Private Villa Rentals
Attentive Concierge Service, Trusted Experience

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


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


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 MJP, St. Barthelemy, Flamands, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas


Eco-friendly 'green' villa with an inviting style, situated a short drive from the beach and shops

Flamands, St. Barthelemy
3 br / 3 ba

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


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

Gouverneur, St. Barthelemy
3 br / 3 ba

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


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


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

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

Villa WV LOV1, St. Barthelemy, Pointe Milou, 1 bedrooms, 1 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas


a small gem in Pointe Milou with 1-bedroom and dramatic ocean views

Pointe Milou, St. Barthelemy
1 br / 1 ba

Villa WV ATP, St. Barthelemy, Lurin, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas


Private hillside domain, elevator access, exquisite spacious living accompanied by sweeping views

Lurin, St. Barthelemy
4 br / 4 ba

Browse All

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


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


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


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

Marigot Beach, St. Barthelemy
3 br / 3.5 ba

Browse All

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 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

Browse All

Back to Top