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 The Carribbean Islamd of Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia -caribbeanSaint 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 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. Its size is 620 km² with an estimated population of 160,000. Its capital is Castries. 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 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 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, Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West Indies" as it was likened to the mythical Helen of Troy.

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. 20.9 % of the population of Saint Lucia live on less than 1,25 $ a day.


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 invading Europeans for their ferocity in battle.

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.


The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft) 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 December.

The population of Saint Lucia is of mostly African descent (82.5% of the population). There is 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 Lebanese, Syrians and Chinese.

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 23rd, but in different years.
About 70% of the population is Roman Catholic. The rest are Seventh-day Adventists (7%), Pentecostalists (6%), Anglicans (2%), Evangelicals (2%), Rastafari (2%) and a small minority are Baptists.


Saint Lucia economy

Saint Lucia's economy depends primarily on revenue from banana production and tourism with some input from small-scale manufacturing. There are numerous small- and medium-sized agricultural enterprises. Revenue from agriculture has supported the noticeable socioeconomic changes that have taken place in St. Lucia since the 1960s when eighty percent of merchandise trade earnings came from banana exports to the United Kingdom.

In view of the European Union's announced phase-out of preferred access to its markets by Windward Island bananas by 2006, agricultural diversification is a priority. An attempt is being made to diversify production by encouraging the establishment of tree crops such as mangos and avocados. A variety of vegetables are produced for local consumption. Recently, St. Lucia added small computer-driven information technology and financial services as development objectives.


St. Lucia's leading revenue producers--agriculture, tourism, and small-scale manufacturing--benefited from a focus on infrastructure improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities. Foreign investors also have been attracted by the infrastructure improvements as well as by the educated and skilled work force and relatively stable political conditions. The largest investment is in a petroleum storage and transshipment terminal built by Hess Oil. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)-funded an airport expansion project.

Until the events of 11 September 2001, the tourism sector had made significant gains, experiencing a boom despite some untimely and destructive hurricanes. Stay-over visitors and cruise arrivals declined in 2001 and several hotels declared bankruptcy, including the Hyatt. The development of the tourism sector remains a priority, and the government is committed to providing a favourable investment environment. Incentives are available for building and upgrading tourism facilities. There has been liberal use of public funds to improve the physical infrastructure of the island, and the government has made efforts to attract cultural and sporting events and develop historical sites.

St. Lucia is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues a common currency (the East Caribbean dollar) for all members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries.

St. Lucia is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative and is a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
St. Lucia is the headquarters of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications (ECTEL) authority, which is developing the regulations to liberalize the telecommunications sector in the region by 2004. 


Saint 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.

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.
It has been reported in the press recently that Amy Winehouse is currently recording a new album in Saint Lucia for release later in 2009 and that she plans to include local musicians in her work. 

Geography of Saint Lucia 

Saint Lucia map

Saint Lucia is one of many small land masses composing the insular group known as the Windward Islands. Unlike large limestone areas such as Florida, Cuba, and the Yucatan Peninsula, or the Bahamas, which is a small island group composed of coral and sand, St. Lucia is a typical Windward Island formation of volcanic rock that came into existence long after much of the region had already been formed.

St. Lucia's physical features are strikingly beautiful. Dominated by high peaks and rain forests in the interior, the 616 square-kilometer island is known for the twin peaks of Gros Piton and Petit Piton on the southwestern coast, its soft sandy beaches, and its magnificent natural harbors. Mount Gimie, the highest peak, is located in the central mountain range and rises to 958 meters above sea level, a contrast that is also evident in the abrupt climatic transition from coastal to inland areas. The steep terrain also accentuates the many rivers that flow from central St. Lucia to the Caribbean. Fertile land holdings, which support banana farming, are scattered throughout the island.

St. Lucia has a tropical, humid climate moderated by northeast trade winds that allow for pleasant year-round conditions. Mean annual temperatures range from 26 to 32 °C at sea level and drop to an average of 13 °C in the mountain peaks. The abundant annual rainfall accumulates to approximately 200 centimeters, with most precipitation occurring during the June to December wet season. Hurricanes are the most severe climatic disturbance in this area and have been known to cause extensive damage. Although St. Lucia has historically been spared from serious hurricane destruction, Hurricane Allen decimated the agricultural sector and claimed nine lives in 1980. 

The Flag of St. Lucia 

Saint Lucia flag

For most of its colonial history under the French and British, Saint Lucia did not have a distinctive flag of its own. In August 1939, however, the British granted the island a coat of arms, which was also used as a badge on the British Blue Ensign. The shield was black and bore gold roses for England and fleurs-de-lis for France, separated by pieces of bamboo forming the shape of a cross. With the failure of British attempts to form a federation of its Caribbean possessions, Saint Lucia advanced to the status of associated statehood on March 1, 1967. The original version of the flag in use today was hoisted at that time, designed by local artist Dunstan St. Omer.

The flag background is blue, reflecting the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, which surround the island. In the centre is a distinctive emblem that includes white and black to indicate harmony between the races living on Saint Lucia; its yellow triangle represents the constant sunshine that the tropical island enjoys and that serves to encourage the tourist industry, and its black triangle symbolizes the topographic features known as the Pitons, ancient volcanic cones found in the southwest of Saint Lucia. At the time of independence on February 22, 1979, the shade of blue and the relative sizes of the yellow and black triangles in the flag were slightly altered. 

Tourism in St. Lucia's

Saint Lucia 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 the world's only 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 Castries, although Soufriere, Marigot Bay and Gros Islet are popular locations to visit.
 A panorama of Marigot Bay 

Top things to do in St. Lucia 

St. Lucia-things- to -do

Whale and dolphin watching: there are over 40 different species of whales and dolphins off the coast of St Lucia.

Cruise on the Brig Unicorn Sailing Ship: a stunning ship that was apparently used in the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. Take a cruise at sunset and enjoy the gorgeous vistas and the steel band playing on board, which gives the cruise a really authentic Caribbean falvour.

Take a day trip to the Grenadines Tobago Cays and Palm Island. The beaches are beautiful and you won't be able to resist having a swim!

Rainforest Sky Tram:  The sky tram is like an open-air cable car, above the rainforest. The views are amazing and it's definitely an experience like no other; even if you tend to have a problem with heights you will probably still love it!
Mamiku Gardens: a welcome change to all the more adventurous excursions. The gardens are beautiful and really nice to have an amble around. 

Getting Married in St. Lucia 

St. Lucia Getting Married

Marriages in Saint Lucia may be celebrated by licence of the Hon. Attorney General, after the
publication of banns in the case of a religious marriage, or after publication of Notice in the case of a civil marriage.
To obtain a licence, one must apply to the Attorney General by Petition lodged by a local solicitor at the Hon. Attorney General's Chambers. There is a two-day (2 day) residency period. It takes two (2) business days to process the application. ( It is possible to be married on the fifth day after arriving in Saint Lucia if all documents are in order and procedures followed).
Church weddings can be arranged in advance.

The Petition must state:-
*The Christian or other names and surnames of the parties, their respective rank, profession or occupation;
* The place where, and the name of the status officer who will solemnize the marriage;
*Whether either of the parties has been previously married, and if so, whether there has been a divorce;
* That they know of no impediment of kindred or alliance, or other lawful cause to prevent the proposed marriage;
* Where either of the parties, not being a widower or a widow, is under the age of eighteen yars, that the consent of the

person/persons whose consent to the marriage is required, has been obtained.
The petition is to be signed by both parties, and must be accompanied by an affidavit of one of the parties verifying the facts mentioned in the petition, immigration cards and birth certificates and/or passports, and where applicable, divorce documents ( Decree Absolute) If either party has changed his/her name, eg. by Deed Poll or otherwise, the relevant documents MUST be produced.

Only Original Documents or those certified as a true copy of the original by an authorised official, are accepted. Exhibits such as the Decrees Absolute, Birth, Marriage or death certificates, passports. Deed Polls, must be originals or certified copies. Documents in a foreign language, MUST be translated into English by a certified translator.
For hotels offering special wedding packages, visit the

FEES: Notarial fees & Marriage Licence: EC$402.50
Registrar's fee: EC$100.00
Marriage Certificate: EC$ 8:00
($1.00 US = EC$2.70 )


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