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Saint Lucia

Coat of arms of Saint Lucia
Coat of arms
Motto: "The Land, The People, The Light"
Location of  Saint Lucia  (circled in red)in the Caribbean
Location of  Saint Lucia  (circled in red)

in the Caribbean

and largest city
13°53′00″N 60°58′00″W / 13.88333°N 60.96667°W / 13.88333; -60.96667
Official languages English
Saint Lucian Creole
Ethnic groups
  • 85.3% Black (African)
  • 10.9% Mixed
  • 2.2% Indian
  • 1.6% Other/Unspecified
Demonym(s) Saint Lucian
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Charles III
Errol Charles (acting)
• Prime Minister
Philip J. Pierre
Legislature Parliament
House of Assembly
• Associated State
1 March 1967
• Independence from the United Kingdom
22 February 1979
• Total
617 km2 (238 sq mi) (178th)
• Water (%)
• 2022 estimate
Neutral increase 184,961 (189th)
• 2010 census
• Density
299.4/km2 (775.4/sq mi) (29th)
GDP (PPP) 2020 estimate
• Total
Decrease $2.480 billion
• Per capita
Decrease $13,708
GDP (nominal) 2020 estimate
• Total
Decrease $1.77 billion
• Per capita
Decrease $9,780
Gini (2016) 51.2
HDI (2021) Decrease 0.715
high · 106th
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Time zone UTC−4 (AST)
Driving side left
Calling code +1 758
ISO 3166 code LC
Internet TLD .lc

Saint Lucia ( French: Sainte-Lucie) is an island country in the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. The island was previously called Iyonola, the name given to the island by the native Arawaks, and later Hewanorra, the name given by the native Caribs, two separate Amerindian peoples. Part of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 617 km2 (238 square miles) and reported a population of 165,595 in the 2010 census. St. Lucia's largest city is Castries, its current capital, and its second largest is Soufrière, the first French colonial capital on the island.

The French were the first Europeans to settle on the island. They signed a treaty with the native Island Caribs in 1660. England took control of the island from 1663 to 1667. In ensuing years, it was at war with France 14 times, and the rule of the island changed frequently. In 1814, the British took control of the island. Because it switched so often between British and French control, Saint Lucia was also known as the "Helen of the West" after the Greek mythological character, Helen of Troy.

Representative government came about in 1840. Universal suffrage was established in 1953. From 1958 to 1962, the island was a member of the West Indies Federation. On 22 February 1979, Saint Lucia became an independent state and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations as a Commonwealth realm. Saint Lucia is a mixed jurisdiction, meaning that it has a legal system based in part on both the civil law and English common law. The Civil Code of St. Lucia of 1867 was based on the Quebec Civil Code of 1866, as supplemented by English common law-style legislation. It is also a member of Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.


Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse (AD 283 – 304). Saint Lucia and Ireland are the only two sovereign states in the world named after a woman (Ireland is named after the Celtic goddess of fertility Eire). However, Saint Lucia is the only one named after an actual female historical figure. Legend states that French sailors were shipwrecked on the island on 13 December, the feast day of St. Lucy, and therefore named the island in her honour.


View of Soufrière

The volcanic island of Saint Lucia is more mountainous than many other Caribbean islands. The highest point is 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 between Soufrière and Choiseul on the western side of the island. Saint Lucia is also one of the few islands in the world that has a drive-in volcano. It is also famous for clear seas and sandy beaches.

The capital city of Saint Lucia is Castries. Over one third of all the people live in the capital. Major towns include Gros Islet, Soufrière and Vieux Fort.

The local climate is tropical. They have northeast trade winds. There is a dry season from December 1 to May 31, and a wet season from June 1 to November 30.


The Windward Islands cricket team includes players from Saint Lucia. They play in the West Indies regional tournament. Darren Sammy is the first Saint Lucian to represent the West Indies. He is the current captain.


Tourism is important to Saint Lucia's economy. There are more tourists during the dry season (January to April). Saint Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and its many beaches and resorts.

Other tourist attractions include a drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs, the Botanical Gardens, the Majestic twin Peaks "The Pitons", a world heritage site, the rain forests, and Pigeon Island National Park.

Most tourists visit Saint Lucia as part of a cruise. Most of their time tends to be spent in Castries, although Soufriere, Marigot Bay and Gros Islet are popular locations to visit.


The local climate is tropical, specifically a tropical rainforest climate (Af) under the Köppen climate classification, moderated by northeast trade winds, with a dry season from 1 December to 31 May, and a wet season from 1 June to 30 November (referred to by locals as the hurricane season).

Average daytime temperatures are around 30 °C (86.0 °F), and average nighttime temperatures are around 24 °C (75.2 °F). Since it is fairly close to the equator, the temperature does not fluctuate much between winter and summer. Average annual rainfall ranges from 1,300 mm (51.2 in) on the coast to 3,810 mm (150 in) in the mountain rainforests.

Climate data for St Lucia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29
Daily mean °C (°F) 26
Average low °C (°F) 23
Precipitation mm (inches) 125
Avg. precipitation days 14 9 10 10 11 15 18 16 17 20 18 16 174
Sunshine hours 248 226 248 240 248 240 248 248 240 217 240 248 2,891

Flora and fauna

Saint Lucia contains five terrestrial ecoregions: Windward Islands moist forests, Leeward Islands dry forests, Windward Islands dry forests, Windward Islands xeric scrub, and Lesser Antilles mangroves. It had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 6.17/10, ranking it 84th globally out of 172 countries.

A species of lizard, Anolis luciae, is named for and is endemic to Saint Lucia, as is Boa orophias (the San Lucia boa), a species of boid snake.


USGS Saint Lucia geologic map
Saint Lucia geologic map, where Tmov denotes Miocene/Oligocene volcanic rocks, Tplv are Pliocene calc-alkaline volcanic rocks, and Qv are Quaternary volcanic edifices, flows, and pyroclastic deposits
Qualibou Caldera tomography
Topography of the Soufriere Volcanic Complex

The geology of St. Lucia can be described as composing three main areas. The oldest, 16–18 Ma, volcanic rocks are exposed from Castries northward and consist of eroded basalt and andesite centres. The middle, central highlands, portion of the island consists of dissected andesite centres, 10.4 to 1 Mya, while the lower southwest portion of the island contains recent activity from the Soufriere Volcanic Centre (SVC). This SVC, centred about the Qualibou depression, contains pyroclastic flow deposits, lava flows, domes, block and ash flow deposits, and explosion craters. This depression's perimeter includes the town of Soufriere, Mount Tabac, Mt. Gimie, Morne Bonin, and Gros Piton. At 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) in diameter, though the western portion is open towards the Grenada basin, the depression formed as recently as 100 kya. The depression is noted for its geothermal activity, especially at Sulphur Springs and Soufrière Estates, a phreatic eruption in 1776, and recent seismic activity (2000–2001).

Eroded andesitic stratovolcanoes to the north east of the depression include Mt. Gimie, Piton St Esprit, and Mt. Grand Magazin, all greater than 1 Ma in age. Andesitic and dacite pyroclastic flows from these volcanoes are found at Morne Tabac dome (532 ka), Morne Bonin dome (273 kya), and Bellevue (264 kya). Avalanche deposits from the formation of the Qualibou depression are found offshore, and in the massive blocks of Rabot, Pleisance, and Coubaril. The dacitic domes of Petit Piton (109 kya) and Gros Piton (71 kya) were then extruded onto the depression floor accompanied by the Anse John (104 kya) and La Pointe (59.8 kya) pyroclastic flows. Later, pyroclastic flows include pumice-rich Belfond and Anse Noir (20 kya). Finally, the dacitic domes of Terre Blanche (15.3 kya) and Belfond (13.6 kya) formed within the depression.


Philip J Pierre Christmas 2020 (cropped)
Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre

Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth realm. Charles III is the King of St. Lucia, represented on the island by a governor-general. The prime minister is normally the head of the party commanding the support of the majority of the members of the House of Assembly, which has 17 seats. The other chamber of Parliament, the Senate, has eleven appointed members.

Saint Lucia is a two-party parliamentary democracy. Three political parties participated in the 2021 general election. The Labour Party, led by Philip J. Pierre, won thirteen of the seventeen seats.

Foreign relations

Visita Oficial del Primer Ministro de Santa Lucía, Allen Chastanet 69
Prime Minister Chastanet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in 2017

Saint Lucia maintains friendly relations with the major powers active in the Caribbean, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France.

Saint Lucia is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and La Francophonie. Saint Lucia is a Commonwealth Realm.

Saint Lucia became the 152nd member of the United Nations on 9 December 1979. As of January 2018, Cosmos Richardson, who presented his credentials on 22 February 2017, was Saint Lucia's representative to the United Nations.


Saint Lucia Product Exports (2019)
A proportional representation of Saint Lucia exports, 2019
Saint Lucia electricity production
Saint Lucia electricity production by source

The United Nations categorizes Saint Lucia as a Small Island Developing State, a designation similar to a developing country with a few substantial differences due to Saint Lucia's island nature. The services sector accounted for 82.8% of GDP, followed by industry and agriculture at 14.2% and 2.9%, respectively.

An educated workforce and improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities have attracted foreign investment in tourism and in petroleum storage and transshipment. However, with the US, Canada, and Europe in recession, tourism declined by double digits in early 2009. The recent change in the European Union import preference regime and the increased competition from Latin American bananas have made economic diversification increasingly important in Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, which is Saint Lucia's main source of revenue. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalise the banana industry. Despite negative growth in 2011, economic fundamentals remain solid, and GDP growth should recover in the future.

Inflation has been relatively low, averaging 5.5 percent between 2006 and 2008. Saint Lucia's currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$), a regional currency shared among members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECU). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCL) issues the EC$, manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in member countries. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy, including elimination of price controls and privatization of the state banana company.


At the top of Pigeon Island
Gros Islet and Rodney Bay, as seen from Pigeon Island

Tourism is vital to Saint Lucia's economy. Its economic importance is expected to continue to increase as the market for bananas have become more competitive. Tourism tends to be more substantial during the dry season (January to April), often referred to as the tourist season. Saint Lucia tends to be popular due to its tropical weather and scenery and its beaches and resorts.

Other tourist attractions include a "drive-in" volcano where one can drive within a few hundred feet of the gurgling, steaming mass, Sulphur Springs (in Soufrière), zip lining at Sault Falls, Dennery, the Botanical Gardens, the majestic twin peaks "The Pitons", a world heritage site, the rain forests, several options of boat trips, Frigate Island Nature Reserve (operated by the Saint Lucia National Trust), Dennery, and Pigeon Island National Park, which is home to Fort Rodney, an old British military base.

The majority of tourists visit Saint Lucia as part of a cruise. Most of their time tends to be spent in Castries, although Soufriere, Marigot Bay, Rodney Bay and Gros Islet are also tourist destinations.

The current Minister of Tourism is Ernest Hilaire, who has been in the role since 2021.

Food and produce

Saint Lucia main export foods include bananas, cocoa, avocados, mangoes and coconut oil.

The island is looking to expand its exports under the Taste of Saint Lucia brand sponsored by Export Saint Lucia. Products that are being promoted include Saint Lucia Honey, rum, chocolate, coconut oil, granola, and insect repellent.


Rank District Population
1 Castries 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".60,263
2 Gros Islet 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".22,647
3 Vieux Fort 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".14,632
4 Micoud 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".14,480
5 Dennery 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".11,874
6 Soufrière 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".7,747
7 Laborie 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".6,507
8 Anse la Raye 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".6,033
9 Choiseul 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".5,766
10 Canaries 0Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ","..Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character ",".1,915

Saint Lucia reported a population of 165,595 in 58 920 households in the 2010 national census. In 2018, the United Nations Population Division estimated Saint Lucia's population at 181,889. The country's population lives predominantly in rural areas, and more than a third live in the District of Castries.

Saint Lucia has the lowest fertility rate in the Caribbean and one of the lowest in the world at 1.4 children per woman. Immigration to the country is slightly higher than emigration. Emigration from Saint Lucia is primarily to Anglophone countries, with the United Kingdom having almost 10,000 Saint Lucian-born citizens, and over 30,000 of Saint Lucian heritage. The second most popular destination for Saint Lucian emigrants is the United States, where a combined (foreign and national-born Saint Lucians) almost 14,000 reside. Canada is home to a few thousand Saint Lucians. Most immigrants to the country are also from these same three countries.


Saint Lucia has 11 quarters, or parishes of the island.

  1. Anse la Raye
  2. Castries
  3. Choiseul
  4. Dauphin
  5. Dennery
  6. Gros Islet
  7. Laborie
  8. Micoud
  9. Praslin
  10. Soufrière
  11. Vieux Fort


The cities in Saint Lucia are:

Ethnic groups

As of the 2010 census, Saint Lucia's population is predominantly of African and Mixed, at 96.13% (85.28% black, 10.85% Mixed)

Other groups include Indo-Caribbean persons (2.16%) and white St. Lucians at 0.61%. Other and unspecified groups account for 1.1% of the population.


The official language is English. Saint Lucian French Creole (Kwéyòl), which is colloquially referred to as Patois ("Patwa"), is spoken by 95% of the population. This Antillean Creole is used in literature and music, and is gaining official acknowledgement. As it developed during the early period of French colonisation, the creole is derived chiefly from the French and West African languages, with some vocabulary from the Island Carib language and other sources. Antillean Creole is also spoken in Dominica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and (to a lesser extent) St. Vincent and Grenada; it also resembles the creoles spoken in French Guiana, Haiti, Mauritius and the Seychelles. Saint Lucia is a member of La Francophonie.


Circle frame-1.svg

Religion in Saint Lucia (2010)      Christianity (90.4%)     Rastafarian (1.9%)     None (5.9%)     Unspecified (1.4%)     Other (0.4%)

Christianity is the main religion in Saint Lucia. About 61.5% of the population is Roman Catholic. Another 25.5% belong to Protestant denominations, (includes Seventh Day Adventist 10.4%, Pentecostal 8.9%, Baptist 2.2%, Anglican 1.6%, Church of God 1.5%, other Protestant 0.9%). Evangelicals comprise 2.3% of the population and 1.1% are Jehovah's Witnesses. In addition, about 1.9% of the population adheres to the Rastafari movement. Other religions include Hinduism, Bahá'í Faith, Judaism, and Buddhism.


The culture of Saint Lucia has been influenced by African, East Indian, French, and English heritage. One of the secondary languages is Saint Lucian French Creole or Kwéyòl, spoken by almost all of the population.

Saint Lucia boasts the highest ratio of Nobel laureates produced with respect to the total population of any sovereign country in the world. Two winners have come from Saint Lucia: Sir Arthur Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1979, and the poet Derek Walcott received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.


Saint Lucian cultural festivals include La Rose celebrated on 30 August and La Marguerite on 17 October, the first representing a native Saint Lucian fraternal society known as the Order of the Rose that is fashioned in the mould of Rosicrucianism, and the second representing its traditional rival, the native Saint Lucian equivalent of Freemasonry known as the Order of the Marguerite. References to their origins as versions of pre-existing external secret societies can be seen in a mural painted by Dunstan St Omer, depicting the holy trinity of Osiris, Horus, and Isis.

The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival in Castries

The biggest festival of the year is the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival. Held in early May at multiple venues throughout the island, it draws visitors and musicians from around the world. The grand finale or main stage is held at Pigeon Island, which is located to the north of the island.

Traditionally, like other Caribbean countries, Saint Lucia holds a carnival before Lent. In 1999, the government moved Carnival to mid-July to avoid competing with the much larger Trinidad and Tobago carnival and so as to attract more overseas visitors.

In May 2009, Saint Lucians commemorated the 150th anniversary of West Indian Heritage on the island.


Beausejour Stadium Cricket St Lucia
Daren Sammy Cricket Ground hosts international cricket matches for the West Indies.

The Windward Islands cricket team includes players from Saint Lucia and plays in the West Indies regional tournament. Daren Sammy became the first Saint Lucian to represent the West Indies on his debut in 2007, and since 2010 has captained the side. In an international career spanning 2003 to 2008, and including 41 ODIs and one Test, Nadine George MBE became the first woman to score a Test century for the team. Sammy and George were recognised by the Saint Lucian government as Sportsman of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year respectively for 2004.

For sailing enthusiasts, the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) race begins in the Canary Islands and ends in Saint Lucia. The year 2015 marked the ARC's 30th year of existence. Every November, the race attracts over 200 boats and 1,200 people to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.

In 2019 a new horse racing industry was launched under the administration of the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club. The inaugural race day was held on Saint Lucia's National Day. The feature race was the Pitons Cup.

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