Saint Lucia Travel Information

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Pitons Management Area

Facts About Saint Lucia

Background: The island, with its fine natural harbor at Castries, was contested between England and France throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries (changing possession 14 times); it was finally ceded to the UK in 1814. Self-government was granted in 1967 and independence in 1979.
Government type: Westminster-style parliamentary democracy
Capital: Castries
Currency: 1 East Caribbean dollar (XCD) = 100 cents

Geography of Saint Lucia

Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, north of Trinidad and Tobago
Geographic coordinates: 13 53 N, 60 68 W
Area:
total: 620 sq km
land: 610 sq km
water: 10 sq km
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 158 km
Maritime claims: 200 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical, moderated by northeast trade winds; dry season from January to April, rainy season from May to August
Terrain: volcanic and mountainous with some broad, fertile valleys
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Gimie 950 m
Natural resources: forests, sandy beaches, minerals (pumice), mineral springs, geothermal potential
Land use:
arable land: 8%
permanent crops: 21%
permanent pastures: 5%
forests and woodland: 13%
other: 53% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: hurricanes and volcanic activity
Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion, particularly in the northern region
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
Geography - note: the twin Pitons (Gros Piton and Petit Piton), striking cone-shaped peaks south of Soufriere, are one of the scenic natural highlights of the Caribbean.

People of Saint Lucia

St. Lucia's population is predominantly of African and mixed African-European descent, with small East Indian and European minorities. English is the official language, although many St. Lucians speak a French patois. Ninety percent of the population is Roman Catholic, a further reflection of early French influence on the island. The population of just over 147,000 is evenly divided between urban and rural areas, although the capital, Castries, contains more than one-third of the population. Despite a high emigration rate, the population is growing rapidly, about 1.6% per year.

Population: 166,312 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  32.13% 
15-64 years:  62.59% 
65 years and over:  5.28%
Population growth rate: 1.23% 
Birth rate: 21.8 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.36 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -4.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 15.22 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  72.57 years
male:  69 years
female:  76.39 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.38 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Saint Lucian(s)
adjective: Saint Lucian
Ethnic groups: black 90%, mixed 6%, East Indian 3%, white 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic 90%, Protestant 7%, Anglican 3%
Languages: English (official), French patois
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 67%
male: 65%
female: 69% (1980 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Saint Lucia > Map Economy History