Christopher Columbus has traditionally been given credit for discovering St Lucia in 1502 but some relatively
new theories challenge this view. According to one, Juan de la Cosa, a lieutenant under Columbus,
discovered the island in 1499. Another version attributed the find to a group of ship wrenched French sailors
who allegedly landed here on December 13, 1503, the feast say of St Lucia. And, an incongruous fact is the
appearance of the island of St Lucia on a Vatican globe dated 1502.
During the next 300 years, St Lucia was alternately occupied by British and French forces as they battled on
land and sea for control of the West Indies. St Lucia posses some of the finest natural harbours in the
Caribbean, and is centrally located within easy reach of the rest of the region and North America. As a result
of this strategic location, the French and British fought endlessly for possession of the island. In 1802, the
Treaty of Paris established France’s sovereignty over the island, but the following year, the two nations were
again at war.
St Lucia changed hands fourteen times between the two colonial powers. A tug-of-war that inspired one
British historian to give St Lucia the sobriquet “Helen of the West Indies” comparing the island to Helen of
Troy. The 1814 treaty of Paris ceded St Lucia to British, and the island remained a British possession until
1967, when it became a self- governing associate state of Great Britain. In February 1979, St Lucia became
an independent nation with British Commonwealth.
The Capital of St Lucia is Castries.
St Lucia lies roughly between 61° and 60° west longitude and 13° and 14° north latitude. It is approximately
1,300 miles southeast of Florida.
St Lucia is part of the Windward Island chains, a sub group of islands within the West Indies. Its nearest
neighbours are Martinique, a French department; 24 miles north of St Vincent and 100 miles northwest of
St Lucia measures approximately 14 miles east and west, and 27 miles north and south; approximately 238
Approximately 176,000 people live on the island of St Lucia and approximately 50, 000 live in Castries.
English is the official language of St Lucia but many inlanders speak French- Creole patios.
East Caribbean dollars is the currency used however US dollars, credit cards and traveler’s cheques are
St Lucia lies in the Atlantic Standard Time zone- four hours behind Europe, five during daylight saving time.
It is one hour ahead of North American Eastern Standard Time, except in the summer months when the
time zones are identical.
Art and aesthetics is very important to the culture of St Lucia. The island’s best known products are the
unique hand- silk- screened and hand-printed fabrics and fashions created by local craftsmen.
The climate is tropical, with temperatures ranging from the mid seventies to mid eighties. (25 to 30 Celsius).
During the hottest time of the year, from June to August, temperatures can reach the mid-nineties (32
Celsius). Things are kept cool, however, by the constant trade winds. Average rainfall ranges from 60 inches
in the coastal regions to 160 inches in the interior rain forests. The rainy season is from June to November.