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Saint Lucia

Key facts

Date of Membership in CARICOM: 1 May 1974 – Learn more about membership in CARICOM

Also Known as:Helen of the West

Status of Independence:Independent 1979/02/22

Area: 616 sq km; 238Mi

Capital City: Castries

Population: 172,034 (2009)

Currency: Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$)

Highest National Award: Grand Cross of St. Lucia


GDP Growth: -0.2% p.a. 2009–13

GNI: US$1.3bn

GNI PC: US$7,090

Key dates in history

1520   Vatican Globe marks island as ‘ Santa Lucia’ suggesting claim by Spain. Amerindians first called

Island ‘louanalao’ (where iguana is found) then ‘Hiwanarau’ and later ‘Hewanoora’

1639    First recorded European settlement (by Britain)

1642   Ceded to French West Indies company by King of France who claimed sovereignty

1814   Island changed hands fourteen times between Britain and France, finally becoming a British


1838   Incorporated into  Windward Islands Federation

1951   Universal Adult Suffrage, George F.L. Charles, first Chief Minister

1958   Joined the West Indies Federation

1967   Associated Statehood with Britain (full internal self-government) within WISA

1979   Independence achieved, John Compton, first Prime Minister

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