St Lucia Information - Page 2
Early migrants to St Lucia were the Amerindian Arawak and Carib people.
At the beginning of the sixteenth century, St Lucia was first sighted by European explorers. Over a hundred years later the French established a colony on the island.
Between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the rival European powers of Britain and France fought for possession of St Lucia's natural harbour. Over the years, the island changed hands fourteen times and was finally ceded to the UK in 1814.
St Lucia became self-governing in internal affairs in 1967 and gained independence in 1979. St Lucia is a member of the UK's Commonwealth.
St Lucia has benefited from foreign business and investment, particularly offshore banking and tourism. Tourism is the country's main source of foreign exchange and a major employer. Over half of the labour force is employed in the service sector which includes tourism.
Industry, such as the assembly of electronic components, corrugated cardboard boxes, clothing, food processing and beverages, provides employment for a significant percentage of the working population; the remainder work in the agricultural sector.
Bananas are an important crop and St Lucia's exports gain from the banana Fair Trade initiative. Other agricultural produce includes citrus fruits, coconuts, mangoes, cocoa and vegetables. (2011)
Cultural events which take place in St Lucia include the St Lucia Jazz Festival, an annual event in the month of May, and the St. Lucian Carnival in July. In October the Folk Research Centre organizes cultural events, such as dance and theatrical presentations, to celebrate Creole Heritage Month.
St Lucia's most famous playwright and poet is Derek Walcott. Walcott was born in Castries in 1930 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.
In 2002 Isaac Julien, the artist and filmmaker, whose parents moved to Britain from St Lucia, made Paradise Omeros, loosely based on some of Derek Walcott's poems from Omeros. Isaac Julien is an internationally acclaimed and award winning artist; in 1991 he won the Semaine de la Critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival and in 2001 he was nominated for the Turner Prize in London.
Cricket is a very popular sport in St Lucia; the modern stadium in Gros Islet, Beausejour Stadium, is a venue for international cricket. Other team sports played in St Lucia include football and volleyball.
The coral reefs and beautiful beaches of St Lucia have made the islands famous for water sports such as scuba diving and snorkelling. St Lucia is also known for big-game fishing and visitors can fish for barracuda, dorado and marlin.
The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, an ocean-crossing event, starts in the Canary Islands and ends in St Lucia. This annual event brings over two hundred yachts to St Lucia in December.
Easter, Christmas and New Year are celebrated. Other holidays in St Lucia are Independence Day (22 February), Labour Day (1 May), Emancipation Day (1 August) and National Day (13 December).
News from St Lucia is available from Newslink.
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