Saint Lucia History

Saint Lucia History


The island of Saint Lucia was probably around the 2nd century AD. settled by Aruak Indians, who were displaced by members of the Caribe tribe from around the 8th century. They called the island “Iouanalao”, which means “island of the iguanas”.

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Struggle for supremacy

It is not certain that Christopher Columbus discovered the island on his fourth “West Indies” trip in 1502. After the day of discovery, December 13th / day of Saint Lucia, the island is said to have received its name. It is undisputed, however, that the belligerent Caribbean initially successfully prevented colonization by the British (1603, 1639). It was not until 1640 that the first Dutch settlements were founded, followed by the French around ten years later. One of them, Marshal Charles Eug¨¨ne Gabriel de La Croix Castries, gave today’s capital, founded in 1779, its name.

From 1660, a struggle for supremacy over the islands in the eastern Caribbean flared up between the two major European powers, France and Great Britain. Until the 19th century both countries changed as the dominant power on the island until Great Britain was able to prevail. According to AbbreviationFinder, the island of Saint Lucia was awarded to Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris in 1814. In 1838 it was incorporated into the British colony of the Windward Islands (until 1958).

At that time, extensive sugar cane plantations had been cultivated on the island with the help of imported black slaves. When slavery was banned in the British colonies in 1834/35, Indian contract workers came to the island. At that time, an estimated 2,300 whites and 15,000 blacks lived on the island.

Independent state

During the Second World War, a U.S. naval base was temporarily established on Saint Lucia. In the course of decolonization, Great Britain introduced universal suffrage on the island in 1951. In 1958, the island became a member of the West Indian Federation founded by Great Britain, which only existed until 1962. The island was gradually released into independence: in 1960 it received limited internal autonomy, in 1967 full internal independence. In February 1979, Saint Lucia was released as a parliamentary monarchy under the British Commonwealth of Nations. The British monarch, who was represented on the island by a governor general, thus remained the head of state.

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Political life on the island is dominated by two parties: the left-wing “Saint Lucia Labor Party” (SLP) and the conservative “United Workers Party” (UWP). The latter provided John Compton from 1964 to 1979, again 1982 to 1996 and 2006 until his death in 2007, the country’s head of government. Compton’s successor to the UWP was Stephenson King. After five years in opposition, the SLP returned to government under Prime Minister Kenny Anthony in November 2011.

Saint Lucia President