The French were the island's first European settlers. They signed a treaty with the native Carib Indians in 1660. England took control of the island from 1663 to 1667. In ensuing years, it was at war with France 14 times, and rule of the island changed frequently. 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 Indies".
Representative government came about in 1840. From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the Federation of the West Indies. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations associated with the United Kingdom. Saint Lucia is a mixed jurisdiction, meaning that it has a legal system based in part on both the civil law and English common law. 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 La Francophonie.
One of the Windward Islands, Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse by the French, who were the island's first European settlers. it is the only country in the world named after a woman. Legend states French sailors were shipwrecked here on 13 Dec., thus naming the island in honor of Sainte Lucie.
In the late 1550s the French 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, and the 67 colonists started a settlement on Saint Lucia, after initially being welcomed by the Carib chief Anthonie. By 26 Sept. 1605, only 19 survived, after continued attack by the Carib chief Augraumart, so they fled the island.
In 1664, Thomas Warner (son of Sir Thomas Warner, the governor of St Kitts) claimed Saint Lucia for England. He brought 1,000 men to defend it from the French, but after two years, only 89 survived with the rest dying mostly due to disease. In 1666 the French West India Company resumed control of the island, which in 1674 was made an official French crown colony as a dependency of Martinique.
Both the British and the French found the island attractive after the sugar industry developed, and 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 granted both Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent to The 2nd Duke of Montagu. He in turn appointed Nathaniel Uring, 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 Britain occupied Saint Lucia for a year. Britain handed the island back to the French at the Treaty of Paris in 1763. Like the English and Dutch on other islands, the French began to develop the land for the cultivation of sugar cane as a commodity crop on large plantations in 1765.
When the French Revolution occurred, and the slaves had heard about the revolution, they walked off their jobs in 1790–1791 to work for themselves. In 1792 a revolutionary tribunal was sent to Saint Lucia, headed by Captain Jean-Baptiste Raymond de Lacrosse. Bringing the ideas of the revolution to Saint Lucia, Lacrosse set up a guillotine used to execute Royalists. In 1794 the French governor of the island Nicolas Xavier de Ricard declared that all slaves were free, as also happened in Saint-Domingue. However, the decree was unevenly carried out.
A short time later the British invaded the island as a part of the recently broken out war with France. On 21 February 1795 and a group of locals under the nominal control of Victor Hugues defeated a battalion of British troops at Vieux Fort and Rabot. In 1796 Castries was burned as part of the conflict. General John Moore retook Fort Charlotte in 1796 with the 27th Inniskilling Fusiliers after 2 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.Moore would then participate in British efforts to repress the slave rebels until falling ill of yellow fever, upon which he returned to Britain before 1798.
In 1803 the British regained control of the island. Many of the rebels escaped into the thick rain forests where they evaded capture and established maroon communities.
The slavery on the island was 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. Thereafter Saint Lucia was considered part of the British Windward Islands colony.
In 1836 the institution of slavery was abolished on the island and 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 this 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. Some people of Carib descent also comprised a minority on the island.
Castries harbour was protected by a system of 6o surrounding forts. Along the top of Morne Fortune there are 6 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 (1792) built as a lookout point, and the Combermere 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.
In the mid-twentieth century, Saint Lucia joined the 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, with internal self-government. In 1979 it gained full independence under Sir John Compton of the conservative United Workers party (UWP), who served as prime minister from 1982 to 1996, after which he was succeeded by Vaughan Lewis.
Dr Kenny Davis Anthony of the Labour Party was prime minister from 1997 to 2006. In 2006, the UWP, again led by Compton, won control of parliament. In May 2007, after Compton suffered a series of small strokes, Finance and External Affairs Minister Stephenson King became acting prime minister and succeeded Compton as prime minister when the latter died in September 2007. In November 2011, the Honorable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony was re-elected as prime minister for a third time. In the June 2016 elections the UWP assumed power again, under Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.
The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than most Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 feet) 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 (population 60,263) where 32.4% 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 1 December to 31 May, and a wet season from 1 June to 30 November.
Average daytime temperatures are around 29 °C (84.2 °F), and average nighttime temperatures are around 24 °C (75.2 °F). Since it is fairly close to the equator, the temperature does not fluctuate much between winter and summer. Average annual rainfall ranges from 1,300 mm (51.2 in) on the coast to 3,810 mm (150 in) in the mountain rainforests.
The geology of St. Lucia can be described as composing three main areas. The oldest, 15–18 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 Ma, while the lower southwest portion of the island contains recent activity from the Soufriere Volcanic Centre (SVC). This SVC, centered about the Qualibou depression, contains pyroclastic flow deposits, lava flows, domes, block-and-ash-flow deposits, and explosion craters. This depression's perimeter includes the town of Soufriere, Mount Tabac, Mt. Gimie, Morne Bonin, and Gros Piton. At 10 km in diameter, though the western portion is open towards the Grenada basin, the depression formed as recently as 100 kyr ago. The depression is noted for its geothermal activity, especially at 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 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 ka), Morne Bonin dome (273 ka), and Bellevue (264 ka). 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 ka) and Gros Piton (71 ka) were then extruded onto the depression floor accompanied by the Anse John (104 ka) and La Pointe (59.8 ka) pyroclastic flows. Later pyroclastic flows include pumice-rich Belfond and Anse Noir (20 ka). Finally, the dacitic domes of Terre Blanche (15.3 ka) and Belfond (13.6 ka) formed within the depression.
Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth realm. Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State, represented on the island by a Governor-General.House of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of Parliament, the Senate, has 11 appointed members.
Saint Lucia is a two-party parliamentary democracy. Three political parties participated in the 6 June 2016 General Election. Allen Chastanet of the United Workers Party won eleven of the seventeen seats.
Saint Lucia maintains friendly relations with the major powers active in the Caribbean, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. Saint Lucia has no extant international disputes.
Saint Lucia is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and La Francophonie. Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth Realm.
The Charter of the OAS 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 February 22, 1979.
The last Summits of the Americas, the seventh, was held in Panama City, Panama in 2015 with the eighth summit being held in Lima, Peru in 2018 according to the website of the Summits of Americas.
Three Indigenous Leaders Summits of Americas (ILSA) have been held with three past Summits, which were: Canada, Argentina and Panama. It was the intention of the leaders to have this Summit within the framework of that which was held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009.
The position of the OAS with respect to indigenous persons appears to be developing over the years. The following statements appear to capture the position of the OAS with respect to the ILSA as at December 2016 according to the website of the Summit of Americas:"The "OAS has supported and participated in the organisation of Indigenous Leaders Summits of Americas (ILSA)" according to the OAS's website. The most recent "statement made by the Heads of State of the hemisphere was in the Declaration of Commitments of Port of Spain in 2009 – Paragraph 86" according to the OAS's website."
The Draft American Declaration of the Rights of the Indigenous Persons appears to be a working document. The last "Meeting for Negotiations in the Quest for Consensus on this area appeared to be Meeting Number (18) eighteen and is listed as being held in May 2015 according to the website.
At a CARICOM Meeting, representative of St. Lucia, Mr. John Compton signed The Double Taxation Relief (CARICOM) Treaty 1994 on the 6th July 1994.
The representatives of seven (7) 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."
On June 30, 2014, Saint Lucia signed a Model 1 agreement with the United States of America in relation to Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). As at September 1, 2016, the status of the agreement is listed as "In Force".
Preceding the 2014 FATCA agreement is one which was entered into on January 30, 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.
Saint Lucia has no regular military force. A Special Service Unit and the Coast Guard are both under the command of the Royal Saint Lucia Police.
The districts of the island, established by the French colonial government and continued by the British, are:
An additional area is the Forest Reserve Area Quarter (78.3 km²).
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 East 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 privatisation of the state banana company.
Tourism is vital to Saint Lucia's economy. Its economic importance 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). Saint Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and its numerous beaches and resorts.
Other tourist attractions include a drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs (in Soufrière), the Botanical Gardens, the Majestic twin Peaks "The Pitons", a world heritage site, the rain forests, several options of boat trips, zip lining and 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, although Soufriere, Marigot Bay, Rodney Bay and Gros Islet are popular locations to visit.
The current Minister of Tourism is Dominic Fedee, he has been in his role since 2016.
Saint Lucia reported a population of 165,595 in the 2010 national census. In 2016, the United Nations Population Division estimated Saint Lucia's population at 178,015. The country's population is evenly divided between urban and rural areas, with more than a third living in the capital, Castries.
Despite a high emigration rate the population is growing rapidly at about 1.2% per year. Migration from Saint Lucia is primarily to 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 émigrés 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.
Saint Lucia's population is predominantly of African and mixed African-European descent, with a small Indo-Caribbean minority (3%). Members of other or unspecified ethnic groups, account for about 2% of the population.
The official language is English. Saint Lucian Creole French (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 West African languages, with some vocabulary from the Island Carib language and other sources. Saint Lucia is a member of La Francophonie.
About 61.5% of the population is Roman Catholic, a legacy of French colonisation of the island. 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 Islam, Bahá'í Faith, Judaism, Buddhism.
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.
In 2012, Saint Lucia had the world’s 16th-highest murder rate – a recorded rate of 21.6 per 100,000 population. There were a total of 39 murders in Saint Lucia in 2012.
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 or Kwéyòl, spoken by almost all of the population.
Saint Lucia boasts the second highest ratio of Nobel laureates produced with respect to the total population of any sovereign country in the world. Two winners have come from Saint Lucia: Sir Arthur Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979, and the poet Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.
Saint Lucian cultural festivals include La Rose and La Marguerite, 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 the 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.
The Windward Islands cricket team includes players from Saint Lucia and plays in the West Indies regional tournament. Daren Sammy became the first Saint Lucian to represent the 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. 2015 marked the ARC´s 30th year of existence. Every November, the race attracts over 200 boats and 1200 people to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.
Together with Caribbean music genres such as Calypso, Soca, Dancehall, Reggae, Compas, Zouk and Salsa, Saint Lucia has a strong indigenous folk music tradition. Each May since 1991, Saint Lucia has hosted an internationally renowned Jazz Festival. In 2013, the festival was rebranded 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.
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 one university, 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.
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 East 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 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 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, seafoods such as shrimp and conch, or meats such as chicken, beef, goat and liver.