St. Lucia, an island country in the Caribbean Sea. It is one of the Windward Islands of the West Indies. St. Lucia is a mountainous, volcanic island, rising about 3,100 feet (945 m) above sea level. Its area is 238 square miles (616 km 2). The economy is basically agricultural. Bananas, cacao, and coconuts are the chief crops. There is also a significant tourist industry. The population is 155,996; about half the people live in Castries, the capital. Most of the people are of African descent. Languages are English and a French patois, or dialect.
The earliest known inhabitants of St. Lucia were Arawak and Carib Indians. The British made several attempts to settle St. Lucia in the early 17th century, but failed because of the hostile Carib Indians. French colonists began arriving from Martinique in 1650. Britain and France contested ownership of the island until 1814, when it was ceded to Britain by the Treaty of Paris. In 1967, St. Lucia became a self-governing state associated with Great Britain. Independence was gained in 1979.