Saint Lucia is a Caribbean island state with a well-developed tourist industry. It was settled by Arawaks and Caribs, and was later colonized by the French and British for sugar cultivation. It gained independence in 1970 and offers attractions such as beaches, snorkeling, and the Saint Lucian Botanical Gardens. It is accessible by flights and cruise ships.
Saint Lucia is an island state in the Caribbean, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. it covers 240 square miles (620 square km), making it about one-quarter the size of the state of Rhode Island.
St. Lucia was first settled by the Arawaks in the 2nd century. Starting from the 8th century, Caribs began to appear on the island, eventually displacing the Arawaks and developing their own fairly developed settlements there.
At the end of the 15th century, the Spanish were the first Europeans to discover Santa Lucia. In the mid-16th century a French pirate frequented the island as a staging post during his raids by European merchant ships. In the early 17th century there was interest from a number of European powers to establish outposts on the island, and the British, French and Dutch tried. Their new outposts met substantial resistance from the Caribs, who would raid the new settlements and drive out the settlers. After a series of false starts, the French and British both gave up trying to settle the island, and instead traded it back and forth for decades as a mostly empty island.
By the 18th century the island had been mostly subdued, and in the latter part of the century the British and French had taken a renewed interest in St Lucia as a potential site for sugar cultivation. The French declared the abolition of slavery following the French Revolution and the British soon invaded again, eventually gaining undisputed control of the island in the early 19th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Santa Lucia began to move towards autonomy and independence. In 1924, the island formed a Constitution and universal suffrage was established. St. Lucia was part of the West Indies Federation in the late 1951s, until the collapse of the federation. From the late 1950s until the 1960s Saint Lucia was an associated state of the United Kingdom, giving it complete autonomy over all domestic politics. This helped prepare the country for independence, which was achieved in 1970, as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations with Queen Elizabeth II as monarch.
Saint Lucia has a fairly well developed tourist infrastructure and is a popular destination in the Caribbean. Beaches, snorkeling and diving are the main attractions for most tourists, as in most Caribbean nations, but there are other notable attractions as well. The Saint Lucian Botanical Gardens offer a great immersion in Caribbean flora, and Pigeon Island National Park is a beautifully preserved region that includes the remains of a former British military base.
Flights from other Caribbean nations arrive regularly in Castries, with some flying direct from a handful of US cities. Cruise ships also make regular calls to St. Lucia, and yachting from nearby islands makes for a fun and beautiful trip.