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St. Lucia

Facts & Figures

Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II (1952)

Governor-General: Dame Pearlette Louisy (1997)

Prime Minister: Kenny Anthony (2011)

Land area: 236 sq mi (611 sq km); total area: 238 mi (616 sq km)

Population (2011 est.): 162,178 (growth rate: 0.38%); birth rate: 14.42/1000; infant mortality rate: 12.39/1000; life expectancy: 77.04; density per sq mi: 672

Capital and largest city (2010 est.): Castries, 60,263

Monetary unit: East Caribbean dollar

More Facts & Figures

Flag of St. Lucia

Geography

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.

Government

Parliamentary democracy. A governor-general represents the sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II.

History

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. John Compton, head of the United Workers Party (UWP), became the country's first prime minister. The UWP, then in power, called for new elections and was defeated by the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP). The UWP, with Compton as its leader, was returned to power in the elections of 1982, 1987, and 1992. Compton resigned in 1996 and Vaughan Lewis took over as prime minister.

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.

In 2006, Sir John Compton, often called the "Father of St. Lucia," returned to politics five years after retiring, and his UWP swept elections. He became prime minister once again, at age 82. He died in 2007 and was succeeded by Stephenson King.

In November 2011, Kenny Anthony became prime minister again after the St. Lucia Labour Party won 11 of the 17 seats in Parliament. Anthony previously served as prime minister from 1997 to 2006.

See also Encyclopedia: Saint Lucia .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Saint Lucia
Government Statistics Department www.stats.gov.lc/ .


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