Saint Vincent and the Grenadines facts

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Pax et justitia  (Latin)
"Peace and justice"
Anthem: "Saint Vincent Land so Beautiful"
Capital
and largest city
Kingstown
Official languages English
Ethnic groups 66% Black, 19% Mixed, 6.0% East Indian, 4.0% European, 2.0% Carib Amerindian, 3.0% others
Demonym Vincentian
Government Parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
 -  Monarch Elizabeth II
 -  Governor-General Sir Frederick Ballantyne
 -  Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves
Independence
 -  from the United Kingdom 27 October 1979 
Area
 -  Total 389 km2 (204th)
150 sq mi
 -  Water (%) negligible
Population
 -  2013 estimate 103,220 (195th)
 -  Density 265/km2 (39th)
686.3/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $1.259 billion
 -  Per capita $11,700
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $695 million
 -  Per capita $5,291
HDI (2007) Increase 0.772
high · 91st
Currency East Caribbean dollar (XCD)
Time zone (UTC-4)
Drives on the left
Calling code +1-784
Internet TLD .vc

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea. It is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and CARICOM.

The country speaks English as its official language. The capital, and its main port, is Kingstown.

Its national bird is the Saint Vincent Amazon, an endemic bird of the Saint Vincent island.

Politics

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. The Queen does not live in the islands but she is represented in the country by the Governor-General, currently Sir Frederick Ballantyne.

Control of the government rests with the elected prime minister and his or her cabinet. The current Prime Minister is Ralph Gonsalves.

The country has no formal armed forces, although the police has a Special Service Unit that has a supporting role on the island.

The Parliament is unicameral is formed only by the House of Assembly with 21 seats: 15 representatives elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms and 6 appointed senators. The last elections were held on 13 December 2010 and the next will be held in 2015.

History

The island now known as Saint Vincent was originally named Youloumain by the native Caribs. The Caribs inhabited Saint Vincent before the Europeans arrived, and it is possible still to find Carib artifacts in the island.

Christopher Columbus explored in 1498 the main island on Saint Vincent's Day. The Caribs did not allowed Europeans to settle in Saint Vincent until 1719 when some French people came from Martinique and began to grow coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton and sugar cane with the help of African slaves.

In 1763 by the Treaty of Paris, France gave control of Saint Vincent to Britain; France took the island again in 1779, but the British then regained Saint Vincent under the Treaty of Versailles (1783).

In 1834 slavery was abolished and people from the portuguese island of Madeira and from India came to work as agricultural workers.

In 1871 the group of islands became part of the Windward Islands Colony and in 1956 a member of the Federation of the Windward Islands. In 1958 Saint Vincent joined the Federation of the West Indies and in 1969 it got full internal self government. Finally in 1979 it became an Independent Sovereign State within the Commonwealt.

Population

Demographics

The estimated population in 2003 was 103,220. The population density is 265 persons per square kilometre.

The ethnic composition was 66% Black, 19% Mixed, 6.0% East Indian, 4.0% European (mainly Portuguese), 2.0% Carib Amerindian, 3.0% others.

Language

The official language of the islands is English but most people use the Vicentian Creole English.

Religion

The people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was 75% Protestant (47% Anglicans, 28% Methodists), 13% Catholics, 12% other (Hindu, Seventh-Day Adventists, other Protestant).

Geography

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a group of islands of the Caribbean Sea. It lies to the west of Barbados, south of Saint Lucia and north of Grenada in the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.

There are 32 islands and cays, including the main island of Saint Vincent (344 km2 or 133 sq mi*) and the northern two-thirds of the Grenadines (45 km2 or 17 sq mi*), which are a chain of small islands stretching south from Saint Vincent to Grenada. The largest and most populated Grenadines islands are Bequia, Mustique, Canouan and Union Island.

The main island of Saint Vincent, at , is 18 km (11 mi) long and 11 km (6.8 mi) wide, and has an area of 344 km2 (133 sq mi), or about 88% of the total country area, 19 times that of the country's second largest island Bequia. It is dominated by the highest mountain in the country and an active volcano, La Soufrière (1,234 m (4,049 ft)), which erupted violently in 1812 and 1902. The most recent eruption was on April 13, 1979. The island has many mountains and forests. The island is tropical humid, with an average of between 18 and 31 °C depending on the altitude.

The Saint Vincent Passage is between the Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent islands, and the Bequia Channel is between the Grenadines and Saint Vincent islands.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines-CIA WFB Map
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The Grenadines islands lie between the islands of Saint Vincent in the north and Grenada in the south. Neither Saint Vincent nor Grenada are Grenadine islands. The islands north of the Martinique Channel belong to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the islands south of the channel belong to Grenada.

Islands

These islands make up the Grenadines Parish

  • Bequia, at , is the largest of the Grenadines. The capital of the Grenadines parish, Port Elizabeth , is here.
  • Petit Nevis
  • Isle à Quatre
  • Bettowia
  • Baliceaux
  • Mustique
  • Petit Mustique
  • Savan
  • Petit Canouan
  • Canouan
  • Mayreau
  • Tobago Cays
  • Union Island
  • Petit Saint Vincent
  • Palm Island

Administrative divisions

Administratively, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is divided into six parishes. Five parishes are on Saint Vincent, while the sixth is made up of the Grenadine islands. Kingstown is located in the Parish of Saint George and is the capital city and central administrative centre of the country.

  • 5 parishes on Saint Vincent:
    • Charlotte - 149 km² (capital: Georgetown)
    • Saint George - 52 km² (capital: Kingstown)
    • Saint Andrew - 29 km² (capital: Layou)
    • Saint Patrick - 37 km² (capital: Barrouallie)
    • Saint David - 80 km² (capital: Chateaubelair)
  • 1 parish made up of the Grenadine islands:
    • Grenadines - 43 km² (capital: Port Elizabeth on the Bequia island)

Climate

Tropical rainforest climate is a type of tropical climate in which there is no dry season - all months have mean precipitation values of at least 60 mm (2.36 in). Tropical rainforest climates have no pronounced summer or winter; it is typically hot and wet throughout the year and rainfall is both heavy and frequent.

The Köppen climate classification subtype for this climate is Af (Tropical Rainforest Climate).

The average yearly temperature is 27 °C (81 °F). The coolest months are between November and February. During the rainy season, May through October, rain is frequent in the mountains of St. Vincent with the annual average rainfall being 380 cm (150 in) away from the coast and 200 cm (79 in) on the coast.

Climate data for Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) 24.6
(76.3)
24.0
(75.2)
23.9
(75)
24.4
(75.9)
25.0
(77)
25.8
(78.4)
26.0
(78.8)
26.0
(78.8)
26.2
(79.2)
26.2
(79.2)
26.0
(78.8)
25.4
(77.7)
25.29
(77.53)
Rainfall mm (inches) 135
(5.31)
103
(4.06)
72
(2.83)
71
(2.8)
79
(3.11)
150
(5.91)
183
(7.2)
232
(9.13)
232
(9.13)
242
(9.53)
216
(8.5)
214
(8.43)
1,929
(75.94)
Source: Weatherbase.com [1]

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