|The islands all have a history. The history of St. Barts can be read in the streets of Gustavia or by putting a shell to your ear. Discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus and named after his brother, Saint-Barthélemy was inhabited by the Carib cannibals.
Driven from the island of St. Christopher (St. Kitts) by the Spanish fleet, Mr. Esnambuc and four hundred of his soldiers went to St.Martin and left a handful of men in St. Barts. It is now 1629. The West Indian islands were coveted by English, the Dutch and the Spanish. The island became a strategic point on the chess board for the various European rivals.
Decimated by the ferocious Indians, tossed around by the Order of Malta and the West Indian Company, the tiny colony of Britons and Normans resisted hurricanes and droughts.
In 1784, Louis XVI negotiated the exchange of the island with Sweden for a commercial base in Goteborg. The island is still free port, a decision which was made during the period of prosperity. As from 1813, the financial situation of the island declined. Due to the commercial competition from the surrounding islands and repeated climatic catastrophes, the king of Sweden Oscar II proposed giving St.Barts back to France. The treaty was signed on March 15, 1878. The French flag floated once again on the island of 9 square miles.
Nowadays, St.Barts is an attraction thanks to the prerogatives inherited from the Swedish era. The free port status is not the least attraction, the hotel infrastructures and the natural beauty of the beaches makes the island one of the most sought after pieces of paradise tourists.