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Saint Lucia is an island nation
in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic
Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north of
the islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, northwest
of Barbados and south of Martinique. It is also known as the
"Helen of the West Indies" because it switched between
British and French control so often it was likened to the
mythical Helen of Troy.
Saint Lucia is one of the Windward Islands,
named for Saint Lucy of Syracuse. It was first visited by
Europeans in about the year 1500 and first colonized successfully
by France who signed a treaty with the native Carib peoples
in 1660. Great Britain took control of the island from 1663
to 1667 then went to war with France over it fourteen times,
and finally took complete control in 1814.
|The volcanic island of Saint Lucia
is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands, with
the highest point being Mount Gimie, at 950 metres (3,120 ft)
above sea level. Two other mountains, the Pitons, form the island's
most famous landmark. They are located between Soufrière
and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia
is also one of the few islands in the world that boasts a drive-in
The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries, where about
one third of the population lives. Major towns include Gros
Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort. The local climate
is tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds, with a dry
season from January to April and a rainy season from May to
||The population of Saint Lucia is
of mostly African descent (82.5% of the population). There is
a significant Mixed minority representing 11.9%, and with a
Indo-Caribbean or East Indian groups at 2.4% and the small European
origin minority (descendants of French, British, and Irish colonists).
Other or unspecified ethnicity accounts for 3.1%. There are
small numbers of Lebanese, Syrians and Asians.
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The official language is English, but a creole language
called Kwéyòlaka is spoken by 80% of the population.
It evolved from French, Carib and elements of African languages.
Saint Lucia is a member of La Francophonie.
St. Lucia boasts the highest ratio in the world
for number of Nobel laureates produced with respect to the total
population of the nation. Two winners have come from St. Lucia:
Sir Arthur Lewis won the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences
in Memory of Alfred Nobel ("Nobel Prize in Economics")
in 1979, and Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature
in 1992. Both were born on January 23rd, but in different years.
About 70% of the population is Roman Catholic. The
rest are Seventh-day Adventists (7%), Pentecostalists (6%), Anglicans
(2%), Evangelicals (2%) and Rastafari (2%).