St Lucia - Encyclopedia Information
Official name Saint Lucia
Formation 1979 / 1979
Population 161,557 / 685 people per sq mile (265 people per sq km)
Total area 239 sq. miles (620 sq. km)
Languages English*, French Creole
Religions Roman Catholic 90%, Other 10%
Ethnic mix Black 83%, Mulatto (mixed race) 13%, Asian 3%, Other 1%
Government Parliamentary system
Currency East Caribbean dollar = 100 cents
Literacy rate 95%
Calorie consumption 2744 kilocalories
Saint Lucia is a really beautiful island, and for quite a small country it has a dramatic history. In terms of invasions, most of them involve Britain and France. Not much surprise there then.
Spanish, French, Dutch and English all took an early European interest in the island. In 1605, an English ship called the Olive Branch ended up on Saint Lucia by mistake. It had originally been heading for Guyana. The people on board tried to settle on Saint Lucia. It was another mistake. Disease and the local Caribs wiped out a large number of them in weeks and the others departed. In 1638, we were back, but not for long. The Caribs and disease saw to that.
It turned out that the French were to have a little more luck than us. In 1643 the governor of Martinique, one Parquet (nothing to do with flooring), set up a colony on Saint Lucia under one De Rousselan.
In 1664, Thomas Warner arrived to claim Saint Lucia for England, but like our previous efforts on the island, this was a disaster too. Soon the French were back in overall control. And so it went on seesawing to and fro, with the British and French both competing to be the dominant European power on the island, and with Saint Lucia changing hands many times.
In December 1778, for instance, with the French temporarily in control, a British fleet turned up to do something about it. On 13 December the fleet started landing British troops on the island at the delightfully named Grand Cul de Sac. On 15 December a French fleet attacked the British fleet, but failed to do much damage to the British operation. The French rushed reinforcements onto the island and the Brits and French clashed in the Battle of Morne de la Vierge. We won and by the end of the year Saint Lucia was ours again. For a time.
Finally, with the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the seesaw stopped tipping and we ended up with long-term control of the island.
Saint Lucia became fully independent on 22 February 1979.