25 interesting facts about Saint Lucia

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The most interesting facts about Saint Lucia, from the world’s only drive-in volcano to the sole country named specifically after a woman.

Interesting facts about Saint Lucia include the spectacular Pitons
Interesting facts about Saint Lucia include the spectacular Pitons (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: Saint Lucia
Population: 166,637
Area: 616 sq km
Capital city: Castries
Major languages: English, French patois
Major religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant
Time zone: UTC-4 (Atlantic Standard Time)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

Interesting facts about Saint Lucia

1. Saint Lucia is an island nation located in the West Indies of the Caribbean.
– Source: Britannica

2. Archaeological evidence found on the island suggests that Saint Lucia has been inhabited since between 1000 BC and 500 BC when the Arawak people first settled the island.
– Source: Lonely Planet

3. Saint Lucia was first sighted by Europeans in 1501 when Christopher Columbus spotted the island.
– Source: BBC News

Map of Saint Lucia
Map of Saint Lucia (CC:3.0)

4. Saint Lucia was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse by French sailors who, in 1502, were shipwrecked on the island on St. Lucy’s Day – 13th December.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

5. Saint Lucia is the world’s only country named specifically after a woman.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

6. Saint Lucia was previously named, Iyonola by the Arawaks and Hewanorra by the Caribs. Both mean “island of the iguanas”.
– Source: National Geographic

Green iguanas can be found in Saint Lucia
Green iguanas can be found in Saint Lucia (Shutterstock)

7. During 150 years of conflict throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries, Britain and France repeatedly fought for possession of Saint Lucia. The island changed ownership 14 times in total.
– Source: Lonely Planet

8. In 1814, Saint Lucia was finally ceded to the UK and became part of the British Windward Islands colony.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

9. Tourism is the main source of income for Saint Lucia and the industry is its biggest employer.
– Source: BBC News

A luxury resort in Saint Lucia
A luxury resort in Saint Lucia (Shutterstock)

10. Before the tourism boom, banana exports sustained Saint Lucia, especially after 1964 when it stopped producing sugar cane. However, following a 1993 fall in the price of bananas, the industry saw a significant downturn.
– Source: BBC News

11. At just 43km (27mi) long and with a maximum width of 23km (14mi), Saint Lucia is one of the smallest nations in the world.
– Source: World Bank

12. Saint Lucia’s flag is blue, representing the Caribbean Sea. In the centre is a distinctive emblem that includes white and black to indicate harmony between the communities living in Saint Lucia. The yellow triangle represents sunshine and the black triangle represents the volcanic cones known as the Pitons.
– Source: Britannica

Flag of Saint Lucia
Flag of Saint Lucia (Shutterstock)

13. In 1967, Saint Lucia became self-governing and then in 1979, it became completely independent with John Compton as prime minister.
– Source: BBC News

14. Saint Lucia is known for the twin pyramids of volcanic rock rising distinctly from the sea: Gros and Petit Pitons are 798m (2,619ft) and 743m (2,437ft) high respectively.
– Source: UNESCO

15. The Pitons are Saint Lucia’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Pitons Management Area includes the two volcanic spires, the Piton Mitan ridge that connects the two cones, a geothermal field, hot springs and the surrounding sea. 
– Source: UNESCO

A beach below Gros Piton
A beach below Gros Piton (Shutterstock)

16. The site is a diverse habitat for flora and fauna and is home to 148 plant species, 168 finfish species, 60 cnidaria species, eight molluscs, 14 sponges, 11 echinoderms, 15 arthropods and eight annelid worms. There are also 27 bird species (five of which are endemic), three indigenous rodents, one opossum, three bats, eight reptiles and three amphibians.
– Source: UNESCO

17. In 2010, Saint Lucia was hit by Hurricane Tomas which killed 14 people, triggered landslides and caused considerable damage in the Soufrière area.
– Source: BBC News

18. Saint Lucia is home to the world’s only drive-in “volcano”. The Sulphur Springs do not have a crater or magma like a normal volcano, but instead, have smelly pools of boiling mud that releases clouds of sulfur gas.
– Source: Lonely Planet

The Sulphur Springs
The Sulphur Springs (Shutterstock)

19. Saint Lucia has had two Nobel Prize winners: Derek Walcott won the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature, and Sir Arthur Lewis won the 1979 Nobel Prize for Economics.
– Source: The Nobel Prize

20. As such, Saint Lucia holds the world record for the most Nobel Prize Laureates per capita, with a rate of 10.81 per million people.
– Source: Guinness World Records

21. Saint Lucia is home to Black Bay, which, legend has it, is where infamous pirate Blackbeard stashed his treasure.
– Source: C. Hyacinth-Gideon (2014) Saint Lucia. AuthorHouse UK: London

22. The national bird of Saint Lucia is the Saint Lucia Parrot, which can only be found on the island. The parrot is endangered due to habitat loss caused by deforestation.
– Source: Lonely Planet, BirdLife International 

The Saint Lucia Parrot
Saint Lucia Parrot (Shutterstock)

23. Pigeon Island in Saint Lucia is the location of the island’s first French settler, Jambe de Bois (Wooden Leg), who in the 1550s used the island as a pirate base for raiding passing Spanish ships.
– Source: Lonely Planet

24. The majority of Saint Lucians are the descendants of African slaves, brought in by the British in the early 19th century to work on sugar plantations. Savery was abolished in 1834.
– Source: BBC News

25. Saint Lucia is home to one of the rarest lizards in the world, the Saint Lucia whiptail lizard. Discovered in 1958, the lizard is the only species of its kind surviving in the Caribbean can only be found on two small islands.
– Source: The Guardian, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Every effort has been made to verify these facts about Saint Lucia. However, if you find an error or have any questions, please contact us.