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Saint Lucia Overview

Saint Lucia
Official language English
Capital Castries
Form of government Parliamentary monarchy in the Commonwealth
Area 616 km²
Residents 166,500
Currency East Caribbean dollar
Time zone UTC -4
License Plate WL
Internet TLD .lc
Telephone area code 001

Geography

Saint Lucia OverviewThe 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.

Climate

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 lance snake.

Population

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%.

Political system

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 (quarters).

Economy

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 Tobago.

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 cents).


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