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Island country, Windward Islands, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. Area: 238 sq mi (617 sq km). Population: (2009 est.) 178,000. Capital: Castries. Most of the population is of African descent. Languages: English (official), French patois. Religions: Christianity (Roman Catholic, Protestant); also Rastafarianism. Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar. Saint Lucia is of volcanic origin; within the Qualibou Caldera is Sulphur Springs, which continues to emit steam and gases and is a prime tourist attraction. Wooded mountains run north-south, culminating in Mount Gimie (3,145 ft [958.6 m]). The economy is based on agriculture and tourism. Saint Lucia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliament of two legislative houses; its head of state is the British monarch, represented by the governor-general, and the head of government is the prime minister. Caribs replaced early Arawak inhabitants c. 800–1300. Settled by the French in 1650, Saint Lucia was ceded to Great Britain in 1814 and became one of the Windward Islands in 1871. It became fully independent in 1979.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Saint Lucia, visit Britannica.com.