History Files
 

Please help the History Files

Contributed: 175

Target: 400

2023
Totals slider
2023

The History Files still needs your help. As a non-profit site, it is only able to support such a vast and ever-growing collection of information with your help, and this year your help is needed more than ever. Please make a donation so that we can continue to provide highly detailed historical research on a fully secure site. Your help really is appreciated.

The Americas

Caribbean Islands

 

Modern St Lucia (Lesser Antilles)
AD 1958 - Present Day
Incorporating Heads of State (1958-2022), British Colony (1958-1967), Associated State (1967-1979), & Independent Constitutional Monarchy (1979-On)

The island of St Lucia is one of the Windward Islands in the Americas, which themselves are part of the Lesser Antilles chain. Situated at the boundary between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, the island is neighboured to the north by the island of Martinique and to the south by St Vincent and the Grenadines. Barbados is to the south-west, while mainland South America is also due south.

Part of the Commonwealth of Nations, the island acknowledges Britain's reigning monarch as its head of state, with a governor-general in place to administer the crown's duties (replacing the pre-independence position of governor). The government is formed on a parliamentary democratic basis, with the two procedural bodies being the senate (the upper house) and the 'House of Assembly' (the lower house, or 'commons').

The pattern of colonisation for St Lucia shares much in common with other Windward islands, but until the recent implementation of long-term archaeological research projects, the island's earliest heritage has received relatively little attention. It has been inhabited since perhaps as early as 1000 BC. The Saladoid culture of the Arawak people was the first recognisable artefact-building society in the region, but the arrival of the Carib group of Native Americans from AD 800 submerged all previous cultures along with the island name of Louanalao, which was replaced by Hewanorra.

During the colonial period, the island changed hands so frequently between the British and French between 1663-1814 that it inspired the nickname 'The Helen of the West Indies', after the desirable Helen of Troy. Modern rebranding has discarded that tagline in favour of 'Let her inspire you', a more oblique reference to Helen for an island which is heavily dependant upon tourism. Post-war colonialism was gradually replaced by growing independence, first as a 'British Colony' in 1958-1967, then as an 'Associated State' in 1967-1979, and finally by full-blown parliamentary independence in 1979.

St Lucia was one of the last European colonies to achieve the status of 'Independent Constitutional Monarchy', gaining this on 2 February 1979. With a tropical rainforest climate, the island essentially enjoys a year-round summer which serves to encourages the much-needed tourism. Based on a recent census (2018), the island's population numbers almost 180,000 people, mostly descended from African slaves.

Classified as a 'Small Island Developing State' by the United Nations, that population is generally well-educated, with a good deal of foreign investment having benefited both the vital tourism industry and the locals. That very tourism, along with banking services, still provides the mainstay of income for many. While English is the main language, a French patois is also spoken by some, due to the history of French control. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion. Cricket, introduced by the British, is the national sport.

The full list of islands which make up the Lesser Antilles chain includes Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Redonda, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.


Caribbean Islands

(Information by John De Cleene & Kishael Canchon, with additional information by Peter Kessler, and from External Links: St Lucia Tourist Authority, and St Lucia - Colonial Flags, and St Lucia (World Population Review), and Discover St Lucia (Caribbean Heritage Network), and The World Factbook: St Lucia, and St Lucia (Flags of the World), and St Lucia (Rulers.org).)

1958

The British authorities unite their West Indian islands into a 'Federation of the West Indies' in an attempt to form a unified independent nation. The federation does not receive the sustained support which it needs. Instead, each constituent part appears to drive towards becoming a separate, independent nation.

1958 - 1962

Julian Asquith

UK administrator. Earl of Oxford & Asquith.

1962

The 'Federation of the West Indies' collapses when Jamaica withdraws from it, so St Lucia returns to the status of 'British Colony' until a fresh system can be brought into operation by the United Kingdom in 1967.

The island of St Lucia
The only sovereign nation to be named for a woman, tourist materials promote the island of St Lucia as personifying adventure and inspiration

1962 - 1967

Gerald Jackson Bryan

UK administrator.

1964

Under John Compton's leadership, the government of St Lucia brings great prosperity to the island by diversifying its economy beyond the sole reliance on banana production. He founds the 'United Workers Party', one of the two major political parties on the island.

1967

St Lucia becomes an 'Associated State' with the United Kingdom to prepare it for independence. Along with five other Leeward and Windward Islands, St Lucia gains internal self-government, while the UK controls foreign policy and defence from the UK Parliament.

1967 - 1971

Sir Frederick Joseph Clarke

UK governor.

1971 - 1974

Sir Ira Marcus Simmons

UK governor.

1974 - 1979

Sir Allen Lewis

UK governor (to become the first governor-general in 1979).

1979

On 2 February 1979, St Lucia becomes a fully 'Independent Constitutional Monarchy' with a British-style parliamentary system and the monarch of the United Kingdom as its head of state. The monarch is represented locally by a governor-general. John Compton becomes the first prime minister of this newly-independent St Lucia.

Edward Heath, prime minister, 1970-1974
Edward Heath, Britain's Conservative prime minister between 1970-1974, made gaining membership in the European Economic Community a key objective for the United Kingdom, as the last lingering vestiges of empire were being left behind

1979 - 1980

Sir Allen Lewis

Governor-general (and former governor).

1980 - 1982

Boswell Williams

Governor-general.

1982 - 1987

Sir Allen Lewis

Governor-general for a second time.

1987 - 1988

Vincent Floissac

Acting governor-general.

1988 - 1996

Sir Stanislaus James

Governor-general.

1996 - 1997

Sir George Mallet

Governor-general.

1997 - 2017

Dame Pearlette Louisy

First female governor-general.

1997 - 2006

St Lucia's government is administered by the St Lucia Labour Party (SLP), with Anthony Kenny as prime minister. Tourism, infrastructure, and economic development all flourish. With economic development, however, comes disenfranchisement and increasing crime rates, which ultimately bring down the government.

St Lucy
St Lucy, after whom the French named what they originally called the Windward Island, came from a wealthy family, and herself brought food and comfort to poor and needy Christians who were hiding in Rome's catacombs - she was reported to the authorities by her betrothed when he discovered she was giving away her dowry, resulting in her being martyred in AD 304 by a sword thrust into her neck

2006 - 2011

The United Workers Party (UWP) takes over the reigns of government until 2011 when Anthony Kenny is returned to office. Prime Minister Sir John Compton dies in office in 2007 at the age of eighty-two and is succeeded by Stephenson King, who has been acting prime minister in his place for much of the year.

2016 - 2021

The UWP under Allen Chastanet ousts the SLP of Anthony Kenny and governs until 2021, when the SLP return to office once again, this time under the leadership of Philip J Pierre as prime minister.

2018 - 2021

Sir Neville Cenac

Governor-general.

2020

Tourism, the key to St Lucia's economy, suffers from the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, which discourages travel even where travel is not banned outright. The resultant economic downturn in Europe and the United States continues to affect the island's income.

2021 - On

Errol Charles

Acting governor-general.

 
Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original king list page for the History Files.