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The island of Saint-Barthélemy is located to the northwest of Guadeloupe at the limit between the Greater and Smaller Antilles, near the American Virgin Islands. Before European contact the island originally named Ouanalao was possibly frequented by Eastern Caribbean Taíno people : The Arawaks.â€¨
Christopher Columbus was the first European to encounter the island in 1493. He named it after his brother Bartolomeo. It wasn’t until 1648 that the French decided to colonise the island, establishing a settlement with 50 men. For many years it was a refuge for the Caribbean Indians, then buccaneers, until Louis XVI transferred it to the King of Sweden in exchange for warehousing rights in Gothenburg. The island’s main village was subsequently renamed Gustavia after the King of Sweden, Gustave III. The island became Swedish in 1784 and an era of prosperity began as the town of Gustavia rose with paved streets, forts, and buildings of wood and stone. By 1815, the population had grown to 6,000, but several years of war and natural disasters followed, as did the fire of 1852, which destroyed the southern section of Gustavia. King Oscar II of Sweden deduced that the island was costing more than it produced, and so he retroceded it to France in 1878. France recovered possession of Saint-Barthélemy under the treaty of 10th August 1877, which was ratified by the Law of 2nd March 1878. It was then annexed to Guadeloupe and became a municipality of the latter in 1946.â€¨â€¨It wasn’t until 1946 that Remy de Haenen opened St. Barth to the world by landing the first airplane on the savanna in St. Jean. Remy bought for 200 Dollar the Eden Rock.
The small houses on the rock in the Bay of St. Jean got the hideaway for stars, head of states and the largest fortunes on the planet – the Begum Aga Khan, Robert Mitchum, Louis Malle, Johnny Weissmuller, the King of Sweden, Montgomery Clift, Greta Garbo. â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨In 1957 David Rockefeller bought lands at the bay of Colombier and Gouverneur from Mrs Monique TURBE family. The island has become the ultimate hideaway of the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds and Howard Hughes... The island of stars was born.
Tourism began in the 1960s, developed in the 1970s, and led to considerable international popularity beginning in the 1980s. â€¨
Mr Guy TURBE was the pioneer of the business and has been the most successful entrepreneur in the Tourism, building many hotels and villas. â€¨â€¨â€¨â€¨By the 1980s, life on St. Barth evolved grandly as tourism became the main economic force, sports grew in popularity, an electrical plant was built to supply all corners of the island, and the airport was expanded.
The complex history of Saint Barthélemy left many important symbols for the artist to use. â€¨ Several of them were united into the coat of arms, including :
- Ouanalao: the Carib Indian name for Saint Barthélemyâ€¨,
- The Maltese Cross illustrates that the island once belonged to the Order of Malta;
- The fleur-de-lis represents the French monarchy: marking France’s rule of the islandâ€¨;
- The gold mural crown representing the Greek goddesses that protected the fortune of a city; The crowns of three Swedish kings: a reminder of the Swedish era of the islandâ€¨;
- Pelicans: the popularity of these birds has made them the mascot of the island.