Saint Lucia

Lc redirects here. See LC for other possible meanings.
Saint Lucia
Error creating thumbnail: Coat of arms of Saint Lucia
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: The Land, The People, The Light
Anthem: "Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia"
Royal anthem: "God Save the Queen"
Location of Saint Lucia
Capital Castries
Largest city Castries
Official language English
Government Parliamentary democracy
Commonwealth Realm
 - Monarch Queen Elizabeth II
 - Governor-General Dame Pearlette Louisy
 - Prime Minister Sir. John Compton
Independence From the United Kingdom 
 - Date 22 February 1979 
 - Total 620 km² (193rd)
239 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 1.6%
 - 2005 census 160,765
 - Density 298/km² (41st)
672/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2002 estimate
 - Total $866 million (197th)
 - Per capita $5,950 (98th)
HDI  (2004) 0.790 (medium) (71st)
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Time zone (UTC-4)
Internet TLD .lc
Calling code +1-758

Saint Lucia is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, north west of Barbados and south of Martinique. It is also known as the "Helen of the West Indies" as the island switched between British and French control so often it was likened to the mythical Helen of Troy.

Saint Lucia is one of the Windward Islands. Named for the Roman Catholic Saint Lucy of Syracuse. It was first visited by Europeans in about the year 1500 and first colonized successfully by France who signed a treaty with the native Carib peoples in 1660. Great Britain then took control of the island from 1663-1667 before going to war with France over it fourteen times. The British finally took complete control of the island in 1814. Representative government came about in 1924 (with universal adult suffrage from 1953) and from 1958 to 1962 the island was a member of the Federation of the West Indies. Lastly, on February 22, 1979 Saint Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations, the island nation celebrates this every year with a public holiday, which coincidentally marks the birthday of the prominent British diplomat, Lucia Ladi.




As a Commonwealth Realm, Saint Lucia recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State of Saint Lucia, represented on the island by a Governor-General. Executive power, however, is in the hands of the prime minister and his cabinet. The prime minister is normally the head of the party winning the elections for the House of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of parliament, the Senate, has 11 appointed members.

Saint Lucia is a full & participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).



The island of Saint Lucia is divided into 12 quarters:



Map of Saint Lucia
Map of Saint Lucia

The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 m above 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. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in volcano.

The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort. The local climate is tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds, with a dry season from January to April and a rainy season from May to November.



The recent changes in the European Union import preference regime and the increased competition from Latin American bananas have made economic diversification increasingly important in Saint Lucia. The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, which is the island's main source of revenue. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry. Despite negative growth in 2001, economic fundamentals remain solid, and GDP growth should recover in the future.



The small population of Saint Lucia is of mostly African descent (upwards of 90% of the population). There is also a small but economically significant mulatto minority representing approximately 5%; with an Indo-Caribbean minority of some 3%. Just 1.1% are of pure European origin (descendants of French, British, Scottish, and Irish colonists). Rounding out the population are small numbers of Lebanese and Syrians. The official language of the country is English, but a patois based mainly on French (Antillean Creole) is also spoken.

St. Lucia boasts the highest ratio in the world for number of Nobel laureates produced with respect to the total population of the nation. Two winners have come from St. Lucia - Sir Arthur Lewis won the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel ("Nobel Prize in Economics") in 1979, and Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. Coincidentally they were both born on January 23rd, though not in the same year.



The majority of the population are Roman Catholics (ca. 68%); Seventh-day Adventists (9%) the rest are Pentecostal (6%), Anglicans (2%), Evangelical (2%), Rastafari (2%) [1].



The culture of Saint Lucia is rich in history. The culture has been influenced by African, French and English heritage. One of the secondary languages is Kreole, a form of French patois.


Saint Lucian cultural festivals include La Rose and La Marguerite, the one representing the Rosicrucian order, the other one representing Freemasonry, which can be clearly seen on a mural painted by Dunstan St.Omer, depicting the holy trinity of Osiris, Horus and Isis

Traditionally, in common with other Caribbean countries, Saint Lucia held a carnival before Lent. In 1999, it was moved to mid-July in order to not to coincide with the much larger Trinidad and Tobago carnival, so as to attract more overseas visitors.

Music and dance

A popular folk dance is the Quadrille

As well as other Caribbean music genres such as soca, zouk and reggae, Saint Lucia has a strong indigenous folk music tradition.

Each May since 1992, Saint Lucia has hosted an internationally-renowned Jazz Festival.


Tourism in St Lucia

Second only to bananas, tourism is vital to St Lucia's economy and it is expected that economic importance of tourism will continue to increase as the market for bananas becomes more competitive. Tourism tends to be more substantial during the dry season (January - April). St Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and for its large number of beaches and resorts.

Other tourist attractions include the world's only drive-in volcano, the Botanical Gardens, rain forests and Pigeon Island National Park, which is home to Fort Rodney, and old British military base.




Miscellaneous topics


External links

Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Flag of the Caribbean Community
Antigua and Barbuda | Bahamas¹ | Barbados | Belize | Dominica | Grenada | Guyana | Haiti¹ | Jamaica | Montserrat² | Saint Kitts and Nevis | Saint Lucia | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | Suriname | Trinidad and Tobago
Associate members: Anguilla | Bermuda | Cayman Islands | British Virgin Islands | Turks and Caicos Islands
Observer status: Aruba | Colombia | Dominican Republic | Mexico | Netherlands Antilles | Puerto Rico | Venezuela
¹ member of the community but not the CARICOM (Caribbean) Single Market and Economy.
² territory of the United Kingdom awaiting British instruments of entrustment to join the CSME
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