Guadeloupe 1635-1789 Guadeloupe 1878-1945

St. Barthelemy, 1784-1878

In 1784, France ceded the island of St. Barthelemy (hitherto administrated from Guadeloupe) to it's ally Sweden, which was desiring a sugar producing colony of it's own. The Swedes renamed the island capital, Cartage, into GUSTAVIA, and declared it a FREE PORT in 1785. The island of a surface of 25 square km had 739 inhabitants, of whom 281 were slaves. The Swedish Lutheran church was consecrated in Gustavia in 1787. The majority of the population was Catholic and spoke French/Creole, as the previous population stayed on the island when the island was transferred into Swedish possession.
The island was attacked, but not taken, by the British Navy in 1801. In 1813, Sweden outlawed slave trade in her West Indian colony; slavery was abolished on St. Barth in 1847. After decades of prosperity, the island became an economic burden to Sweden. In 1878, it was sold back to France and again placed under the administration of Guadeloupe.

Files from Island Connoisseur : History of St. Barthelemy, Gustavia
History of St. Barth, from
Den Svenska Slavhandeln, from Svearike (Swedish Slave Trade)
Gustavia, by Stine S., with map, in Swedish
DOCUMENTS King Gustav III.'s proclamation declaring St. Barthelemy a free port, Sept. 7th 1785, edited by Pauli Kruhse
List of maps of St. Barthelemy stored in RA Stockholm. Krigsarkivet, comment in Swedish
J. Chr. Nelkenbrecher, Allgemeines Taschenbuch der Münz-, Maass- und Gewichtskunde für Banquiers und Kaufleute (General Manual on Coinage, Measurement and Weights, for Bankers and Merchants) Berlin 1832, in German, entries Sanct Barthelemi, posted by DTBSWS
REFERENCE Jan Rogozinski, A Brief History of the Caribbean (1992) London : Penguin 1994 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 22nd 2007

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