barthélemy has a white background with the coat of arms in the center. The coat of arms includes the following elements:

  • Shield: divided into three parts, each symbolizing different stages of the island's history;
  • Lilies: at the top of the shield are three golden lilies on a blue background. The lilies symbolize France and reflect Saint-Barthélemy's connection to this country. Lilies are a traditional symbol of the French monarchy;
  • Cross: In the center of the shield is a white cross on a red background. This symbolizes the period when the island belonged to the Order of Malta;
  • Three crowns Or: In the lower part of the shield are three golden crowns on a blue background, symbolizing the Swedish rule on the island from 1784 to 1878;
  • Argent crown above the shield: The coat of arms is crowned with a golden crown, which symbolizes the royal status and importance of the island in different periods of its history;
  • Pelican: On the sides of the shield are two pelicans. Pelicans are typical for the Caribbean region and symbolize the local fauna and natural beauty of the island;
  • The inscription “Ouanalao” recalls the period before European colonization, when the island was inhabited by Arawak Indians. This name was used to preserve the memory of the indigenous people and their culture.

A brief historical note about the flag of Saint-Barthélemy

St. Barthelemy was discovered by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the New World in 1493. Columbus named the island in honor of his brother, Bartholomew. However, the island remained uninhabited for centuries after its discovery.
In 1648, French colonists from the island of St. Kitts settled St. Barthelemy, but the island was not of great economic importance and was subject to numerous pirate attacks. In 1651, the island came under the control of the Order of Malta, but in 1674 it became a French colony again.
In 1784, France sold St. Barthelemy to Sweden, which made a significant contribution to the island's development, including the construction of the capital, Gustavia, named after King Gustav III, and the establishment of economic freedom, which contributed to the growth of trade. In 1878, St. Barthelemy became part of France again. Since then, it has remained a French colony and subsequently received the status of an overseas territory.
Thus, the following flags were used on the island:

  • French period (until 1784): The island used the French flag.
  • Swedish rule (1784-1878): During Swedish rule, the Swedish flag was used.
  • Return to France (since 1878): After returning to France, the island again used the French tricolor flag, which remains official until today.

Interesting facts about the island of St. Barthelemy

  • Pirate history: In the 17th and 18th centuries, St. Barthelemy was a popular destination for pirates who used the island as a base to attack Spanish galleons carrying gold and silver from the New World to Europe;
  • Economic paradise: St. Barthelemy is known for its status as a tax haven, attracting investors and celebrities from all over the world. There is no income tax, property tax, or VAT on the island;
  • Environmental initiatives: The island has strict environmental laws, construction is limited to protect natural resources and maintain ecological balance;
  • Luxury resorts: St. Barthelemy is famous for its luxury resorts, villas and restaurants, making it a popular vacation destination for the rich and famous;
  • Music festivals: The island is home to numerous cultural events, including an annual music festival that attracts famous musicians from around the world;
  • Yachting: The island is a popular yachting destination. The annual regatta “Les Voiles de St. Barth” attracts international yachtsmen and spectators.