Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Island country, Windward Islands, in the eastern Caribbean Sea. It is composed of Saint Vincent island and the northern Grenadines. Area: 150.3 sq mi (389.3 sq km). Population: (2009 est.) 105,000. Capital: Kingstown. Most of the population is of African descent. Language: English (official). Religions: Christianity (mostly Protestant; also other Christians, Roman Catholic); also Hinduism, Islam. Currency: Eastern Caribbean dollar. The islands are composed of volcanic rock. Thickly wooded volcanic mountains run north-south and are cut by many swift streams. Soufrière (4,048 ft [1,234 m]), the highest of the mountains, has had devastating volcanic eruptions. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, and export crops include bananas and arrowroot. Tourism is also important. The country is a constitutional monarchy with one legislative house; its head of state is the British monarch, represented by the governor-general, and the head of government is the prime minister. The French and the British contested for control of Saint Vincent until 1763, when it was ceded to England by the Treaty of Paris. The original inhabitants, the Caribs, recognized British sovereignty but revolted in 1795. Most of the Caribs were deported; many who remained were killed in volcanic eruptions in 1812 and 1902. In 1969 Saint Vincent became a self-governing state in association with the United Kingdom, and in 1979 it achieved full independence.
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