Saint Lucia

Introduction The island, with its fine natural harbor at Castries, was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); it was finally ceded to the UK in 1814. Even after the abolition of slavery on its plantations in 1834, Saint Lucia remained an agricultural island, dedicated to producing tropical commodity crops. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence in 1979.
History

Pre-European people

Saint Lucia's first known inhabitants were Arawaks, believed to have come from northern South America around 200-400 CE. Numerous archaeological sites on the island have produced specimens of the Arawaks' well-developed pottery. There is evidence to suggest that these first inhabitors called the island Iouanalao, which meant 'Land of the Iguanas', due to the island's high number of iguanas.

Caribs gradually replaced Arawaks during the period from 800 to 1000 CE They called the island Hiwanarau, and later Hewanorra, which is now the name used for the Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort. The Caribs had a complex society, with hereditary kings and shamans. Their war canoes could hold more than 100 men and were fast enough to catch a sailing ship. They were later feared by the Europeans because of stories of violence and cannibalism, but much of this was probably exaggeration on the part of the Europeans. The Caribs were usually generous until attacked or deceived (which are situations common to much of European colonial history).

Today called St. Lucia, much of the island's population are unaware of the valued contribution to what we today call 'freedom'. They Europeans called these freedon fighters the Brigands, who were of African and sometimes mixed African-Arawak heritage. Many Brigands still occupy the forests and surrounding areas where they still challenge injustice against them and their indigenous counterparts.

European invasion

Europeans first landed on the island in either 1492 or 1502 during Spain's early exploration of the Caribbean. The Dutch, English, and French all tried to establish trading outposts on St. Lucia in the 17th century but faced opposition from Caribs whose land they were occupying.

17th century

Although the French pirate Francois le Clerc (also known as Jamb de Bois, due to his wooden leg) frequented Saint Lucia in the 1550s, it was not until years later, around 1600, that the first European camp was started by the Dutch, at what is now Vieux Fort. In 1605, an English vessel called the Olive Branch was blown off-course on its way to Guyana, and the 67 colonists started a settlement on Saint Lucia but after five weeks only 19 of them remained due to disease and conflict with the Caribs, so they fled the island.

The French officially claimed the island in 1635 but it was the English that started the next European settlement in 1639, which was wiped out by the Caribs. It was not until 1651 that the French came, this time from Martinique, commanded by De Rousselan, who held the island until his death in 1654.

In 1664, Thomas Warner (son of the governor of St Kitts) claimed Saint Lucia for England. He brought 1,000 men there to defend it from the French, but after two years there were only 89 left, mostly due to disease. For years after this, the island was official traded back and forth between the English and the French in various treaties, as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

18th century

The English, with their headquarters in Barbados, and the French, centered on Martinique, found St. Lucia attractive after the sugar industry developed in 1765. Colonists who came over were mostly indentured white servants serving a small percentage of wealthy merchants or nobles. Conflict with the Caribs increased as more and more land was taken.

Near the end of the century, the French Revolution occurred, and a revolutionary tribunal was sent to Saint Lucia, headed by captain La Crosse. Bringing the ideas of the revolution to Saint Lucia, he set up a guillotine that was used to execute Royalists. In 1794, the French governor of the island declared that all slaves were free, but only a short time later the British invaded again in response to the concerns of the wealthy plantation owners, and restored slavery after years of fighting. Castries was burned in 1796 as part of that battle between the British and the slaves and French republicans.

19th century

Britain eventually triumphed, with France permanently ceding Saint Lucia in 1814. The British abolished the African slave trade in 1807, three years after former slaves in Haiti had gained their independence as the first black republic in the Caribbean, but it was not until 1834 that slavery was actually abolished on Saint Lucia. Even after slavery was officially abolished, all former slaves had to serve a four-year "apprenticeship" which forced them to work for free for their former slavemasters for at least three-quarters of the work week, with final freedom in 1838.

Also in 1838, Saint Lucia was incorporated into the British Windward Islands administration, headquartered in Barbados. This lasted until 1885, when the capital was moved to Grenada.

20th century to present day

Increasing self-government has marked St. Lucia's 20th century history. A 1924 constitution gave the island its first form of representative government, with a minority of elected members in the previously all-nominated legislative council. Universal adult suffrage was introduced in 1951, and elected members became a majority of the council. Ministerial government was introduced in 1956, and in 1958 St. Lucia joined the short-lived West Indies Federation, a semi-autonomous dependency of the United Kingdom. When the federation collapsed in 1962, following Jamaica's withdrawal, a smaller federation was briefly attempted. After the second failure, the United Kingdom and the six windward and leeward islands--Grenada, St. Vincent, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis and Anguilla, and St. Lucia--developed a novel form of cooperation called associated statehood.

As an associated state of the United Kingdom from 1967 to 1979, St. Lucia had full responsibility for internal self-government but left its external affairs and defense responsibilities to the United Kingdom. This interim arrangement ended on February 22, 1979, when St. Lucia achieved full independence. St. Lucia continues to recognize Queen Elizabeth II as titular head of state and is an active member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The island continues to cooperate with its neighbors through the Caribbean community and common market (CARICOM), the East Caribbean Common Market (ECCM), and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

Geography Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 13 53 N, 60 58 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
Area: total: 616 sq km
land: 606 sq km
water: 10 sq km
Area - comparative: 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 158 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season January to April, rainy season May to August
Terrain: volcanic and mountainous with some broad, fertile valleys
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Gimie 950 m
Natural resources: forests, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, geothermal potential
Land use: arable land: 6.45%
permanent crops: 22.58%
other: 70.97% (2005)
Irrigated land: 30 sq km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.01
per capita: 81 cu m/yr (1997)
Natural hazards: hurricanes and volcanic activity
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion, particularly in the northern region
Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: the twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere, are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean
Foreign relations

Saint Lucia has no extant international disputes aside from tension resulting from the island's status as a transit point for South American drugs destined for the United States and Europe.

Historically, the major thrust of foreign affairs for St. Lucia has been economic development. The government is seeking balanced international relations with emphasis on mutual economic cooperation and trade and investment. It seeks to conduct its foreign policy chiefly through its membership in the OECS. St. Lucia participated in the 1983 Grenada mission, sending members of its Special Services Unit into active duty. St. Lucia is a member of the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States, and the United Nations. It seeks pragmatic solutions to major international issues and maintains friendly relations with the major powers active in the Caribbean, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France. St. Lucia has been active in eastern Caribbean regional affairs through the OECS and CARICOM.

As a member of CARICOM, St. Lucia strongly backed efforts by the United States to implement UN Security Council Resolution 940, designed to restore democracy to Haiti. The country agreed to contribute personnel to the multinational force, which restored the democratically elected government of Haiti in October 1994.

St. Lucia participated, along with 14 other Caribbean nations, in a summit with US President Bill Clinton in Bridgetown, Barbados, in May 1997. The summit, which was the first-ever meeting in the region between the U.S. and Caribbean heads of government, strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on justice and counternarcotics, finance and development, and trade issues.

St. Lucia had official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) for about 13 years, but switched recognition to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1997. On 25 April 2007, the Premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Su Tseng-chang, announced that St. Lucia and Taiwan would resume formal diplomatic relations.[1] On May 1, 2007, St. Lucia regained diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan).[2] Within a few days, the People’s Republic of China suspended diplomatic relations.

People Population: 159,585 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.2% (male 20,614/female 19,559)
15-64 years: 65.8% (male 50,897/female 54,140)
65 years and over: 9% (male 6,481/female 7,894) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 29.2 years
male: 28.2 years
female: 30.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.436% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 15.4 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 6.71 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -4.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 13.8 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.75 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.25 years
male: 73.59 years
female: 79.05 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.86 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
Nationality: noun: Saint Lucian(s)
adjective: Saint Lucian
Ethnic groups: black 82.5%, mixed 11.9%, East Indian 2.4%, other or unspecified 3.1% (2001 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 67.5%, Seventh Day Adventist 8.5%, Pentecostal 5.7%, Rastafarian 2.1%, Anglican 2%, Evangelical 2%, other Christian 5.1%, other 1.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.5% (2001 census)
Languages: English (official), French patois
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 90.1%
male: 89.5%
female: 90.6% (2001 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 6.6% of GDP (2006)
Government Country name: conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Saint Lucia
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Castries
geographic coordinates: 14 01 N, 61 00 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 11 quarters; Anse-la-Raye, Castries, Choiseul, Dauphin, Dennery, Gros-Islet, Laborie, Micoud, Praslin, Soufriere, Vieux-Fort
Independence: 22 February 1979 (from UK)
National holiday: Independence Day, 22 February (1979)
Constitution: 22 February 1979
Legal system: based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General Dame Pearlette LOUISY (since September 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Stephenson KING (since 9 September 2007); note - Sir John COMPTON died in office Friday, 7 September 2007
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: the monarch is hereditary; the governor general is appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the governor general; deputy prime minister appointed by the governor general
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (11 seats; six members appointed on the advice of the prime minister, three on the advice of the leader of the opposition, and two after consultation with religious, economic, and social groups) and the House of Assembly (17 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly - last held 11 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2011)
election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - UWP 50%, SLP 46.9%, other 3.1%; seats by party - UWP 11, SLP 6
Judicial branch: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (jurisdiction extends to Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
Political parties and leaders: National Alliance or NA [George ODLUM]; Saint Lucia Freedom Party or SFP [Martinus FRANCOIS]; Saint Lucia Labor Party or SLP [Kenneth ANTHONY]; Sou Tout Apwe Fete Fini or STAFF [Christopher HUNTE]; United Workers Party or UWP [Stephenson KING]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS, OECS, OIF, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Michael LOUIS
chancery: 3216 New Mexico Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016
telephone: [1] (202) 364-6792 through 6795
FAX: [1] (202) 364-6723
consulate(s) general: Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Saint Lucia; the US Ambassador to Barbados is accredited to Saint Lucia
Flag description: blue, with a gold isosceles triangle below a black arrowhead; the upper edges of the arrowhead have a white border
Culture

The Culture of Saint Lucia blends the influences of African, French, and English heritage. The official language of the island is English but Kreole, a form of French patois, remains an influential secondary language. The people are predominantly Catholic but the religious climate is tolerant.

Festivals

Saint Lucian cultural festivals include La Rose and La Marguerite, the one representing the Rosecrucian order, the other one representing Freemasonry, as seen in a mural painted by Dunstan St. Omer, which depicts the holy trinity of Osiris, Horus and Isis. The Christmas season is celebrated and a number of small festivals and parades take place throughout the island.

Saint Lucia also celebrates a cultural festival known as Jounen Kweyol (Creole Day). This is celebrated each year on the week of the 27th of October. On the Sunday of this week, the various towns chosen to host this festival put out the result of their grand preparations; local food and drink such as breadfruit and salt fish, manicou (agouti) and roast bake, lime drinks, guava drinks and more. Most people commemorate this day by wearing the island's national wear known as the madras. Persons who do not want to wear the extreme layers of skirts and dresses make clothing out of the special plaid material. All of the above is a representation of Jounen Kweyol.

Secular observances include an internationally-renowned Jazz Festival. Beginning in 1991, this annual festival draws crowds of music-lovers from around the world.

Music

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

Carnival

Traditionally, in common with other Caribbean countries, Saint Lucia held a carnival before Lent. In 1999, it was moved to mid-July so as not to clash with the much larger Trinidad and Tobago carnival, and in effort to attract more overseas visitors. It is a two day festival where people walk about two miles. Before carnival there is a competition among women in the country on who to be the queen of carnival of year.

Economy Economy - overview: The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, with a surge in foreign direct investment in 2006, attributed to the construction of several tourism projects. Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange, with almost 900,000 arrivals in 2007. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry. Saint Lucia is vulnerable to a variety of external shocks including declines in European Union banana preferences, volatile tourism receipts, natural disasters, and dependence on foreign oil. High debt servicing obligations constrain the KING administration's ability to respond to adverse external shocks. Economic fundamentals remain solid, even though unemployment needs to be reduced.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.794 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $958 million (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.2% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $10,700 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5%
industry: 15%
services: 80% (2005 est.)
Labor force: 43,800 (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 21.7%
industry: 24.7%
services: 53.6% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate: 20% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget: revenues: $141.2 million
expenditures: $146.7 million (2000 est.)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.9% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 6.5% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 10.12% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $264.7 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $720.9 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $1.217 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products: bananas, coconuts, vegetables, citrus, root crops, cocoa
Industries: clothing, assembly of electronic components, beverages, corrugated cardboard boxes, tourism; lime processing, coconut processing
Industrial production growth rate: -8.9% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production: 304.2 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption: 282.9 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 2,700 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 2,678 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$199 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $288 million (2006)
Exports - commodities: bananas 41%, clothing, cocoa, vegetables, fruits, coconut oil
Exports - partners: US 24.9%, France 23.6%, UK 19.6%, Antigua and Barbuda 5.1%, Dominica 5%, Barbados 4.5%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.2% (2007)
Imports: $791 million (2006)
Imports - commodities: food 23%, manufactured goods 21%, machinery and transportation equipment 19%, chemicals, fuels
Imports - partners: US 27.9%, Trinidad and Tobago 22.4%, Netherlands 8.7%, UK 4.9%, Barbados 4.7% (2007)
Economic aid - recipient: $11.06 million (2005)
Debt - external: $257 million (2004)
Currency (code): East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Currency code: XCD
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 51,100 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 105,700 (2005)
Telephone system: general assessment: adequate system
domestic: system is automatically switched
international: country code - 1-758; the East Caribbean Fiber Optic System (ECFS) and Southern Caribbean fiber optic system (SCF) submarine cables, along with Intelsat from Martinique, carry calls internationally; direct microwave radio relay link with Martinique and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; tropospheric scatter to Barbados
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 7, shortwave 0 (2003)
Radios: 111,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 2 (1 commercial broadcast station and 1 community antenna television or CATV channel) (2003)
Televisions: 32,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .lc
Internet hosts: 17 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 15 (2000)
Internet users: 110,000 (2007)
Transportation Airports: 2 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2007)
Roadways: total: 1,210 km (2002)
Ports and terminals: Castries, Cul-de-Sac, Vieux-Fort
Military Military branches: no regular military forces; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (includes Special Service Unit, Coast Guard) (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 48,358 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 38,660 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 1,591
female: 1,504 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: NA
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: joins other Caribbean states to counter Venezuela's claim that Aves Island sustains human habitation, a criterion under UNCLOS, which permits Venezuela to extend its EEZ/continental shelf over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea
Illicit drugs: transit point for South American drugs destined for the US and Europe