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Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an
island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by som ...
in the
West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, in ...
in the eastern
Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, Lamè Karayib; jam, Kiaribiyan Sii; nl, Caraïbische Zee; pap, Laman Karibe) is an Americas, American Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean ...
on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. The island was previously called Iyonola, the name given to the island by the native
Arawak The Arawak are a group of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), o ...

Arawak
s, and later Hewanorra, the name given by the native Caribs, two separate
Amerindian The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonization of the Americas, European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who n ...
peoples. Part of the
Windward Islands french: Îles du Vent , image_name = , image_caption = ''Political'' Windward Islands. Clockwise: Dominica Dominica ( or ; Kalinago : ; french: Dominique; Dominican Creole French Dominican Creole French is a French-based creole, which ...
of the
Lesser Antilles The Lesser Antilles ( es, link=no, Antillas Menores; french: link=no, Petites Antilles; pap, Antias Menor; nl, Kleine Antillen) are a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea The Caribbean Sea ( es, Mar Caribe; french: Mer des Caraïbes; ht, ...
, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of
Barbados Barbados is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or c ...

Barbados
and south of
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and ...

Martinique
. It covers a land area of and reported a population of 165,595 in the 2010 census. Its capital is
Castries Castries , population 20,000, aggl. 53,639, is the capital city, capital and largest city of Saint Lucia, an island country in the Caribbean. The quarter with the same name had a population of 70,000 on 22 May 2013 and stretches over an area of ...

Castries
. Soufrière was colonized by the French and was the original capital of the island. The French were the first Europeans to settle on the island. They signed a treaty with the native
Island Caribs The Kalinago, also known as the Island Caribs or simply Caribs, are an indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic group ...
in 1660. England took control of the island from 1663 to 1667. In ensuing years, it was at war with France fourteen times, and the rule of the island changed frequently. (It was ruled seven times each by the French and British.) In 1814, the British took definitive control of the island. Because it switched so often between British and French control, Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West" after the Greek mythological character,
Helen of Troy In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A bel ...

Helen of Troy
.
Representative government Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected persons represent Represent may refer to: * Represent (Compton's Most Wanted album), ''Represent'' (Compton's Most Wanted album) or the title song ...
came about in 1840. Universal
suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called a ...

suffrage
was established in 1953. From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the
West Indies Federation The West Indies Federation, also known as the West Indies, the Federation of the West Indies or the West Indian Federation, was a short-lived political union A political union is a type of political entity A polity is an identifiable politica ...

West Indies Federation
. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state and a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...

Commonwealth of Nations
."The Saint Lucia Constitution"
(1978-December-20 effective 1979-February-22), Government of St. Lucia, December 2008.
Saint Lucia is a mixed jurisdiction, meaning that it has a legal system based in part on both the
civil law Civil law may refer to: * Civil law (common law) Civil law is a major branch of the law.Glanville Williams. ''Learning the Law''. Eleventh Edition. Stevens. 1982. p. 2. In common law legal systems such as England and Wales and the law of the United ...
and
English common law English law is the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any p ...
. The Civil Code of St. Lucia of 1867 was based on the Quebec Civil Code of 1866, as supplemented by English common law-style legislation. It is also a member of
Organisation internationale de la Francophonie The Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF; sometimes shortened to the Francophonie, french: La Francophonie , but also called International Organisation of La Francophonie in English-language context) is an international organiz ...
.


Etymology

Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse (AD 283 – 304). Saint Lucia and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
are the only two sovereign states in the world named after a woman (Ireland is named after the Celtic goddess of fertility Eire). However, Saint Lucia is the only one named after an actual female historical figure. Legend states that French sailors were
shipwreck A shipwreck is the wreckage of a ship A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system ...

shipwreck
ed on the island on 13 December, the
feast day The calendar of saints is the traditional method of organizing a by associating each day with one or more s and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word "feast" in this context does not mean "a large meal, typicall ...
of St. Lucy, and therefore named the island in her honour.


History


Pre-colonial period

The first proven inhabitants were the
Arawak The Arawak are a group of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), o ...
s, though there may have been other native peoples prior to this. The Arawak are believed to have come from northern
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
sometime around 200–400, as there are numerous
archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote ...

archaeological
sites on the island where specimens of their well-developed
pottery Pottery is the process and the products of forming vessels and other objects with clay Clay is a type of fine-grained natural soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="g ...

pottery
have been found. There is evidence to suggest that the Arawak called the island ''Iouanalao'', meaning 'Land of the Iguanas', due to the island's high number of
iguana ''Iguana'' (, ) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), c ...

iguana
s. The more aggressive Caribs arrived around AD 800, and seized control from the Arawaks by killing their men and assimilating the women into their own society. They called the island ''Hewanarau'', and later ''Hewanorra'' (Ioüanalao, or "there where iguanas are found").


Early European period

Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian ...

Christopher Columbus
may have sighted the island during his fourth voyage in 1502, since he made landfall on
Martinique Martinique ( , ; gcf, label=Martinican Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole languages, French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles. Its grammar and ...

Martinique
, yet he does not mention the island in his log.
Juan de la Cosa Juan de la Cosa (c. 1450 – 28 February 1510) was a Castilian navigator and cartographer, known for designing the earliest European world map that incorporated the territories of the Americas that were discovered in the 15th century. De la C ...
noted the island on his map of 1500, calling it ''El Falcon'', and another island to the south ''Las Agujas''. A Spanish cédula from 1511 mentions the island within the Spanish domain, and a globe in the Vatican made in 1520, shows the island as Sancta Lucia. In the late 1550s, the French
pirate Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted ...

pirate
François le Clerc (known as ''Jambe de Bois'', due to his wooden leg) set up a camp on Pigeon Island, from where he attacked passing Spanish ships. In 1605, an English vessel called the ''Oliphe Blossome'' was blown off-course on its way to
Guyana Guyana ( or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America and the capital city is Georgetown Guyana, Georgetown. Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the ...

Guyana
, and the 67 colonists started a settlement on Saint Lucia, after initially being welcomed by the Carib chief Anthonie. By 26 September 1605, only 19 survived following continued attacks by the Carib chief Augraumart, so the settlers fled the island.


French Colony

In 1664, Thomas Warner (son of Sir Thomas Warner, the governor of
St Kitts Saint Kitts, officially the Saint Christopher Island, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land ...
) claimed Saint Lucia for England. He brought 1,000 men to defend it from the French, but after only two years, only 89 survived with the rest dying mostly due to disease. In 1666, the
French West India Company The French West India Company (french: Compagnie française des Indes occidentales) was a French trading company founded on 28 May 1664, some 3 months before the foundation of its eastern company, by Jean-Baptiste Colbert Jean-Baptiste Colbert (; ...
resumed control of the island, which in 1674 was made an official French crown colony as a dependency of Martinique.


18th and 19th centuries

After the slave-based sugar industry developed, both the British and the French found the island attractive. During the 18th century, the island changed ownership, or was declared neutral territory, a dozen times, although the French settlements remained and the island was a de facto French colony well into the eighteenth century. In 1722,
George I of Great Britain George I (George Louis; ; 28 May 1660 – 11 June 1727) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of G ...
granted both Saint Lucia and to the 2nd Duke of Montagu. Montague appointed
Nathaniel UringNathaniel Uring was an English merchant who traveled to Africa and the Americas in the early eighteenth century. His 1725 and 1726 accounts are important sources for the history of early colonial Saint Vincent (Antilles), Saint Vincent, Saint Lucia, ...
, a merchant sea captain and adventurer, as deputy-governor. Uring went to the islands with a group of seven ships, and established settlement at Petit Carenage. Unable to get enough support from British warships, he and the new colonists were quickly run off by the French. During the
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain and Kingdom of France, France. In Europe, the conflict ar ...
, Britain occupied Saint Lucia for a year, but handed the island back to the French in 1763, under the Treaty of Paris. Like the English and Dutch on other islands, in 1765, the French began to develop the land for the cultivation of sugar cane as a commodity crop on large plantations. The British occupied the island again between 1778 and 1784. In January 1791, during the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
, the
National Assembly In politics, a national assembly is either a unicameral In government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media L ...
sent four ''commissaires'' to St Lucia to spread the revolutionary philosophy. By August 1791, slaves began to abandon their estates and Governor de Gimat fled. In December 1792, Lt. arrived with revolutionary pamphlets, and the impoverished whites and free people of colour began to arm themselves as ''patriots''. On 1 February 1793, France declared war on England and Holland, and General Nicolas Xavier de Ricard took over as Governor. The
National Convention The National Convention (french: link=no, Convention nationale) was a parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Del ...
abolished enslavement on 4 February 1794; however, on 1 April 1794, St. Lucia fell to a British invasion led by Vice Admiral John Jervis. Morne Fortune became ''Fort Charlotte''. Soon, a patriot army of resistance, ''L'Armee Française dans les Bois'', began to fight back, starting the First Brigand War. A short time later, the British invaded the island as a part of the war with France that had recently broken out. On 21 February 1795, a group of locals, under the nominal control of
Victor Hugues Jean-Baptiste Victor Hugues sometimes spelled Hughes (July 20, 1762 in Marseille Marseille ( , , ; also spelled in English as Marseilles; oc, Marselha ) is the of the and , France. Situated in the , it is located on the coast of the , ...

Victor Hugues
, defeated a battalion of British troops at Vieux Fort and Rabot. In 1796,
Castries Castries , population 20,000, aggl. 53,639, is the capital city, capital and largest city of Saint Lucia, an island country in the Caribbean. The quarter with the same name had a population of 70,000 on 22 May 2013 and stretches over an area of ...

Castries
was burned as part of the conflict. Leading the 27th Inniskilling Fusiliers, General John Moore retook Fort Charlotte in 1796, after two days of bitter fighting. As an honour, the Fusiliers' regimental colour was displayed on the flagstaff of the captured fortress at Morne Fortune for an hour before being replaced by the
Union Jack The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom The national flag of the United Kingdom is the Union Jack The Union Jack, or Union Flag, is the de facto national flag of the United Kingdom. Though ...

Union Jack
. Moore then participated in British efforts to repress the slave rebels until falling ill with
yellow fever Yellow fever is a viral disease of typically short duration. In most cases, symptoms include fever Fever, also referred to as pyrexia, is defined as having a above the due to an increase in the body's temperature . There is not a singl ...
, leading to his return to Britain before 1798. In 1803, the British regained control of the island. Many of the rebels escaped into the thick rainforest where they evaded capture and established . Slavery on the island continued for a short time, but anti-slavery sentiment was rising in Britain. The British stopped the import of slaves by anyone, white or coloured, when they abolished the slave trade in 1807. France and Great Britain continued to contest Saint Lucia until the British secured it in 1814, as part of the Treaty of Paris, ending the
Napoleonic Wars The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of major World war, global conflicts pitting the First French Empire, French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon, Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of Coalition forces of the Napoleonic W ...
. Thereafter, Saint Lucia was considered one of the
British Windward Islands The British Windward Islands was a British colony in the Windward Islands of the West Indies The West Indies are a subregion of North America, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea that includes 13 in ...

British Windward Islands
colonies. The institution of slavery was abolished on the island in 1836, as it was throughout the British Empire. After abolition, all former slaves had to serve a four-year "apprenticeship", to accustom them to the idea of freedom. During that period, they worked for their former masters for at least three-quarters of the work week. Full freedom was duly granted by the British in 1838. By that time, people of African ethnicity greatly outnumbered those of ethnic European background. People of Carib descent also comprised a minority on the island. Castries' harbour was protected by a system of 60 surrounding forts. Along the top of Morne Fortune, there are six military sites. Building work by the French started in 1768, and the British completed the work by 1890. They include Fort Charlotte (Old Morne Fortress), the Apostle's Battery (1888–1890), the Powder Magazine built by the French in the 1750s, Provost's
Redoubt A redoubt (historically redout) is a Fortification, fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger fort, usually relying on Earthworks (engineering), earthworks, although some are constructed of ston ...
(1792) built as a lookout point, and the Combermere
barracks Barracks are usually a group of long buildings built to house military personnel or laborers A laborer is a person who works in Manual labour, manual labor types, especially in the construction and factory industries' workforce. Laborers are in ...

barracks
. The best-preserved installation is a battery at La Toc Point. Completed in 1888, it was not abandoned till 1905. This fort, in particular, was built by the British to repel any attack from the United States on the then valuable coaling harbour of Castries.


20th century

The
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
visited the island directly during the Battle of the Caribbean, when a German
U-boat U-boats were naval submarines operated by Germany, particularly in the First First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most importa ...

U-boat
attacked and sank two British ships in
Castries Castries , population 20,000, aggl. 53,639, is the capital city, capital and largest city of Saint Lucia, an island country in the Caribbean. The quarter with the same name had a population of 70,000 on 22 May 2013 and stretches over an area of ...

Castries
harbour on 9 March 1942. In the mid-twentieth century, Saint Lucia joined the
West Indies Federation The West Indies Federation, also known as the West Indies, the Federation of the West Indies or the West Indian Federation, was a short-lived political union A political union is a type of political entity A polity is an identifiable politica ...

West Indies Federation
(1958–1962), when the colony was dissolved. In 1967, Saint Lucia became one of the six members of the
West Indies Associated States West Indies Associated States was the collective name for a number of islands in the Eastern Caribbean whose status changed from being British colonies Within the British Empire, a Crown colony or royal colony was a colony In political sc ...
, with internal self-government. In 1979, it gained full independence, under
Sir John Compton Sir John George Melvin Compton, (29 April 1925 – 7 September 2007) was a Saint Lucian politician who became the first List of Prime Ministers of Saint Lucia#Prime Ministers of Saint Lucia, 1979-present, Prime Minister upon independence in Febr ...
of the conservative United Workers party (UWP). The new country chose to remain within the
British Commonwealth The Commonwealth of Nations, generally known simply as the Commonwealth, is a political association of 54 member states, almost all of which are former territories A territory is an administrative division, usually an area that is under the ...
and to retain Queen Elizabeth as
Monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role tha ...
, represented locally by a Governor-General.


Post-independence era

Compton's initial term as Prime Minister lasted only a few months, as he was defeated by the left-leaning
Saint Lucia Labour Party The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is a social democratic political party in Saint Lucia. It currently holds 13 of the 17 seats in the House of Assembly of Saint Lucia, House of Assembly. History The party was established in 1949, backed by the S ...
(SLP) under
Allan Louisy Sir Allan Fitzgerald Laurent Louisy (5 September 1916 – 2 March 2011) was the second prime minister of independent St Lucia, following Sir John Compton in office. He was born in Laborie Quarter, Laborie on 5 September 1916 and served as a judge ...
in the
1979 Saint Lucian general election General elections were held in Saint Lucia on 2 July 1979.Dieter Nohlen (2005) ''Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I'', p588 The result was a victory for the Saint Lucia Labour Party, which won twelve of the seventeen seats. Voter ...
. The SLP sought to improve ties with socialist countries in the region such as
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
, though the economy was severely affected by
Hurricane Allen Hurricane Allen was a rare and extremely powerful Cape Verde hurricane 400px, Cape Verde hurricane tracks A Cape Verde hurricane or Cabo Verde hurricane is an Atlantic hurricane that originates at low-latitude in the deep tropics from a tropica ...

Hurricane Allen
in 1980. Louisy was replaced as Prime Minister by
Winston Cenac Winston Francis Cenac Queen's Counsel, Q.C. (September 14, 1925 – September 22, 2004) was a civil servant and politician from Saint Lucia. He was the List of Prime Ministers of Saint Lucia#Prime Ministers of Saint Lucia, 1979-present, third elec ...
in 1981. The SLP government faced a series of strikes and Cenac agreed to stand down, with Michael Pilgrim of the Progressive Labour Party briefly serving as Acting Prime Minister until the
1982 Saint Lucian general election General elections were held in Saint Lucia on 3 May 1982.Dieter Nohlen (2005) ''Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I'', p588 The result was a victory for the United Workers Party (Saint Lucia), United Workers Party, which won fourt ...
. This election was won by the UWP under John Compton, who proceeded to rule the country uninterrupted until 1996; he was succeeded by
Vaughan Lewis Sir Vaughan Allen Lewis, Order of Saint Lucia, KCSL Order of the British Empire, CBE (born 17 May 1940) is a Saint Lucian politician and a former member of the United Workers' Party (Saint Lucia), United Workers' Party (UWP). He served for a brief p ...
, who ruled for just over a year before losing the 1997 Saint Lucian general election to the SLP under
Kenny Anthony Kenny Davis Anthony (born 8 January 1951Government page on Anthony
.
) is a
. During this era the UWP adopted a generally pro-Western, pro-business outlook, seeking to diversify the economy away from over-reliance on bananas and boosting the tourism sector. Compton was also a keen advocate of regional integration. Anthony remained in power until 2006 when the UWP, again led by Compton, won control of parliament. Compton pledged to boost the economy and tackle the rising crime rate. Police attempts to curb crime were criticised in 2015 when it emerged that several suspects had been unlawfully shot by police and the circumstances of their deaths covered up. In May 2007, after Compton suffered a series of small strokes, Finance and External Affairs Minister
Stephenson King Stephenson King (born 13 November 1958 in Castries Castries , population 20,000, aggl. 53,639, is the capital and largest city of Saint Lucia Saint Lucia (, ; french: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country in the West Indies in the eastern ...

Stephenson King
became acting prime minister and succeeded Compton as Prime Minister when the latter died in September 2007. In November 2011, Kenny Anthony was re-elected as prime minister for a third time. In the June 2016 election the United Worker's Party (UWP) assumed power again, with
Allen Chastanet Allen Michael Chastanet is a Saint Lucian businessman and politician who has been List of Prime Ministers of Saint Lucia, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia since June 2016. He is the political leader of the United Workers Party (Saint Lucia), United W ...

Allen Chastanet
becoming prime minister. On 29 July 2021, Philip Joseph Pierre was sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of St Lucia since independence in 1979. St Lucia Labour Party (SLP), led by Pierre, reached a clear victory in a general election.


Geography

The
volcanic A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object A planet is an astronomical body orbit In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved trajectory of an physical body, object, such as the trajectory of a planet a ...

volcanic
island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than most
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at above
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in th ...

sea level
. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island's most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Forests cover about 77% of the land area. There are a number of off the coast, the largest of which are the Maria Islands in the south-east. The capital city of Saint Lucia is
Castries Castries , population 20,000, aggl. 53,639, is the capital city, capital and largest city of Saint Lucia, an island country in the Caribbean. The quarter with the same name had a population of 70,000 on 22 May 2013 and stretches over an area of ...

Castries
(population 60,263) where 32.4% of the population lives. Other major towns include
Gros Islet Gros Islet (English: ''Large Island'') is a community near the northern tip of the island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_E ...
, Soufrière, and
Vieux Fort Vieux Fort is a Districts of Saint Lucia, district located in the southern part of Saint Lucia. Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia, Vieux Fort is also the name of the main town in the district. It is the home of the second-largest town on the island and is t ...
. The population tends to be concentrated around the coast, with the interior more sparsely populated, due to the presence of dense forests.


Climate

The local climate is
tropical The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% ...
, specifically a
tropical rainforest climate A tropical rainforest climate or equatorial climate is a tropical climate Tropical climate is one of the five major climate groups in the . Tropical climates are characterized by monthly average temperatures of 18 °C (64.4 °F) or hi ...
(Af) under the
Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification Climate classification is a way of categorizing the world's s. A climate classification may correlate closely with a category, as climate is a major infl ...
, moderated by northeast
trade winds The trade winds or easterlies are the permanent east-to-west prevailing winds that flow in the Earth's equatorial region. The trade winds blow mainly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere The Northern Hemisphere is the half of E ...
, with a dry season from 1 December to 31 May, and a wet season from 1 June to 30 November (referred to by locals as the hurricane season). Average daytime temperatures are around , and average nighttime temperatures are around . Since it is fairly close to the equator, the temperature does not fluctuate much between winter and summer. Average annual rainfall ranges from on the coast to in the mountain rainforests.


Flora and fauna

Saint Lucia contains five terrestrial ecoregions: Windward Islands moist forests, Leeward Islands dry forests, Windward Islands dry forests, Windward Islands xeric scrub, and Lesser Antilles mangroves. It had a 2019
Forest Landscape Integrity Index The Forest Landscape Integrity Index (FLII) is an annual global index of forest A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree ...
mean score of 6.17/10, ranking it 84th globally out of 172 countries. A species of lizard, '' Anolis luciae'', is named for and is Endemism, endemic to Saint Lucia.


Geology

The geology of St. Lucia can be described as composing three main areas. The oldest, 16–18 Megaannum, Ma, volcanic rocks are exposed from Castries northward and consist of eroded basalt and andesite centres. The middle, central highlands, portion of the island consists of dissected andesite centres, 10.4 to 1 Mya, while the lower southwest portion of the island contains recent activity from the Soufriere Volcanic Centre (SVC). This SVC, centred about the Qualibou caldera, depression, contains pyroclastic flow deposits, lava flows, intrusive rock, domes, block and ash flow deposits, and volcanic crater, explosion craters. This depression's perimeter includes the town of Soufriere, Mount Tabac, Mt. Gimie, Morne Bonin, and Gros Piton. At in diameter, though the western portion is open towards the Grenada basin (geology), basin, the depression formed as recently as 100 kya. The depression is noted for its geothermal gradient, geothermal activity, especially at Sulphur Springs, Saint Lucia, Sulphur Springs and Soufrière Estates, a phreatic eruption in 1776, and recent seismic activity (2000–2001). Eroded andesitic stratovolcanoes to the north east of the depression include Mount Gimie, Mt. Gimie, Piton St Esprit, and Mt. Grand Magazin, all greater than 1 Ma in age. Andesitic and dacite pyroclastic flows from these volcanoes are found at Morne Tabac dome (532 kiloannus, ka), Morne Bonin dome (273 kya), and Bellevue (264 kya). Avalanche deposits from the formation of the Qualibou depression are found offshore, and in the massive blocks of Rabot, Pleisance, and Coubaril. The dacitic domes of Petit Piton (109 kya) and Gros Piton (71 kya) were then extrusive rock, extruded onto the depression floor accompanied by the Anse John (104 kya) and La Pointe (59.8 kya) pyroclastic flows. Later, pyroclastic flows include pumice-rich Belfond and Anse Noir (20 kya). Finally, the dacitic domes of Terre Blanche (15.3 kya) and Belfond (13.6 kya) formed within the depression.


Government

Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth realm. Elizabeth II is Monarchy of Saint Lucia, Queen of Saint Lucia, represented on the island by a Governor-General of Saint Lucia, governor-general. The Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, prime minister is normally the head of the party commanding the support of the majority of the members of the House of Assembly of Saint Lucia, House of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of Parliament of Saint Lucia, Parliament, the Senate of Saint Lucia, Senate, has eleven appointed members. Saint Lucia is a two-party parliamentary democracy. Three political parties participated in the 2021 Saint Lucian general election, 2021 general election. The Saint Lucia Labour Party, Labour Party, led by Philip J. Pierre, won thirteen of the seventeen seats.


Foreign relations

Saint Lucia maintains friendly relations with the major powers active in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. Saint Lucia has one ongoing international dispute over non-payment of ASCAP royalties for the song "Love Me The Way I Love You ", from the film CASINO, sourced Ritvale Music Co. Saint Lucia is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and La Francophonie. Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth Realm. Saint Lucia became the 152nd member of the United Nations on 9 December 1979. As of January 2018, Cosmos Richardson, who presented his credentials on 22 February 2017, was Saint Lucia's representative to the United Nations.


Organization of American States (OAS)

The Charter of the Organization of American States was signed in Bogota in 1948 and was amended by several protocols which were named after the city and the year in which the protocol was signed, such as Managua in 1993 forming part of the name of the protocol. Saint Lucia entered the OAS system on 22 February 1979.


Agreements which impact on financial relationships


The Double Taxation Relief (CARICOM) Treaty 1994

At a CARICOM meeting, the representative of St. Lucia, John Compton, signed The Double Taxation Relief (CARICOM) Treaty 1994 on 6 July 1994. The representatives of seven CARICOM countries signed similar agreements at Sherbourne Conference Centre, St. Michael, Barbados. The countries whose representatives signed the treaties in Barbados were Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. This treaty covered taxes, residence, tax jurisdictions, capital gains, business profits, interest, dividends, royalties and other areas.


FATCA

On 30 June 2014, Saint Lucia signed a Model 1 agreement with the United States of America in relation to Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). As of 1 September 2016, the status of the agreement is listed as "in force". Preceding the 2014 FATCA agreement is one which was entered into on 30 January 1987, between the United States of America and Saint Lucia according to Paragraph 2 of the Model 1 agreement, the purpose of which was to exchange tax information.


Military

Saint Lucia has a paramilitary force. A Special Service Unit (SSU) and the Coast Guard are both under the command of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force. Although the SSU is under the RSLPF (Royal Saint Lucia Police Force), they are called in as the last line of defence or for more severe cases. In 2018, Saint Lucia signed the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.


Administrative divisions

The districts of the island, established by the French colonial government and continued by the British, are: * Anse la Raye Quarter, Anse la Raye, 31.0 km2 * Canaries Quarter, Canaries * Castries Quarter, Castries, 79.5 km2 * Choiseul Quarter, Choiseul, 31.3 km2 * Dennery Quarter, Dennery, 69.7 km2 * Gros Islet Quarter, Gros Islet * Laborie Quarter, Laborie, 37.8 km2 * Micoud Quarter, Micoud, 77.7 km2 * Soufrière Quarter, Soufrière, 50.5 km2 * Vieux Fort Quarter, Vieux Fort, 43.8 km An additional area is the Forest Reserve Area Quarter (78.3 km2).


Economy

The United Nations categorizes Saint Lucia as a Small Island Developing States, Small Island Developing State, a designation similar to a developing country with a few substantial differences due to Saint Lucia's island nature. The tertiary sector of the economy, services sector accounted for 82.8% of GDP, followed by Industrial sector, industry and agriculture at 14.2% and 2.9%, respectively. An educated workforce and improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities have attracted foreign investment in tourism and in petroleum storage and transshipment. However, with the US, Canada, and Europe in recession, tourism declined by double digits in early 2009. The recent change in the European Union import preference regime and the increased competition from Latin American bananas have made economic diversification increasingly important in Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, which is Saint Lucia's main source of revenue. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalise the banana industry. Despite negative growth in 2011, economic fundamentals remain solid, and GDP growth should recover in the future. Inflation has been relatively low, averaging 5.5 percent between 2006 and 2008. Saint Lucia's currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$), a regional currency shared among members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECU). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCL) issues the EC$, manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in member countries. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy, including elimination of price controls and privatization of the state banana company.


Tourism

Tourism is vital to Saint Lucia's economy. Its economic importance is expected to continue to increase as the market for bananas have become more competitive. Tourism tends to be more substantial during the dry season (January to April), often referred to as the tourist season. Saint Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and its beaches and resorts. Other tourist attractions include a "drive-in" volcano where one can drive within a few hundred feet of the gurgling, steaming mass, Sulphur Springs, Saint Lucia, Sulphur Springs (in Soufrière), zip lining in at Sault Falls, Dennery, the St. Lucia Botanical Gardens, Botanical Gardens, the majestic twin peaks "The Pitons", a world heritage site, the rain forests, several options of boat trips, Frigate Island Nature Reserve (operated by the Saint Lucia National Trust), Dennery, and Pigeon Island (Saint Lucia), Pigeon Island National Park, which is home to Fort Rodney, an old British military base. The majority of tourists visit Saint Lucia as part of a cruise. Most of their time tends to be spent in
Castries Castries , population 20,000, aggl. 53,639, is the capital city, capital and largest city of Saint Lucia, an island country in the Caribbean. The quarter with the same name had a population of 70,000 on 22 May 2013 and stretches over an area of ...

Castries
, although Soufrière, Saint Lucia, Soufriere, Marigot Bay, Rodney Bay and
Gros Islet Gros Islet (English: ''Large Island'') is a community near the northern tip of the island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_(right),_are_large_islands_of_north-west_E ...
are also tourist destinations. The current Minister of Tourism is Ernest Hilaire, he has been in his role since 2021.


Demographics

Saint Lucia reported a population of 165,595 in 58 920 households in the 2010 national census. In , the United Nations Population Division estimated Saint Lucia's population at . The country's population lives predominantly in rural areas, and more than a third live in the Castries Quarter, District of Castries. Saint Lucia has the lowest fertility rate in the Caribbean and one of the lowest in the world at 1.4 children per woman. Immigration to the country is slightly higher than emigration. Emigration from Saint Lucia is primarily to English-speaking world, Anglophone countries, with the United Kingdom having almost 10,000 Saint Lucian-born citizens, and over 30,000 of Saint Lucian heritage. The second most popular destination for Saint Lucian emigrants is the United States, where a combined (foreign and national-born Saint Lucians) almost 14,000 reside. Canada is home to a few thousand Saint Lucians. Most immigrants to the country are also from these same three countries.


Ethnic groups

As of the 2010 census, Saint Lucia's population is predominantly of African and Mixed, at 96.13% (85.28% black, 10.85% Mixed) Other groups include Indo-Caribbean persons (2.16%) and white St. Lucians at 0.61%. Other and unspecified groups account for 1.1% of the population.


Languages

The official language is English. Saint Lucian French Creole (Kwéyòl), which is colloquially referred to as ''Patois'' ("Patwa"), is spoken by 95% of the population. This Antillean Creole is used in literature and music, and is gaining official acknowledgement. As it developed during the early period of French colonisation, the creole is derived chiefly from French and the West African languages, with some vocabulary from the Island Carib language and other sources. Antillean Creole is also spoken in Dominica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and (to a lesser extent) St. Vincent and Grenada; it also resembles the creoles spoken in French Guiana, Haiti, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Saint Lucia is a member of ''La Francophonie''.


Religion

Christianity is the main religion in Saint Lucia. About 61.5% of the population is Roman Catholic. Another 25.5% belong to Protestant denominations, (includes Seventh Day Adventist 10.4%, Pentecostal 8.9%, Baptist 2.2%, Anglican 1.6%, Church of God 1.5%, other Protestant 0.9%). Evangelicals comprise 2.3% of the population and 1.1% are Jehovah's Witnesses. In addition, about 1.9% of the population adheres to the Rastafari movement. Other religions include Hinduism, Bahá'í Faith, Judaism, and Buddhism.


Health


Crime

In 2017, Saint Lucia recorded 60 homicides, the highest in the country's history.


Culture

The culture of Saint Lucia has been influenced by African, East Indian, French, and English heritage. One of the secondary languages is Saint Lucian French Creole, Saint Lucian French Creole or Kwéyòl, spoken by almost all of the population. Saint Lucia boasts the highest ratio of Nobel Prize, Nobel laureates produced with respect to the total population of any sovereign country in the world. Two winners have come from Saint Lucia: William Arthur Lewis (economist), Sir Arthur Lewis won the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979, and the poet Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.


Festivals

Saint Lucian cultural festivals include La Woz, La Rose celebrated on 30 August and La Magwit, La Marguerite on 17 October, the first representing a native Saint Lucian fraternal society known as the Order of the Rose that is fashioned in the mould of Rosicrucianism, and the second representing its traditional rival, the native Saint Lucian equivalent of Freemasonry known as the Order of the Marguerite. References to their origins as versions of pre-existing external secret societies can be seen in a mural painted by Dunstan St Omer, depicting the holy trinity of Osiris, Horus, and Isis. The biggest festival of the year is the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival. Held in early May at multiple venues throughout the island, it draws visitors and musicians from around the world. The grand finale or main stage is held at Pigeon Island Island National Landmark (Saint Lucia), Pigeon Island, which is located to the north of the island. Traditionally, in common with other Caribbean countries, Saint Lucia held a carnival before Lent. In 1999, the government moved Carnival to mid-July to avoid competing with the much larger Trinidad and Tobago carnival and so as to attract more overseas visitors. In May 2009, Saint Lucians commemorated the 150th anniversary of West Indian Heritage on the island.


Sport

The Windward Islands cricket team includes players from Saint Lucia and plays in the Regional Four Day Competition, West Indies regional tournament. Daren Sammy became the first Saint Lucian to represent the West Indies cricket team, West Indies on his debut in 2007, and since 2010 has captained the side. In an international career spanning 2003 to 2008, and including 41 ODIs and one Test, Nadine George MBE became the first woman to score a Test century for the team. Sammy and George were recognised by the Saint Lucian government as Sportsman of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year respectively for 2004. For sailing enthusiasts, the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) race begins in the Canary Islands and ends in Saint Lucia. The year 2015 marked the ARC's 30th year of existence. Every November, the race attracts over 200 boats and 1,200 people to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. In 2019, a modern state of the art horse racing facility opened. One of the main contributors will be The China Horse Club, operators of race tracks in Asia.


Music and dance

Together with Caribbean music genres such as Calypso music, calypso, soca music, Soca, dancehall, reggae, compas, Zouk (musical movement), zouk, and Salsa music, salsa, Saint Lucia has a strong indigenous folk music tradition. Each May since 1991, Saint Lucia has hosted an internationally renowned Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, Jazz Festival. In 2013, the festival was re-branded The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival which encompassed culture, visual art, alternative music, education, fashion, and food. Dancing in Saint Lucia is inspired by Caribbean culture and enjoys an active following. A popular folk dance is the ''kwadril''.


Cinema

Caribbean Cinemas operates in Saint Lucia. The cinema is located at Choc Estate in Castries. There are a Bank of St. Lucia ATM, Domino's Pizza outlet, and a cafe nearby. Much of the scenery for the film ''Dr. Dolittle (film), Dr. Dolittle'' was shot in Saint Lucia in 1967. Water (1985 film), ''Water'' was shot on the island, as were parts of ''Firepower (film), Firepower''.


Education

The Education Act provides for free and compulsory education in Saint Lucia from the ages of 5 to 15. Public spending on education was at 5.8% among the 2002–2005 GDP. Saint Lucia has a community college (Sir Arthur Lewis Community College), one university campus operated by the University of the West Indies Open Campus, and a few medical schools – American International Medical University, International American University − College of Medicine, Destiny University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the oldest of which is Spartan Health Sciences University. Monroe College, a private for-profit college and graduate school based in New York City, established a campus in Saint Lucia in 2007.


Cuisine

Saint Lucia's national dish is green figs and saltfish. The island's cuisine is a unique blend of West African, European (mainly British and French) and Indian cuisine; this creates dynamic meal dishes such as macaroni pie, Stew chicken, rice and peas, fish broth or fish water, and soups packed full with fresh locally produced vegetables. Typical essential foodstuffs are potatoes, onions, celery, thyme, coconut milk, the very hot Scotch bonnet, scotch bonnet peppers, flour, and cornmeal. All mainstream meat and poultry are eaten in St. Lucia; meat and seafood are normally stewed and browned to create a rich gravy sometimes served over ground provisions or rice. The island is also home to the famous fried dough, known by many as a bake or Johnny Cake. These bakes can be served with different sides, such as saltfish which is either sautéed or lightly fried along with red, green peppers, onions, and seasoned well. This is the most common way for bake to be prepared, though it can also be served with meats such as stewed chicken or beef. One popular Saint Lucian dessert is the pastry called a turnover. The pastry is made with sweetened coconut that is boiled with spices, some sugar, and whatever is satisfying. It is boiled until cooked to a light or dark brown colour; then the mixture is separated into various size portions placed on a rolled out piece of dough. The dough size may vary too depending on how much is desired, and lastly, it is baked in the oven until the colour of the turnover is nicely browned. Due to Saint Lucia's Indo-Caribbean population, curry is very popular; however due to the blend of cooking styles, curry dishes have a distinct Caribbean twist. Roti is typically served as a fast food meal: the bread itself is very flat (sometimes very thin) and is wrapped around curried vegetables such as chickpeas and potato, seafood such as shrimp and conch, or meats such as chicken, beef, goat, and liver.


LGBTQ non-acceptance

LGBT rights in Saint Lucia, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people living in Saint Lucia face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT members of the population. Saint Lucia prohibits male-on-male sexual activity, punishing those found guilty with 10 years in jail; the law is not enforced, however. Saint Lucia was also the only UN member in the Americas to formally oppose the UN declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity.


Gallery

File:Toraille Waterfall.JPG, Toraille Waterfall – July 2016 File:GrosPiton.JPG, Gros Piton seen from the Ladera Hotel restaurant – September 2007 File:PetitPiton.JPG, Petit Piton seen from the Ladera Hotel restaurant – December 2004 File:MarigoldBay.jpg, Soufrière Bay – February 2006 File:saint lucia mountain resort.JPG, Aerial view of resort – June 2006 File:Day248bdrivem.JPG, Typical sight in Canaries, Saint Lucia, Canaries: houses on hills, June 2006 File:AtlanticBeach.jpg, St Lucia beach – February 2006 File:St lucia z.jpg, View from the Le Sport
  resort – March 2006 File:Day248bdriveq.JPG, A view of Soufrière


See also

* British African-Caribbean people * Chief Justice of the Leeward Islands * Index of Saint Lucia-related articles * List of Caribbean islands * List of colonial governors and administrators of Saint Lucia * List of newspapers in Saint Lucia * List of Saint Lucians * Outline of Saint Lucia


References


Citations


Sources

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External links

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Saint Lucia
from ''UCB Libraries GovPubs''
St. Lucia
from the BBC News
Key Development Forecasts for Saint Lucia
from International Futures {{Authority control Saint Lucia, 1800s establishments in the Caribbean 1803 establishments in North America 1803 establishments in the British Empire 1970s establishments in the Caribbean 1979 establishments in North America British Windward Islands Countries in the Caribbean Countries in North America English-speaking countries and territories Former colonies in North America French Caribbean Island countries Islands of Saint Lucia Member states of the Caribbean Community Member states of the Commonwealth of Nations Member states of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie Member states of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Member states of the United Nations Small Island Developing States States and territories established in 1979 Windward Islands Volcanic islands