Area: 617 sq km
Languages: English, St Lucian Creole
Life expectancy: 71 years (men) 77 years (women)
Saint Lucia is a fertile island country in the Caribbean Sea. Its closest neighbours are the islands of Martinique, to the north, and Saint Vincent, to the south-west. It was formed by volcanic activity. Its geographic features include a central ridge of mountains, many rivers and boiling sulphur springs. It is surrounded by sandy beaches.
1501 - St Lucia sighted by Christopher Columbus.
1635 - The French establish a colony on St Lucia.
1660 - The French sign a treaty with the indigenous Carib people.
1814 - France cedes St Lucia to Britain following the Treaty of Paris;
Britain proclaims the island a crown colony and brings in African slaves to work on the sugar cane plantations.
1834 - Slavery abolished.
1967 - St Lucia becomes fully self-governing in internal affairs, with Britain remaining in charge of external matters and defence.
1979 - St Lucia becomes independent.
1992 - Derek Walcott, a native of the capital, Castries, wins the Nobel Prize for literature.
2002 - Tropical Storm Lili destroys about half of the banana crop. In some places entire plantations are wiped out.
2003 - Parliament amends constitution to replace oath of allegiance to British monarch with pledge of loyalty to St Lucians.
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