Beautiful, lush and rich in striking landmarks, the country of Saint Lucia stretches slightly over 238 square miles. Located in the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea, it has a history of being contested between France and England in the 17th and 18th century.
Yet, this second-largest island of the Windward Islands still triumphed and managed to gain its independence in the late 70s. Although it remains a Commonwealth of the Nations member state today, it does so as an independent region.
Here are some interesting facts about the Caribbean country of Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucia facts
1. Saint Lucia celebrated its 41st year of independence on 22 February 2020
The country gained its independence from England on 22 February 1979. That same year, Sir Allen Montgomery Lewis became the first Governor-General of the newly independent Saint Lucia. He would hold this position twice, serving in the position from 1979 to 1980, and again from 1982 to 1987.
2. It is named after a famous saint
Saint Lucia is named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse, a Christian martyr that lived approximately from AD 283 to 304. Legend has it that Saint Lucia got its name thanks to shipwrecked sailors arriving on the island on the feast day of St. Lucy, the traditional feast day in honour of this saint. An interesting fact about Saint Lucia is that this makes this country one of only two countries across the globe to be named after a woman.
3. The currency used in this region is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar
The Eastern Caribbean Dollar has been circulated since 1965. Luckily for tourists, many hotels are happy to interchange foreign currency, meaning they won’t get stuck if they do not have the local currency.
4. Saint Lucia’s capital is Castries
This capital city spans about 79 km2. It is the largest city in Saint Lucia and is known for several famous landmarks, such as the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and the Derek Walcott Square (the namesake of the poet and playwright who won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1992).
5. This country has a drive in volcano called Sulphur Springs
This interesting location is considered to be the world’s only drive in volcano. Situated near Soufrière, it is popular among tourists and offers the opportunity to view the volcano from a safe lookout point and take mud baths that are believed to have medicinal properties.
6. Its national bird is the Jacquot parrot
Also known as the Saint Lucia Amazon or the Saint Lucia parrot, the Jacquot is only found in Saint Lucia. This colourful bird species faced a massive decline in numbers, dwindling from 1 000 in the 1950s to just 150 birds in the 1970s. Luckily, thanks to conservation efforts, the species managed to grow their numbers again, reaching the 300 birds mark in the 90s, a fun fact about Saint Lucia.
7. English is considered Saint Lucia’s official language, but it is not the only language spoken
Around 95% of Saint Lucia’s residents also speak Saint Lucian Creole French (Kwéyòl). This language developed from French as well as Western African languages and has other influences such as Island Carib.
8. This country has its own famous botanical gardens
Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens is Saint Lucia’s oldest botanical garden. It is home to the Diamond Waterfall, a spectacular sight that is known for its changing colours due to the combination of rainwater and volcanic materials flowing down the falls. Situated in Soufrière, the Botanical Gardens offer a lush green area and the opportunity for tourists and locals to enjoy mineral baths close by.
9. Saint Lucia’s tallest mountain is over 3,000 feet tall
Mount Gimie’s peak reaches an impressive 950 m (3117 ft). Guided tours to the peak of this mountain are regularly offered, providing those that make it to the top a breath-taking view of the island, a fun fact about Saint Lucia.
10. Its famous Cap Maison Resort and Spa is an award-winning location
Two years after opening its doors in 2008, Cap Maison was named Best Small Resort as voted by Conde Nast Johansens. It also enjoyed some small-screen fame as it was featured on the reality television show The Bachelor.
11. Saint Lucia’s Pitons mountain range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Pitons are situated close to Soufrière and comprise two volcanic necks, namely Gros Piton and Petit Piton. Gros Piton is also the second highest peak in Saint Lucia. Both mountains are considered tourist attractions.
12. One of its citizens, Arthur Lewis, was both a Nobel Prize-winner and a ground-breaking academic
Sir William Arthur Lewis, a Saint Lucian born citizen who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1979, was the first Black academic at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
13. Saint Lucia’s national anthem is called Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia
Written by Charles Desse with music by Leton Felix Thomas, Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia was first introduced in 1967. Following Saint Lucia’s independence in 1979, it became the country’s national anthem, an interesting fact about Saint Lucia.
Saint Lucia is a country rich in heritage and offers plenty of tourism opportunities. It is no surprise that this Caribbean Island remains popular among tourists and sees growth in tourism numbers each year as tourists flock to its sprawling beaches and many famous landmarks. In fact, Saint Lucia welcomed over a million overseas visitors to their shores in 2018.
This country is no doubt thriving and with its backdrop of mountains, miles upon miles of forestry and beautiful sprawling beaches it will without a doubt continue to persevere and grow as one of the most exciting islands in the Caribbean.
I hope that this article on Saint Lucia facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!