Saint Lucia Overview
|Form of government
||Parliamentary monarchy in the Commonwealth
||East Caribbean dollar
|Telephone area code
The island of Saint Lucia (not officially: St. Lucia)
is the second largest of the Winward Islands (Lesser
Antilles) and is located south of Martinique and north
of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.
The national area covers around 616 km², the island is
44 km long and up to 23 km wide.
Saint Lucia is of volcanic origin, of which numerous
sulfur springs (especially near Soufri¨¨re) still bear
witness today. The island is characterized by a mountain
range that runs from north to south and reaches heights
of up to 958 m (Mount Gimie). The mountain landscape is
crossed by numerous small rivers, with the valleys in
the geologically older north being wider. In the far
south there is a plain with a few low hills. The coast
is rich in bays with white sandy beaches and is more
rugged on the windward east coast than in the west.
The two volcanic cones Gros Piton (798 m) and Petit
Piton (736 m) in the southwest, which rise steeply from
the sea and are the result of a volcanic eruption, are
considered landmarks of the island. The capital,
Castries, is in the northwest of Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucia has a tropical, humid climate with
constant temperatures throughout the year, with average
temperatures of around 27 ˇăC. In the mountain regions,
the daytime temperatures are lower than on the coast.
The north-east trade wind provides for rainfall of up to
3,800 mm on the north-east coast facing the wind and
inland, and up to 1,300 mm on the west coast. The rainy
season lasts from July to November, the driest months
are December to April. Cyclones can occur.
Flora and fauna
The island was originally covered by evergreen
tropical rainforest, which is now only available in the
more inaccessible mountain regions. Secondary forest
dominates the lowlands with far fewer plant species. In
addition to various types of palm trees and flamboyant
trees, there are numerous flowers such as oleanders,
hibiscus, jasmine, orchids and bougainvillea.
In addition to numerous species of parrots and
hummingbirds, bird life includes a number of endemic
species such as the Saint Lucia amazon (A. versicolor),
the Saint Lucia golden blackbird and the Saint Lucia
black finch. In addition to iguanas, iguanas and
agoutis, the animal world also includes various types of
snakes, including the boa constrictor and the poisonous
Around 166,500 people live in Saint Lucia. The
capital Castries is the cultural and economic center of
the island state with 64 500 residents. Over 80% of the
population live in the valleys around the capital and in
the southern coastal plain. The average population
density is around 270 people per square kilometer. The
descendants of the black African slaves have a
population share of almost 90%. Around 6% are mulattoes
(hybrids of blacks and Europeans), another minority are
the descendants of Indian contract workers who came to
the island after the abolition of slavery. Just under 1%
are whites mostly of British origin.
Two thirds of the population are Catholics, a good
20% are affiliated to other Christian faiths. The
official language is English, and Patois (a
Creole-French dialect) is also spoken. Despite a
significant birth surplus, population growth is only
0.7%; Due to the high level of unemployment, more and
more islanders are emigrating. According to COUNTRYAAH,
the median life
expectancy is 74 years. School attendance is compulsory
for children, the literacy rate is only 67%.
Saint Lucia is a parliamentary monarchy under the
British Commonwealth of Nations, according to the 1979
constitution. The head of state is the British monarch
Elizabeth II, who is represented on the island by a
governor general (since September 1997 Calliopa
Pearlette Louisy). The governor-general appoints the
prime minister as head of government of the country, who
is usually the leader of the strongest party in
parliament (since November 2011 Kenny Anthony).
The legislature lies with the parliament, which
consists of two chambers: the "House of Assembly" with
18 deputies elected by the people for a five-year term
(one seat ex officio), and the Senate with eleven
members appointed by the governor general. The two
relevant political parties on Saint Lucia are the
conservative "United Workers Party" (UWP) and the
left-wing "Saint Lucia Labor Party" (SLP).
The island state is divided into ten districts
The economy of the island state of Saint Lucia is
based on the export of bananas and the tourism industry,
which is now the most important area. In recent years,
international companies from the financial sector have
also been won over as investors. The service sector is
becoming increasingly important and already accounts for
81% of gross domestic product (GDP).
Agriculture is now only 4% of GDP. Bananas and
coconut palms are grown for export, as well as mangoes,
citrus fruits, cocoa and spices. The population's own
needs cannot be met, food must be imported.
Industry generates 15% of GDP. Food processing
companies dominate (e.g. rum and coconut oil are
produced), textiles, cardboard boxes and plastic parts
are also produced.
The most important trading partners for exports
(bananas, textiles, cocoa, coconut oil) are Great
Britain and the USA, for imports (machines, vehicles,
food, chemical products) the USA and Trinidad and
Saint Lucia has two airports. The road network covers
a total of about 1,200 km, of which only a fraction has
been expanded. At Castries and Vieux Fort are the main
ports in the country.
The currency is the East Caribbean dollar (= 100