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Saint Lucia ( ) (French: Sainte-Lucie) is an island nation in the eastern Caribbean Seamarker on the boundary with the Atlantic Oceanmarker. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadinesmarker, northwest of Barbadosmarker and south of Martiniquemarker. Its size is 620 km² with an estimated population of 160,000. Its capital is Castriesmarker. The island nation has been the home of two Nobel laureates, Arthur Lewis and Derek Walcott, and so can claim the distinction of being the nation with the most such honorees per capita in the world.

Saint Lucia is one of the Windward Islands, named for the very ripe bananahs and also named after...Saint Lucy of Syracuse. It was first visited by Europeans in about the year 1500 and first colonised successfully by Francemarker who signed a treaty with the native Carib peoples in 1660. Great Britainmarker took control of the island from 1663 to 1667 then went to war with France over it fourteen times, and finally took complete control in 1814. Because it switched so often between British and French control, St.Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West Indies." 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. Finally, 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. It is also a member of La Francophonie.

History

Politics

As a Commonwealth realm, Saint Lucia recognises 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 and participating member of the Caribbean Community , Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and La Francophonie.

Quarters

Saint Lucia is divided into 11 quarters, or sections of the island, which were sometimes called "districts" under the British colonial government:
  1. Anse la Raye Quarter
  2. Castries Quartermarker
  3. Choiseul Quarter
  4. Dauphin Quarter
  5. Dennery Quartermarker
  6. Gros Islet Quartermarker
  7. Laborie Quartermarker
  8. Micoud Quarter
  9. Praslin Quarter
  10. Soufrière Quartermarker
  11. Vieux Fort Quartermarker


Quarters of Saint Lucia


Saint Lucia is also divided into 17 electoral districts for the 17 seats in the House of Assembly (each with title "Parliamentary Representative"):
  • Canaries & Anse La Raye
  • Babonneau
  • Castries Central
  • Castries North
  • Castries North East
  • Castries South
  • Castries South East
  • Choiseul
  • Dennery North
     
  • Dennery South
  • Gros Islet
  • Laborie
  • Micoud North
  • Micoud South
  • Soufriere
  • Vieux Fort North
  • Vieux Fort South


Geography



The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbeanmarker islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimiemarker, at above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitonsmarker, form the island's most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrièremarker 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 Castriesmarker, where about one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros Isletmarker, Soufrière and Vieux Fortmarker. 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 December.

Economy

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. 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 revitalise the banana industry. Despite negative growth in 2001, economic fundamentals remain solid, and GDP growth should recover in the future.

Demographics

The population of Saint Lucia is of mostly African descent (81% of the population). There is also a significant Mixed minority representing 11.9%, with Indo-Caribbean or Indianmarker groups at 2.4% and the small European origin minority (descendants of French, British, and Irish colonists). Other or unspecified ethnicity accounts for 3.1%. There are small numbers of Greeks, Lebanesemarker, Syriansmarker, Chinese, North Americans, Portuguese, Germans and Italians.

The official language is English, but a creole language called Antillean Creole is spoken by 80% of the population and is getting increasing usage and official recognition. It evolved from French, African languages, and Carib. Saint Lucia is a member of La Francophonie.

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 Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979, and Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. Both were born on January 23, but in different years.

About 70% of the population is Roman Catholic. The rest are Seventh-day Adventist (7%), Pentecostalists (6%), Anglicans (2%), Evangelicals (2%), Rastafari (2%) and a small minority are Baptists.

Migration from Saint Lucia is primarily to Anglophone countries, with the United Kingdommarker (see Saint Lucian British) having almost 10,000 Saint Lucian born citizens, and over 30,000 of Saint Lucian heritage. The second most popular destination for Saint Lucian expatriates is the United Statesmarker, where combined (foreign and national born Saint Lucians) almost 14,000 reside. Canadamarker is home to a few thousand Saint Lucians, while most other countries in the world have less than 50 citizens of Saint Lucian origin (the exceptions being Spainmarker and Francemarker with 124 and 117 Saint Lucian expats respectively).

Health

Public expenditure on health was at 3.3 % of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure was at 1.8 %. Health expenditure was at US$ 302 (PPP) per capita in 2004. Infant mortality was at 12 per 100,000 births in 2005. There are two public hospitals and one private hospital in St. Lucia.

Culture

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

Festivals

Saint Lucian cultural festivals include La Rose and La Marguerite, the one representing the Rosicrucian order, the other one representing Freemasonry, which can be 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, kompa, and reggae, Saint Lucia has a strong indigenous folk music tradition.

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

Education

The Education Act provides for free and compulsory education in Saint Lucia from the ages of 5 to 15. Literacy is very common. Public spending on education was at 5.8 % among the 2002-2005 GDP.
 Saint Lucia has no university.


Tourism

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

Other tourist attractions include a drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs (at Soufriere), the Botanical Gardens, the rain forests and Pigeon Island National Park, which is home to Fort Rodney, an old British military base.

The majority of tourists visit St. Lucia as part of a cruise. Most of their time tends to be spent in Castriesmarker, although Soufriere, Marigot Baymarker and Gros Isletmarker are popular locations to visit.

Gallery

Image:GrosPiton.JPG|Gros Piton seen from the Ladera Hotel restaurant – September 2007Image:PetitPiton.JPG|Petit Piton seen from the Ladera Hotel restaurant – December 2004Image:Lucia_079.jpg|View from Pigeon Point (Fort Rodney) – 2006Image:MarigoldBay.jpg|Soufrière Bay – February 2006Image:saint lucia mountain resort.JPG| Hilltop view of resort – June 2006Image:Day248bdrivem.JPG| Typical sight in Canaries: houses on hills, June 2006Image:AtlanticBeach.jpg| St Lucia beach – February 2006Image:St Lucia Tour-17-Marigot Bay.jpg| View of Marigot Bay - December 2007Image:St lucia z.jpg| View from the Le Sport
  resort – March 2006
Image:saint lucia beach.JPG| Boy lying on sand pile, June 2006

See also



Notes

  1. "The Saint Lucia Constitution" (1978-Dec-20 effective 1979-Feb-22), Government of St. Lucia, December 2008, www.stlucia.gov.lc (see below: References).
  2. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDI_2008_EN_Tables.pdf
  3. "Members of the House of Assembly", Government of St. Lucia, 2008, stlucia.gov.lc (see below: References).
  4. infoplease.com
  5. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/18/23/34792376.xls


References





External links




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