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History of St. Barthelemy Island

In the past, many people fought for control over the island of Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barths. With its natural beauty and its distinction from all the other Caribbean islands, St. Barths was an island worth fighting for.


Arawak Indians gave the island its first name as "Ouanalao", which may refer to the iguanas that resided on the island. When Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1493, it was given the name of Saint Barthélemy, named after his younger brother Bartolomeo.


The first attempt to settle was made by the French, who came in 1648. The settlement was not a great success; however, the island ended up being sold to the Knights of Malta merely two years later. The Knights of Malta attempted to grow indigo and cotton, and developed salt farming, fishing, and breeding practices. This was their attempt towards colonization; however, the Carib Indians destroyed the settlements in 1656.


It was not until 1763 that French mariners from Normandy and Brittany reclaimed the island. French buccaneers enhanced the economy by providing plunder taken from Spanish galleons.


Tales of piracy arose, which later inspired the characters of Red Rackham and Captain Hook. There was also Monbars the Exterminator, a famous buccaneer who maintained his headquarters in St. Barths. It is believed that his hidden treasure rests somewhere on the island; either in the coves of Anse de Gouverneur or in the sands of Saline.


The French then found themselves continuously fighting for ownership of St. Barths. In 1744, the British took over the island, and it took 20 years for it to be returned to the French. But the French lost the island again when King Louis XVI sold it to Sweden as a trading possession in 1784.


As a tax-free port under Swedish rule, it provided a trade & supply center. The port was named Gustavia to honor King Gustave III. Vessels from all around the world would come to the port. Sea captains would sell their booty to St. Barths, as well as replenishing their cargos. Business thrived, until natural disasters struck and weakened the economy.


In 1878, France finally reclaimed St. Barths by repurchasing the island for a modest 320,000 francs.


Although still loosely governed by France today, fragments of St. Barths' fascinating Swedish history still remains on the island today, in the form of remaining castles, as well as the Swedish capital Gustavia.


St. Barths General Information and Villa Rentals
Villa WV BON, St. Barthelemy, Pointe Milou, 1 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas

WV BON

Romantic and private, blessed with constant breezes, located within minutes of several beaches

Pointe Milou, St. Barthelemy
1 br / 2 ba

Villa WV PAT, St. Barthelemy, Mont Jean, 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas

WV PAT

Large and open living spaces with unique wall décor, breathtaking views, close to several beaches

Mont Jean, St. Barthelemy
2 br / 3 ba

Villa WV LLA, St. Barthelemy, St. Jean, 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas

WV LLA

Uniquely positioned on the crest of a ridge, opens to spectacular vistas with bay views to the west

St. Jean, St. Barthelemy
3 br / 4 ba

Villa WV GEM, St. Barthelemy, Gouverneur, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas

WV GEM

Located on the hilltop, outstanding sunset views, modern design, minutes from the beach and shops

Gouverneur, St. Barthelemy
4 br / 4.5 ba

Villa WV LUM, St. Barthelemy, Flamands, 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas

WV LUM

Exquisite hillside views of the ocean and surrounding islands, minutes from the beach and shopping

Flamands, St. Barthelemy
2 br / 3 ba

Villa WV GGL, St. Barthelemy, Gouverneur, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas

WV GGL

Open and spacious, short drive to the beach and shops, beautiful ocean views and magnificent sunsets

Gouverneur, St. Barthelemy
3 br / 3.5 ba

Villa WV GDF, St. Barthelemy, Colombier, 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas

WV GDF

Private hillside estate, magnificent ocean views, drive to the beach, restaurants, and shops

Colombier, St. Barthelemy
2 br / 2.5 ba

Villa WV DIA, St. Barthelemy, St. Jean, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas

WV DIA

Contemporary private living with sweeping hillside views, situated on the edge of a nature reserve

St. Jean, St. Barthelemy
2 br / 2 ba

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WIMCO Villas, WV BEV, St. Barthelemy, Mont Jean, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms

WV BEV

Well decorated and private, magnificent sunsets, spectacular views of the ocean and nearby islands

Mont Jean, St. Barthelemy
4 br / 4 ba

WIMCO Villas, WV GRO, St. Barthelemy, Marigot, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

WV GRO

Ultra modern, minimalist style with clean-cut lines and angles, a short walk from the beach

Marigot, St. Barthelemy
3 br / 3 ba

WIMCO Villas, WV BEA, St. Barthelemy, Marigot Beach, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

WV BEA

Beautifully maintained and modern, charming beachfront cottage opens to magnificent bay views

Marigot Beach, St. Barthelemy
3 br / 3.5 ba

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WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Hotel, Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France, St. Barts, Book now with WIMCO

Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France

Situated on Flamands Beach, this hotel is elegant, upscale and intimate. Perfect for honeymooners, couples or families. Brand new spa, 2 pools and tennis nearby. Suites and rooms are either garden or ocean view, some have 2 bedrooms.

St. Barts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Hotel, Le Sereno, St. Barts, Book now with WIMCO

Le Sereno

Le Sereno is the renaissance of a beloved hotel on St. Barths. Recently, the hotel was re-designed, rebuilt and repositioned as the deluxe property among the islands select group of hotels.

St. Barts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Hotel, Hotel Guanahani & Spa, St. Barts, Book now with WIMCO

Hotel Guanahani & Spa

Full-fledged resort, with a spa, tennis, waterports, 2 pools, boutique, 2 restaurants, concierge service, this property has it all. The luxurious rooms and suites have either ocean or garden views, some have private pool and 2 or 3 bedrooms.

St. Barts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Hotel, Eden Rock Hotel, St. Barts, Book now with WIMCO

Eden Rock Hotel

On St Jean Beach, this Relais et Chateaux property has it all, perfect beach, gourmet restaurants, watersports and a spa. Each room is different and offers amazing views. Very unique and luxurious property

St. Barts

WIMCO Villas and Hotels, Hotel, Le Toiny, St. Barts, Book now with WIMCO

Le Toiny

Perched high above Anse de Toiny, this hotel resembles a dream come true. Each suite has a private pool. You will have the most intimate, private, relaxed, and impeccably serviced stay. Welcome to the hotel of your dreams!

St. Barts

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