Saint Lucia ( ) (French: Sainte-Lucie) 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/northeast of the islands of
and the Grenadines, northwest of Barbados and south of
- Also see: Saint
Its size is 620 km² with an estimated
population of 160,000. Its capital is Castries.
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
, named for the very ripe bananahs and also named
after...Saint Lucy of Syracuse
first visited by Europeans in about the year 1500 and first
colonised successfully by France who signed a
treaty with the native Carib peoples in
1660. Great Britain 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
of the West Indies."
Representative government came about in 1924 (with universal adult
from 1953) and from 1958 to 1962
the island was a member of the Federation of the West Indies
Finally, on February 22
, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the
Commonwealth of Nations
island nation celebrates this every year with a public holiday. It
is also a member of La
As a Commonwealth realm
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
. 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
Saint Lucia is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community
, Organisation of Eastern
(OECS) and La
Saint Lucia is divided into 11 quarters, or sections of the island,
which were sometimes called "districts" under the British colonial
- Anse la Raye Quarter
- Castries Quarter
- Choiseul Quarter
- Dauphin Quarter
- Dennery Quarter
- Gros Islet Quarter
- Laborie Quarter
- Micoud Quarter
- Praslin Quarter
- Soufrière Quarter
- Vieux Fort Quarter
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
- Canaries & Anse La Raye
- Castries Central
- Castries North
- Castries North East
- Castries South
- Castries South East
- Dennery North
- Dennery South
- Gros Islet
- Micoud North
- Micoud South
- Vieux Fort North
- Vieux Fort South
volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more
mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 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
capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about one third of the population
lives. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and
The local climate
, moderated by northeast
, with a dry season from
January to April and a rainy season from May to December.
The recent change in the European
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
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
The population of Saint Lucia is of mostly African
descent (81% of the population).
also a significant Mixed minority
representing 11.9%, with Indo-Caribbean or Indian 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, Lebanese, Syrians, Chinese, North
Americans, Portuguese, Germans and Italians.
The official language is English
but a creole language
is spoken by 80%
of the population and is getting increasing usage and official
recognition. It evolved from French
, and Carib
. Saint Lucia is a member of
St. Lucia boasts the highest ratio in the world for number of
laureates produced with respect to
the total population of the nation. Two winners have come from St.
Lucia: Sir Arthur Lewis
Nobel Prize in Economics
in 1979, and Derek Walcott
received the Nobel Prize in Literature
Both were born on January 23, but in different years.
About 70% of the population is Roman
. The rest are Seventh-day Adventist
(2%) and a small minority are
from Saint Lucia is primarily to Anglophone countries, with the
Kingdom (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 States, where combined (foreign and national born Saint
Lucians) almost 14,000 reside. Canada 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 Spain and France with 124 and
117 Saint Lucian expats respectively).
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.
was at 12 per
100,000 births in 2005. There are two public hospitals
and one private hospital in St.
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
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
Traditionally, in common with other Caribbean countries, Saint
Lucia held a carnival
. 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
, and reggae
, Saint Lucia
has a strong indigenous folk music tradition.
Each May since 1992, Saint Lucia has hosted an
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 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
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.
their time tends to be spent in Castries, although Soufriere,
Bay and Gros
Islet are popular locations to visit.
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
- "The Saint Lucia Constitution" (1978-Dec-20 effective
1979-Feb-22), Government of St. Lucia, December 2008,
www.stlucia.gov.lc (see below: References).
- "Members of the House of Assembly", Government of St. Lucia,
2008, stlucia.gov.lc (see below: References).