CAPITAL: Castries
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 619 Sq Km (239 Sq Mi)

Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: St. Lucia is an island located in the windward group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. The island is of volcanic origin with high lava ridges and craters. St. Lucia has a mountainous center reaching the country's highest point Mt. Gimie at 959 metres (3,146 feet). Tropical rain forests cover the interior and a number of small rivers flow from the central highlands with the principal ones being the Dennery, Fond, Piaye, Doree, Canaries, Roseau and Marquis Rivers. Major Cities (pop. est.); Castries 13,600 (1992). Land Use; forested 13%, pastures 5%, agricultural-cultivated 30%, other 52% (1993).

CLIMATE: St. Lucia has a tropical climate that is influenced by sea winds and the prevailing NE trade winds. The wet season is from June to September and the dry season from February to May. Average annual precipitation varies from 1,500 mm to 1,750 mm (59 to 68 inches) on the north and south coasts to 4,000 mm (157 inches) in the interior rain forest. The average temperature is 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) all year round.

PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Black Africans who account for around 87% of the population while only a few Caribs, the original inhabitants have survived. Other ethnic minorities include East Indians who account for 2.6% of the population while 1.3% are Whites. The remainder are of mixed descent.

DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 250 persons per sq km (647 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 46.4% urban, 53.6% rural (1990). Sex Distribution; 48.5% male, 51.5% female (1991). Life Expectancy at Birth; 68.6 years male, 74.4 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 37% under 15, 29% 15 to 29, 16% 30 to 44, 9% 45 to 59, 6% 60 to 74, 3% 75 and over (1991). Birth Rate; 26.5 per 1,000 (1992). Death Rate; 6.4 per 1,000 (1992). Increase Rate; 20.1 per 1,000 (1992). Infant Mortality Rate; 18.5 per 1,000 live births (1992).

RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with about 86% of the population Roman Catholic while 11% are Protestant.

LANGUAGES: The official language is English, although most of the population speak a French Patois.

EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling 17.5%, primary 74.4%, secondary 6.8%, higher 1.3% (1980). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over around 90% (1985).

MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1951 universal adult suffrage was introduced and self-government was granted with the West Indies Act in 1967. On Feb. 22, 1979 the country gained complete independence from Britain. The St. Lucia Labor Party (SLP) led by Allan Louisy won the elections held after independence and in May 1981 Prime Minister Louisy was forced to resign through defections of some SLP members including the Deputy Prime Minister. In Jan. 1982 the government collapsed amid strikes and demonstrations. In Apr. 1987 John Compton of the United Workers' Party (UWP) was elected Prime Minister. In May 1991 St. Lucia concluded a tax information exchange treaty with the US and qualified for funding through Puerto Rico's Caribbean Development Program. In Sept. 1991 the government deferred the introduction of the Caribbean Community's external tariff. In April 1992 the UWP and Prime Minister Compton were reelected following elections. In July 1992 despite calls for the removal of the SLP leader, Julian Hunte was reelected. In Aug. 1992 the government announced an "all-out-offensive" against drug traffickers. In March 1993 the government introduced heavier fines and longer prison terms in an attempt to stem money laundering and fraud by the organized drug trade. In May 1993 a new deep-water container terminal at Vieux Fort was opened and in June 1993 the Cunard La Toc 273-room hotel opened following US $20 million renovations that resulted in a 76% downturn in business for smaller operators. The government responded by appointing a committee to investigate the impact of all-inclusive style hotels on local operators.

CURRENCY: The official currency is the East Caribbean Dollar (ECD) divided into 100 Cents.

ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $480,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; USD $96,800,000 (1993). Imports; USD $300,300,000 (1993). Exports; USD $119,700,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $221,000,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; USD -$180,600,000 (1993). Economically Active Population; 57,797 or 41.8% of total population (1992). Unemployed; 25.0% (1994).

MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA and other CARICOM (Caribbean Community and Common Market) countries.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Bananas, Cocoa, Coconuts, Fruit, Spices, Timber, Vegetables.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Clothing, Electrical Components, Fishing, Food Processing, Rum Distilling, Tourism.

MAIN EXPORTS: Bananas, Cardboard Boxes, Clothing, Cocoa, Coconut Products.

TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 747 km (464 mi) (1986). Vehicles; cars 6,524 (1988), trucks and buses 2,061 (1988). Merchant Marine; vessels 7 (1990), deadweight tonnage 2,070 (1990). Air Transport; N/A.

COMMUNICATIONS: Weekly & Bi-Weekly Newspapers; total of 3 with a total circulation of N/A (1993). Radio; receivers 98,000 (1994). Television; receivers 25,000 (1994). Telephones; units 24,200 (1993).

MILITARY: 497 (1992) police with a paramilitary unit.

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