Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II (1952)
Governor-General: Dame Pearlette Louisy (1997)
Prime Minister: Kenny D. Anthony (1997)
Land area: 236 sq mi (611 sq km); total area: 238 mi (616 sq km)
Population (2010 est.): 160,922 (growth rate: 0.4%); birth rate: 14.8/1000; infant mortality rate: 13.0/1000; life expectancy: 76.6; density per sq mi: 723
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Castries, 60,300
Monetary unit: East Caribbean dollar
Languages: English (official), French patois
Ethnicity/race: black 82.5%, mixed 11%, East Indian 2.4%, other or unspecified 3.1% (2001 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic 68%, Seventh-Day Adventist 9%, Pentecostal 6%, Evangelical 2%, Anglican 2%, other Christian 5%, Rastafarian 2%, none 5% (2001)
Literacy rate: 90% (2001 est.)
Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2009 est.): $1.75 billion; per capita $10,900. Real growth rate: –2.5%. Inflation: 1.9%. Unemployment: 20% (2003 est.). Arable land: 6.45% (2005 est.). Agriculture: bananas, coconuts, vegetables, citrus, root crops, cocoa. Labor force: 43,800 (2001 est.); agriculture 21.7%, industry, commerce, and manufacturing 24.7%, services 53.6% (2002 est.). Industries: clothing, assembly of electronic components, beverages, corrugated cardboard boxes, tourism; lime processing, coconut processing. Natural resources: forests, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, geothermal potential. Exports: $288 million (2006 est.): bananas 41%, clothing, cocoa, vegetables, fruits, coconut oil. Imports: $791 million (2006 est.): food 23%, manufactured goods 21%, machinery and transportation equipment 19%, chemicals, fuels. Major trading partners: UK, U.S., Brazil, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Finland (2004).
Member of Commonwealth of Nations
Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 51,100 (2002); mobile cellular: 105,700 (2005). Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 7 (plus 3 repeaters), 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 Service Providers (ISPs): 15 (2007). Internet users: 55,000 (2004).
Transportation: Railways: 0 km. Highways: total: 910 km; paved: 48 km; unpaved: 862 km (2000 est.). Ports and harbors: Castries, Vieux Fort. Airports: 2 (2007).
International disputes: protests Venezuela's claim to give full effect to Aves Island, which creates a Venezuelan EEZ/continental shelf extending over a large portion of the Caribbean Sea.
One of the Windward Islands of the eastern Caribbean, St. Lucia lies just south of Martinique. It is of volcanic origin. A chain of wooded mountains runs from north to south and from them flow many streams into fertile valleys.
Parliamentary democracy. A governor-general represents the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.
The first inhabitants of St. Lucia were the Arawak Indians, who were forced off the island by the Caribs. Explored by Spain and then France, St. Lucia became a British territory in 1814 and one of the Windward Islands in 1871. With other Windward Islands, St. Lucia was granted home rule in 1967 as one of the West Indies Associated States. On Feb. 22, 1979, St. Lucia achieved full independence in ceremonies boycotted by the opposition St. Lucia Labour Party, which had advocated a referendum before cutting ties with Britain. The United Workers Party (UWP), then in power, called for new elections and was defeated by the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP). The UWP was returned to power in the elections of 1982, 1987, and 1992.
Kenny Anthony became prime minister in 1997, when his St. Lucia Labour Party won 16 of the 17 parliamentary seats.
The 1999 European Union decision to end its preferential treatment of bananas imported from former colonies has led St. Lucia to try to diversify its agricultural crops. In 2002, tropical storm Lili devasted the banana crop.